Principles of Giving

The bible gives us several principles for giving.  Giving is more than just putting money on a table or in a box at the close of church services.  There are many ways that a person can give.  Once the Lord sent forth his disciples and told them, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”  They were to give of that which they had freely received.  Now they had received spiritual gifts that the Lord had given them and they had received instructions in the kingdom of God and they had been taught of the Lord many things.  Now these were things that they had freely received and they were told to freely give of those things.  This same principle applies to every child of God.  We have all received spiritual gifts as the “Spirit divideth to every man severally as He will.”  Furthermore, God has given us his word and has given us understanding.  Also, as we have sought him he has given us wisdom.  We should be prepared to freely give that which we have freely received.  Also for many of us God has given us good health and the ability to labor.  For others, God has given an ability to earn wealth.  What ever God has given us we should be prepared to use it to his name’s honor and glory and for the good of his people.

Giving shouldn’t just be a sporadic episode in our lives as we happen to see need and feel charitable to give.  The scripture teaches us, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.”  Giving should be done on purpose.  We should purpose to give.  Giving shouldn’t be the last priority on our list, but rather should be one of the first things to do.  Too often people give after they have taken care of all their needs and wants and if any is left over then they give.  This is wrong.  We should purpose to give then plan on living off the rest.

Furthermore, we shouldn’t begrudge what we give, or feel that we have to give as a necessity.  The scripture teaches that “God loves a cheerful giver.”  It is a privilege of the highest honor to be able to give.  The Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Often kings and those in authority receive gifts of men as a way of giving honor to those in position of authority or who have great responsibility.  In contrast, the Lord said we are more blessed than those, because it is more blessed to give than to receive!

Giving is compared in the scripture to sowing.  We are told, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”  The sower of seed looks to the end of the harvest to see the return of his efforts.  So likewise, when we sow bountifully of those things which the Lord has blessed us then we find that we shall also have a bountiful return of spiritual blessings in the kingdom of God here on earth.

Giving is a religious activity, but not as many think it is.  According to James, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Not to give when we see a need and are able to give is an indication of a hard heart.  “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

To freely give of ourselves is a manifestation of our love for the Lord and for his people.  “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  In the early church we read where they “had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted to all men, as every man had need.”  The scriptures say that “great grace was upon them.” 

Let us all consider the blessing of giving cheerfully such as the Lord has prospered us.

Elder Vernon Johnson