No doubt this upcoming holiday season will be filled with thoughts of giving. Recognizing Christmas as a day that God gave to us the proof of His great love in the person of Christ Jesus, should spur all of us to consider giving out of love.
The Word of God is full of instructions on giving. We’ve been instructed to give:
In the Old Testament, God gives clear instructions to His people about giving to Him. Malachi asks the question: “Will a man rob God?” And then answers the question: “Yes.” Men rob God in “tithes and offering.” Our New Testament instructions are found in I Corinthians 16:2. Everyone of us is to plan to give back to God based on how He has prospered us. Giving to God in obedience is planned giving and each one is to “lay by him in store” on the first day of the week. God not only expects obedient giving, but giving out of abundance, and occasional sacrificial giving. In every instance giving to God is to be cheerful.
Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17, and Luke 20:25 as well as Romans 13:7 make is clear that we are to freely give to government that which is due.
First Timothy 5:8 tells us that God expects us to provide for our families. While the quality of what we provide will be dependent on our resources, provision of food, clothing, and shelter is an absolute necessity. God sees believers who fail to provide for their families as being worse than unbelievers in their attitudes and actions.
To Needy Christians
James 2:14-16 reveals that God expects those of us who have the ability to provide clothing and food to needy Christians. A prayer for them and a few kind words will not suffice when we can meet the need.
To Neighbors Who Have Obvious Needs
Read the story of the Good Samaritan in the tenth chapter of Luke, particularly verses 3-35. The Jews bore racial and religious hatred toward the Samaritans. Yet when the need of the Jew was obvious, only the Samaritan responded out of a heart of compassion (See also Matthew 5:42). When we see obvious or expressed needs of the poor, the handicapped, the homeless, widows and orphans, we must be sensitive to why God may have given us a surplus, and we must respond.
To Self in Savings
Proverbs 21:20 and similar verses make it obvious that God does not expect us to “use up” everything of value, but rather to save. There is coming a time in life when we can’t earn as we can during our working years. The aged are a testimony to that fact. God never intended for us to live on governmental payments (except to the extent that we contributed to a planned program like Social Security or a pension program), but rather on the dollars we saved and the interest our savings accumulated.
In Genesis, God tells us of the greatest economist who ever lived. He was the eleventh son of Jacob and his name was Joseph. God gave him the wisest economic plan ever devised, namely, save during the years of plenty so that there will be plenty during the lean years. Proverbs 6:6-11 lets us see that God also gave this plan to insects like the ants, and He tells us to learn from them. We marvel at the industriousness of squirrels and the like, who plan for the winter. Likewise, we must plan for the “winter” of our lives.
Savings is the key to getting and staying out of debt. For now, try to do this―no matter how little, begin to save something out of every dollar earned. Use the savings to replace things that wear out rather than go into debt for their purchases. Be sure to also use a portion of your well invested savings for your retirement years, and the Lord will be well pleased with your savings!
Dr. LeRoy Randolph, Jr.