To purpose to give is a godly pursuit that many spend little if any thought. However, the Lord expects us to determine in our hearts to give sacrificially and happily and joyfully. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV). To develop a heart that enjoys sacrificial giving should be the aim of every Christian. Think about the fact that the way we give shows how much we revere and value God.
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised.When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:6–8 ESV).
God promised that he would take care of us and provide for us the basics of life. To return to him a proper gift from the abundance requires a grateful and benevolent heart. Giving from what God has given shows that we trust him (Matthew 6:33). Again Malachi and Moses challenge us to try to out give the Lord (Malachi 3:10; Leviticus 26:3). Counting every blessing certainly builds a storehouse of gratitude from which we bountifully give back to the Lord for His good purposes.
When was the last time you adjusted your giving to match how grateful you are for God’s blessings? Did you raise your contribution to God with your last rise in salary? Have you looked for ways to spend less money on worldly things so you could increase spending on spiritual things? Failing to contemplate the abundance of blessings and give in proportion to what God has prospered us is ungratefulness at the very root. God truly expects us to give what we can give not always what we want to give (Leviticus 5:7).
As you think of what you’re going to give God in the collection pray that He will open your heart to His benevolent nature so you can give with pleasure. Ask God to show you how much to give that reflects how much you love Him, respect Him and value Him.
Joseph D. Chase
North Loop Church of Christ