Giving

In the early church, there was a prophesy that there would be a severe famine over the land.  As a result, the disciples decided to provide help for the brethren living in Judea (Acts 11:28-29).  The apostle Paul gave instruction to the Corinthian and Galatian churches concerning their giving for this cause.  1 Corinthians 16:1-2 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:  On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”  The original language of this scripture implies that the laying aside and storing up was to be done by each individual.  The intent was that each week they should set something aside so that when the apostle came, he would be able to receive the gift for the brethren in Judea.  From this, we have our example for weekly laying aside.

Giving is very important for the faithful Christian.  Jesus gave the following description of the judgement.  Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  In this description of the judgement, the difference between those who received eternal life and those who were cursed and received everlasting punishment was their giving and their service.  Those who were blessed had given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, clothes to the naked and time to the sick and those in prison.  The cursed had not given of their resources or their time. 

In the description of the judgement given above, notice that those who gave did so personally to the one they saw in need.  It is good to join with others in giving for a common need such as giving to your local church.  Paul took what he received from the Corinthians to the brethren in Judea.  The Israelites had a treasury to which the people gave (Mark 12:41).  Judas had the money bag for Jesus and His disciples (John 12:6).  But your gifts to a common treasury should not keep you from being willing and able to give personally to an individual as you see the need.  The good Samaritan saw the need of the one who had been robbed and beaten on the road and in love he gave help and paid for the necessary expenses (Luke 10:30-35).

Certainly, there are limitations in giving.  You should not give to the neglect of your family.  1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  You would not want to give if the need was not valid.  You would not want to give if you knew that the receiver was going to misuse the gift such as to support his illegal drug habit.  In spite of such limitations, be a giving person.  God wants you to give and share with the blessings He gives you.  Hebrews 13:16 “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

If you are rich, you should be willing to share what you have.  1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  If you are poor, you should also be willing to give, even if your gift is small.  Mark 12:41-44 “Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.  Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.  So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’”

My encouragement to you is to be a giving person.  This pleases God.