Posted on Mar 23, 2020 by Mike LeDuke
How often do you give away your own possessions?
For some of us, it’s perhaps one of the hardest things.
When we are generous with our time, we serve others––but we perhaps enjoy that service. And we can grow from it. Yet, when we are generous with our money, we give it away, and we more or less get nothing in return. But consider Jesus’s words to a man who asked him about eternal life:
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.’” Matthew 19:16-17
The man responded by asking what specific commands he should follow, and Christ answered by listing a handful of the ten commandments.
Perhaps this was the answer for which the man was hoping — because he responded confidently, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Matthew 19:20. He knew the commandments, and he had kept them. His connection to God and to eternal life seemed completely secure!
But it wasn’t.
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:21-22
Consider this: Christ’s command was not necessarily about the poor. If the Lord had wanted, he could have provided for all of the poor at that very moment. Instead, it was specifically about what this man himself needed.
He had learned to do all of the commands. But his heart and his thinking hadn’t changed. In other words, it isn’t just about what we do, but about what we are thinking when we do it.
So, what do you think about when you give?
Do you think about how you wish you could keep that money because there’s something else you would rather do with it? Do you think about what a good person you are?
Or do you give with a joyful attitude, knowing that the money that you have is itself a gift from God?
Just think about the motivations that Paul suggested when he encouraged the believers to give:
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-12
Paul’s words abound with reasons for giving. We give because we know that if we give, we too will receive. And yet it’s more than that — we can’t simply give because we want to earn God’s favor. God loves those who give with joy, out of the abundance of their heart. Because those who give with that attitude are giving as God gives. And they have the satisfaction of knowing that their generosity is to the glory of God––further His work and honoring His name.
We don’t just give of our time. We’ve been called to give of our money––and to give of it with gladness.