Time, possessions and money
Giving is seemingly one of the three forbidden subjects for Christians to discuss in the 21st century! The other two being sex and power. Jesus talked about all three often!
Every person has in differing quantities: time, talent, possessions and money. In relationship to giving, the Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members. This applies not only to the local church, but also at a national and international level as well.
Too often, even as Christian Disciples we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence. Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our world and local communities. Too often we keep our time and talents selfishly to ourselves instead of giving them to others in need.
Spiritual Growth Indicator
Perhaps the greatest indicator of spiritual growth in the Christian Disciple concerns their giving – particularly financial giving. Paul writing to the Corinthians commands that giving is to be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). WOW! For the Christian Disciple, it is not so much how much is given, but how much is left after giving. God looks beyond the amount that is given to the motive and attitude behind the giving. All of our money, time, talents and possessions belong to God anyway, so giving is to be in response to this. Giving is to be done out of love for God. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 16:2 a three-point system for giving financially: regularly, methodically and proportionately.
Failure to give back to God’s work what He has given the Christian Disciple in the first place, robs God (Malachi 3:8). The reason it robs is because the giving cannot be used to support those who are working for God. As a result of giving, the Christian Disciple will be blessed (Malachi 3:10) and have their needs satisfied (Philippians 4:19).
In the Old Testament, Widows were important to God, because justice is important to God as He is a God of perfect justice and consummate mercy. In the Old Testament, under the Law of Moses, God commanded provision for those who were widows, oppressed or uncared for.
The 12 Apostles would have known about God caring for the widows and through Jesus’ teaching about justice for the poor and the oppressed. We know this because if you read the Book of Acts, people were selling and sharing possessions and ensuring that all people within the Christian community were being looked after and cared for. This included making sure that everyone got fed, particularly those who had no family to care for them. And it was not just for those within the church – but from the wider community!
The New Testament church made sure that financial giving was done and that the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the widows were taken care of. People working fulltime for the Lord, were given recompense by others for their efforts. People gave. Paul in Romans 12:6-8 places giving as a spiritual gift! I wonder how many people have asked specifically for that particular gift. Perhaps it’s the least asked for gift; after all it isn’t one of the supposedly spectacular ones!
You and I
How are you doing? How is your giving of your time, your talents, your possessions and your money on a local, national and international level? The get out clause for a lot of Christians is that it would not be good stewardship to give to that person or that cause. Or they say the passages in the book of Acts are only descriptive of that particular time and have no relevance for us today.
Each of us has in varying quantities: time, talents, possessions and money. How is your giving of those to others doing? God gave everything so that you and I may have life and life in abundance. So by giving generously of your time, your talents, your possessions and your finances, you are reflecting that. Just as God gave and gives generously, and gave His Son as a ransom for sin. If you have run out of ideas about how to give what you have, ask God to show you and give you some creative ideas! Go live! Go give!