Summary: What is our approach to Christian giving and What are the Scriptural Principles about Giving?
A better example – Tithes & Blessings
Heb 7:2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all ….4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better.
The passage recounts how Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth, or tithe of the spoil. In return Mel blessed Abraham. The purpose of this is to show that Mel was dramatically superior to Abraham, the greatest of the patriarchs. In turn this shows that Jesus is infinitely superior to Abraham. However, I don’t propose to dwell on this today, but to think about Christian giving.
Although this is not really the focus of the chapter it is a very important and often overlooked issue. Often, as people become richer, they also become less and less generous. Is that the case with us?
What are the Scriptural Principles about Giving?
Firstly, we are to give cheerfully
Of primary importance is our attitude in giving. We are to give cheerfully, in gratitude for all that God has given us, not because it is our duty or to impress others. Our tithes are an acknowledgement of His right to all that we are and have. After all our great high priest gave up everything to save us and deserves the willing sacrifice of all that we are and have in his service.
2Co 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Translating that literally, God loves a hilarious giver. I know there are those who go laughing all the way to the bank, but how many of us laugh in delight as we give to the Lord’s work? Some of us are like a wealthy deacon who was opposed to the renovation of the church building. One day, at a deacons’ meeting, he spoke out firmly against it. No sooner had he spoken, than a piece of plaster fell from the ceiling and hit him on the shoulder. “I take that back!” he said. “I’ll give a hundred dollars!” As he sat back in a contemplative pose, another piece of plaster fell and hit him on the HEAD. “I’ll raise that to a THOUSAND dollars,” he said. At that, a fellow deacon was seen to cast his eyes heavenwards and mutter, “Hit him, again, Lord! Hit him again!” Does God need to hit us to make us give?
There are three kinds of givers - the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it, and then you only get chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you squeeze it the more you get. In contrast the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Some people are stingy and as hard as flint; they give nothing away if they can help it. Others are good natured; they yield to pressure, and the more they are pressed the more they will give. Thank God, however, that there are still others who delight in giving without being asked, and it is givers of this kind - cheerful givers - that the Lord loves. (From ‘Flashes of Truth’ by James Duff)
Secondly, we are to give secretively
Mt 6 1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Can you picture the scene that Jesus had in mind? A rich man goes off to the synagogue, loudly jingling a heavy bag of coins. In case anyone might miss him, he employs another man to blow a trumpet to make sure everyone knows what he is doing. When he gets there he takes a handful of coins and noisily drops them into the metal collection plate from a good height. It seems to take ages to drop all of the coins in.