Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
Giving – it can be one of the most contentious subjects in churches today. It is something that all Christians should consider doing. In fact, it is something we must do because God gave us a life on this earth to further His kingdom and we must use it wisely.
But what constitutes giving? Some believe it is financial, others believe it is time, while others believe it is a combination of many different things. Whatever it is that we decided to give, it is a matter between us and God. So why do we feel so much pressure when other people tell us we aren’t giving enough?
One area that gives people a lot of grief is in the giving of finances. Tithing is a form of giving and a lot of churches expect that to at least 10% of your income and that usually means money. Back in Old Testament times, tithing meant giving a portion of what you had and/or your first fruits and that meant livestock or food or whatever else you had. As money became more prevalent the focus shifted to how much we earned. Even though finances are important, some people have forgotten that there are other valuable commodities that can also be given.
Sometimes when somebody is cash poor, they are usually time rich. Ask any business owner how valuable time is to them. Time is resource most of have and we can use it to advance God’s kingdom instead of fulfilling our own needs and desires. In some ways, the giving of your time is just as important as the giving of finances. If someone were to add up all of the hours church volunteers do and put a monetary value on it, it would come as a great shock to those who place more importance on cash.
The fact is that people have unlimited resources they can use and give. Whether it is giving food to a charity or mowing somebody’s lawn, you are giving part of what you have and that is all God wants you to do as you are giving it from the heart. We may not have a lot but to give somebody else a helping hand speaks more to a person more than we probably know.
As the above Bible verse says we have to decide what we will give, whether it be financial, time or any other resource that we have available to us. The important thing to remember is that it is between you and God and it doesn’t matter what other people say or think we should be doing. People don’t see what is in your heart but God does. He is not blinded by the things that the world says is important. To God, giving is an act of worship.
Everything we owned is not really owned by us. It is something God has given us to reach others. If you have plenty of time, then give it to others. If you have plenty of cash, then give it others. If you have plenty of other resources, then give it to others. As long as you reach a decision in your heart that will honour God and that makes you happy then God will love you the more for it.