“Tis the season of giving.” That’s the phrase that most of us hear—and abide by—during the months of November and December. Surely you noticed that spike in generosity around Christmas and New Year’s. Even those outside the church join in the frenzy of finding the perfect gifts and embracing the spirit of giving. But why? And now that we’re settling into the new year, why bother pursuing a year-round practice of financially giving to others?
Why Do We Give?
Our culture’s desire to be generous during this season is an example of God’s common grace—evidence of his created order within humanity and society. The tendency to give is a reminder that we were created to mirror the extreme generosity of our Creator.
But why do Christians give? The answer isn’t simple. There may be many reasons why you chose to give Christmas gifts last month. However, I believe Scripture offers five major reasons why disciples of Christ should practice giving and generosity during all seasons of life.
1. We give because all we have is God’s
So, why do Christians give? We give because God calls us to live a life of generosity with uncurled fingers because none of “our” possessions belong to us. They belong to God.
God is the creator and owner of everything, and all that we have has been entrusted to us by him. The computer, phone, or tablet you are reading this article on belongs to God. Your winter coat, hat, and mittens belong to God. Your body, your time, your skills, and your talents all belong to him. Everything we have belongs to God. All of it.
Thus, we give because the resources we have are actually entrusted to us by God, and he calls us to steward his resources for his purposes and his glory. He not only provides for us, He provides through us!
2. We give because God calls us to give
Throughout Scripture, God calls his people to be generous givers. In Genesis 4, we see Cain and Abel bringing offerings before the Lord. We also see the Lord’s desire for his people to offer the first and best portion of their flocks and produce to him—the flocks and produce that he provided.
We find Abram honoring Melchizedek in Genesis 14 by giving him one-tenth of everything he owned (the first tithe in the Bible). In one day, Abram gave ten percent of his entire belongings—his entire net worth—to the “priest of God Most High.” This is an astonishing act of giving.
The Levitical law required the people of Israel to tithe to the Levites, the tribe of Israel dedicated to the vocational service of God. The Levites received the tithes of the other tribes, but they too were called to tithe on what they received (Num. 18:21-26).
Proverbs highlights the wisdom of giving and calls us to “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce” (3:9).
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul exhorts his brothers and sisters in Corinth to give generously to the needs of their Christian brothers and sisters in Jerusalem not once, but twice! In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul commands his readers to set aside money at the beginning of every week to send to Jerusalem. In 2 Corinthians 9, he again commands the Corinthians to give to the work of the gospel in Jerusalem, and defines how they are to give, stating that “each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
More to Come…
Answering the question, “why do Christians give?” is both simple and complex. Stewardship and obedience are just two of the five reasons that we, followers of Jesus Christ, are to be generous givers. In a follow-up article, I share the remaining three reasons.
Two Steps to Take
Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve not yet started your giving journey. Maybe you are hesitant about giving, or maybe giving money seems scary or even impossible. I’d love for 2021 to be the year where you take your first step of trusting God with your finances and giving to the work of the gospel.
I’d like to encourage you to take two small, tangible steps:
- Prayerfully consider giving to the work of the gospel this month. Ask the Lord where he would have you give (your local church, a friend in need, someone you run into randomly that the Spirit leads you to, etc.), and how much he would like you to give.
- Prayerfully consider meeting with a trusted financial advisor. Here at College Park Church, we have a team of financial coaches. These volunteers walk alongside members and regular attenders in the area of stewardship. Is there someone at your church who could help you grow in that way? I encourage you to reach out to see. There are many godly men and women who would love to share the ways God has been growing them in the area of finances.