ODJ: to give or not to give

August 21, 2013 

READ: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15  

They gave not only what they could afford, but far more (v.3).

Some days I find only one. Other times they fill my letter box. Not to mention the phone calls. Help the children, feed the homeless, care for the wounded. Worthwhile requests, yet it’s impossible to meet them all. Even with the contributions we make, I feel strangely guilty whenever I throw away a letter requesting donations or when I tell a contribution-seeking caller: “No, thank you.” The tension I experience is another reminder of the calling I must live out in a less-than-perfect world. Give selflessly, just like Jesus.
It’s my conviction that true giving is what we contribute beyond our tithe. Still, we might ask: should our giving be determined by the need or the available resources? Paul tells us that the churches in Macedonia “gave not only what they could afford, but far more” (2 Corinthians 8:3). There are times when God calls us to step out in faith and give, even though it may not seem practical (1 Kings 17:12-14). By the same token, Scripture teaches that our first responsibility is to meet the needs at home (1 Timothy 5:8,16).

When Jesus taught His disciples to give what had been freely given to them, He also revealed that selfless giving occurs when we see God as our provision, regardless of the instrument He may choose to use (Matthew 10:8-10).

Two principles, however, were to guide their actions. Firstly, they were to give only what had been deposited into their lives, be it tangible or intangible. Reiterating this idea, Paul said, “Give in proportion to what you have” (2 Corinthians 8:11). Secondly, Jesus’ disciples knew that biblical giving came from a desire to advance the work of God’s kingdom, not the intentions of men.

What will you give today? —Regina Franklin

Read Proverbs 11:23-25 and consider how we must challenge ourselves not to think like secular society when it comes to giving.  
The Bible tells us that giving can result in blessing, but what should be our primary motivation? How are you making a financial investment for the kingdom of God beyond your tithing?