Giving is very important in the Christian life, for a number of reasons. But before I mention some of those reasons I want to emphasize this:
Our giving does not change God’s love for us. He loves us with an unconditional love. No matter if we give 0 dollars a month or 1000 dollars a month – God’s love for us remains the same. Our giving cannot change God’s love for us, but how much we give could be an indication of how much we love God, and how important He is to us.
Why is giving important?
- Giving is about honoring God. The book of Proverbs says: “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (Prov. 3:9). When we give our money, or possessions, we honor God because He is our God, our Creator, our Source, and because everything we have ultimately comes from Him. The famous preacher Billy Graham has said that money represent our lives, because we spend so much time every week working to earn money so that we can buy food and clothes and pay for our housing etc. Most things in our lives, one way or another, are connected to money. When we give to God’s work this is a way of saying to God that He owns our lives and we belong to Him.
- We give to finance the preaching of the Gospel. Without giving the Gospel cannot be preached effectively. We need money to run our churches and organizations and to send out and support missionaries etc. We give so that other people will get the opportunity to experience God’s love, and to receive Jesus in their hearts and have eternal life. The Bible teaches us that when we give to the Gospel, people who received Jesus because of our gifts will thank us in eternity (see Lk. 16:9). If we want to invest our money so that it leads to eternal repercussions, and not only benefits us here on earth, the best thing we can do is to give to the Gospel.
- Giving helps us to keep Jesus at the center. As we enter a lifestyle of giving it helps us to keep our focus on Jesus in a time and age where everything seems to revolve around greed and lust for money. Jesus said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mtt. 6:21). When we give to God’s work, this helps us to keep Jesus at the center of our lives and hearts.
- We give so that we can reap a harvest. God’s kingdom operates after the principle of sowing and reaping (see 2 Cor. 9:6). As we give our money to God, He makes sure we get a harvest larger than what we sowed. God does not want us to be poor and not have enough money to buy food, clothes, or to pay our bills. He wants us to prosper financially so that we can have a good life and also give to people in need. God is a good God who wants His children to experience financial prosperity! If you are experiencing financial lack at the moment, the best thing to do is to start taking steps of faith by sowing your money, and (of course) grabbing the opportunities that God sends along your way. Maybe God leads you to take better ownership of your finances by only spending money on what’s necessary. Maybe He directs you to start saving or investing your money, or maybe He will open a door for you to have another job that pays a higher salary. (It is not enough to sow only; we also need to act according to common sense and follow God’s wisdom and guidance!) If giving becomes a lifestyle, and if we learn to handle our money with wisdom, we will eventually experience God’s blessing over our finances as we receive a harvest from what we have sown.
Finally, I want to emphasize this: The main reason why we give is not so that we can get something in return. The main reason behind why we give is that we are grateful to God for what He has done for us through Jesus, and that we want other people to experience the same thing.