Summary: Why do we give? What does Scripture teach about giving? We serve a giving Father and a giving Son. If we are being transformed into His image, we will be giving as well.
Why do we give? Sometimes we are compelled to give to something we believe in. Sometimes we give because we feel sorry for someone in a less fortunate situation. Sometimes we give because we feel guilty. Sometimes we give because we have some left over. Sometime we just don’t give.
What does Scripture teach regarding giving? Simply put, we are expected to give (Matthew 6:2-3). As any child would ask, but why?
The most obvious answer is because God gave His Son (John 3:16) and Jesus gave His life (1 John 3:16). Since I have become a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), and am being transformed after the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18); I will continue becoming more like Him in every part of my life.
God is benevolent, generous, selfless and sacrificial; therefore, His children will be also. We are expected to give in all ways. We give of our time, talents and resources. We also give up our ways, thoughts and desires.
There are over 800 verses in the Bible about money and Jesus taught more about money than any other subject. But, why?
A culture driven by money fosters an unhealthy relationship with money. This creates a deadly spiral that seeks fulfillment in what money can provide as opposed to fulfillment in Christ alone.
Paul said the desire for money leads to temptation, into snares, and into other harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
The desire for, or love of, money is the source of pain and destruction in our lives that draws us away from God – which is described as idol worship. So, Jesus warned us about desiring money and taught us the proper role of money.
Before we get into our lesson, let’s first agree on a biblical truth. You do not own anything, nor have you earned anything. It ALL belongs to God. Stewardship is managing God’s treasures in God’s way, for God’s purposes, and for God’s glory. We begin life with empty hands. As we grow, God allows us to manage His resources - NONE of which are under our ownership. In Deuteronomy 8:18, God reminded the Israelites, “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.”
The underlying question we each must ask is (no matter your age), “How am I managing God’s resources for His purposes and His glory?”
1. Choose Your Treasure. (Matthew 6:19-21)
To “lay up” means to keep safe that which we consider having great value.
The word “treasures” represents those things we value most.
This is such a basic principle; but somehow we miss it in the darkness of our hearts. What happens to EVERYTHING this world offers? Their value is degraded, the structure is ruined or it is stolen. Some things are taken care of, but science and experience show everything will be destroyed over time.
God provides an alternative for such a terrible investment of His resources.
Store up things of heavenly value that will not be destroyed and cannot be stolen. How do we know what He values?
His Word tells us what is important to Him, so we must use it as our guide.
But Why? Because your treasure represents your heart. If you are so enamored with what the world is offering, your heart will serve the world. Therefore, we must intentionally serve the Lord by using the same valuation He provides.
Practically, it may mean giving up cable to contribute to the ministry and mission of His church.
It may mean giving up Starbucks once a week to give to the Global Hunger Relief, where 100% of your contribution goes to the cause. We must be intentional.
2. Choose Your Master. (Matthew 6:22-24)
As described in the Commentary Critical, the eye is used figuratively to describe the singleness of purpose of our mind. Whatever we purpose in our minds will affect the entire body.
Verse 22, says "if your eye is healthy".
We may think this refers to clarity of purpose or vision, but the word for healthy (HAploos in the Greek), means willing and generous giving.
If you set your purpose toward generous giving, which is a heavenly principle that pleases God, your whole character will radiate God's goodness.
On the other hand, if your purpose is not set toward generosity, Jesus said your purpose is worthless. You cannot have singleness of purpose in pleasing God and singleness of purpose in pleasing self.
For in doing so, you are living a lie that is encompassed in darkness. Put another way, your life is absent of His light and influence.
Jesus gives us another heavenly principle – you can't serve two masters! If you are serving self you are hating and despising God. If you are serving the world you are hating and despising God.