“When the Roman officer who stood facing Him saw how He died, he exclaimed, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:39 NLT)
Giving, in whatever form it may occur, if it’s done in an effort to do good, blesses the heart of God. The story that Jesus tells in Matthew 25 regarding the final judgment implies that those who were kind to someone who was hungry, thirsty, in need of shelter, clothing or care, whether sick or in prison, were giving to the Lord. Even though they didn’t realize they were doing it as unto Him.
It causes me to wonder what our stinginess is costing us. One principle the Lord taught me many years ago was: “You can’t outgive God!” You can’t outgive Him in kindness, thoughtfulness, mercy, love, hospitality, grace, monetarily or in any other area. The Lord Jesus gave us His life. He traded His life for mine…and yours! There’s no gift we could ever give or receive that would come close to comparing with His loving sacrifice.
So, as believers, as persons of God who are investing ourselves in “seeking first the Kingdom of God,” why give? What does giving accomplish? Why is it so vitally important? How does it promote and forward God’s Kingdom?
These and many other questions are deserving of our attention, but as we launch into another year I’d like for us to think about basically two things. First, why do you give or not give, of yourself, your time, your money, and so forth? And, secondly, who are you ultimately seeking to please, or to use a Biblical word, to bless?
I’ve mentioned before the two most obvious evidences of what we believe is how we spend our time and money. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” On some levels, that seems backwards to me. I’m thinking it should be wherever our heart is, that’s where we’d put our money. But that’s not what Jesus said. He said “Wherever your treasure is…” your heart will follow. And please understand, He’s not just talking about money.
Our treasure can be a relationship, our job/career, our kids, our possessions, and on and on. Money, as much emphasis as we give it, is ultimately a means to an end, and Jesus is concerned about that end. Why? Because that’s where our heart will be. And the revealing picture that’s painted when we learn what that destination of our treasure is, is this: is it a source of blessing for only us or for someone else?
Mark Driscoll wrote: “You shouldn’t give to get a blessing; you should give to be a blessing.” Jesus didn’t leave the splendor of heaven to come to the ghetto of this earth, to get blessed. He came to bless! He came in submission to His Father’s will to accomplish a specific purpose – to open a way to the Father where no way previously existed.
Yes, of course, the Jewish people knew of the Father and a whole system of religious activity resulted, but rather than point people to God, it enmeshed people in the pursuit of a religious process that was often devoid of God. It resulted in obedience to a list of rules that often blocked their view of God, rather than to illuminate His holy presence.
Jesus is the ultimate reason to give – our life, our love, our devotion, our commitment, our resources, our time, our energy, in short, everything we are and everything we ever hope to be or have. Jesus is the blessing God the Father gave to us that has changed our lives, our life’s direction, our attitude, our desires, our ambition, our goals, our plans, our commitments, our eternal home, and our life’s fulfillment. Nothing satisfies like loving and being loved by Jesus. Pleasing Him and blessing others to His honor is why we give – of everything we have and are!
Blessings, Ed 😊