An important concept regarding giving is found in 2 Corinthians 8:5: “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (ESV). Giving is about relationships: our relationship with God and our relationship with those around us.
When we become Christians we realize what great things God has done for us, that is everything: in addition to giving us his son, salvation, grace, eternal life, he gives us air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a place to call home, and need I go on with the list? Everything! This realization brings us face-to-face with how much God loves us and cares for us. And, by understanding how God feels about us, our love for him deepens. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). Our relationship with God is predominately based on love: First, God’s love for us and then, our love for God. When love is the motivator, there is no longer a discussion of, “How little can I get by with?” but rather, “What more can I do for the one who loves me so much?” When giving was involved they first gave themselves to the Lord!
A second relationship in giving may be called a reflection of how we see others. The Scriptures say, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11 ESV). The Bible goes on to say, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20–21 ESV). John asks a hard question: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:17 ESV). First, there is the love of God and that is closely followed by love for our fellow human beings that God made in his image.
Giving is not about what per cent of our income we use; it’s about relationships! Our relationships with God and those around us.
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