Giving is an essential part of the Christian faith, and the Bible has a lot to say about it. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, we see examples of giving, from tithing to offerings and almsgiving. Jesus, Himself set the ultimate example of sacrificial giving when He gave His life on the cross for our salvation. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus’ example and give generously to others.
In this blog post, we will explore what the Bible says about giving and how we can apply these teachings in our daily lives. We will examine the Old Testament and New Testament teachings on giving, including tithing, offering, and sacrificial giving. We will also discuss the heart behind giving and practical ways we can incorporate biblical giving into our lives.
Whether we have much or little, we can all make a difference through our giving. As we give with a cheerful heart, sacrificially, and with pure motivation, we can demonstrate our love for God and our compassion for others. Let’s delve into what the Bible teaches us about giving and how we can apply these teachings to our lives.
Old Testament Teachings on Giving
In the Old Testament, giving was an integral part of Jewish culture and law. It was a way for the Israelites to demonstrate their faith in God and show their gratitude for His blessings. The following are examples of giving in the Old Testament:
The Israelites were required to give a tenth of their income to support the priests and the Levites (Numbers 18:21-28). Tithing was a way for the Israelites to acknowledge that everything they had came from God and to support the religious leaders who served the community.
The Israelites were also expected to bring offerings to the Lord, which could include animals, grain, or oil (Leviticus 1-7). Offerings were a way for the Israelites to express their devotion to God and to show their willingness to give of their resources.
The Old Testament also teaches about giving to the poor and needy. For example, the Israelites were commanded to leave the corners of their fields unharvested so that the poor could gather food (Leviticus 23:22). Almsgiving was a way for the Israelites to demonstrate their compassion for those in need and to share their blessings with others.
New Testament Teachings on Giving
In the New Testament, giving takes on a new dimension. While tithing and offering are still important, the focus shifts to sacrificial giving. Jesus Himself set the example of sacrificial giving when He gave His life on the cross for our salvation. The following are examples of giving in the New Testament:
The Widow’s Offering
In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus commends a poor widow who gave two small coins to the temple treasury, saying that she had given more than all the others because she gave out of her poverty. This teaches us that the amount we give is not as important as the heart behind it. We should give sacrificially, giving out of what we have rather than what we can spare.
In Luke 19:1-10, Zacchaeus, a tax collector, repents of his sins and promises to give half of his possessions to the poor. This teaches us that giving is an important aspect of repentance and that our giving should reflect our commitment to following Jesus.
Generosity of the Early Church
In Acts 4:32-35, we read about how the early church shared everything they had and how those who had extra sold their possessions and gave the proceeds to those in need. This teaches us that giving should be a communal effort and that we should work together to meet the needs of those around us.
The Heart Behind Giving
The Bible teaches us that giving is not just about the act of giving but also about the motivation behind it. Here are some things to keep in mind when giving:
Giving should be done cheerfully
Giving should be done cheerfully, not begrudgingly (2 Corinthians 9:7). When we give with a joyful heart, it demonstrates our love for God and our gratitude for His blessings.
Giving should be done sacrificially
Giving should be done sacrificially, giving out of what we have rather than what we can spare (Mark 12:41-44). Sacrificial giving demonstrates our faith in God and our willingness to trust Him with our resources.
Giving should be done with a pure heart
Giving should be done with a pure heart, without seeking recognition or reward (Matthew 6:1-4). When we give with a pure heart, it demonstrates our humility and our desire to honor God rather than ourselves.
Practical Application of Biblical Giving
Now that we understand what the Bible says about giving, how can we apply these teachings in our daily lives? Here are some practical tips:
Make giving a part of your budget and commit to giving a certain amount each month. This helps us to prioritize giving and make it a regular part of our lives.
Don’t just give the minimum required; give as much as you can out of a heart of love. When we give generously, it demonstrates our faith in God’s provision and our desire to bless others.
Give to those in need
Look for opportunities to give to those who are less fortunate than you, whether it’s through your church or a local charity. When we give to those in need, it demonstrates our compassion and our willingness to share our blessings with others.
Give with gratitude
Remember that everything we have comes from God, and giving is a way to thank Him for His blessings. When we give with gratitude, it demonstrates our recognition of God’s goodness and our desire to honor Him with our resources.
Objections to Giving and Responses
Some Christians may have objections to giving, such as feeling like they don’t have enough to give, or feeling like their giving won’t make a difference. Here are some responses to these objections:
We can give even if we don’t have much
As demonstrated by the widow in Mark 12:41-44 who gave two small coins, we can give even if we don’t have much. It’s not about the amount we give but the heart behind it.
Every act of kindness and generosity can make a difference
Our giving may not seem significant in the grand scheme of things, but every act of kindness and generosity can make a difference in someone’s life. As Mother Teresa once said, “We cannot do great things, only small things with great love.”
In conclusion, giving is an essential part of our Christian faith, and the Bible provides us with guidance on how to give in a way that honors God and blesses others. We have seen how giving was an integral part of Jewish culture and law in the Old Testament and how it takes on a new dimension in the New Testament with Jesus’ example of sacrificial giving. The heart behind giving is just as important as the act of giving itself, and we should give with a cheerful heart, sacrificially, and with pure motivation.
By following the teachings of the Bible on giving, we can demonstrate our love for God and our compassion for others. Giving regularly and generously to those in need and with gratitude are practical ways we can apply these teachings in our lives. Even small acts of kindness and generosity can make a difference in someone’s life.
Let us commit to giving with a cheerful heart, trusting in God’s provision and blessings as we do so. May our giving demonstrate our love for God and our desire to bless others, and may it bring glory to God and further His kingdom here on earth.