Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

5 Benefits of Generosity

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An Apprehensive Approach

I am approaching this post with a bit of apprehension on my part. Before I even started writing it, I went through this blog looking for any past posts in which I may have even written exclusively on this subject. I found none.

When I started this blog over 3 years ago, I think I have purposely avoided this topic because those of us in the church world have been somewhat conditioned not to place an emphasis on the benefits of giving. We can't make blanket statements about God "paying us back financially" if we give regularly and faithful at the level of at least a tithe and above.

But for those of us that are regular tithers or higher-end givers, I've never met one giver that has been in lack. God always seems to honor the faithful givers through taking care of their needs and perhaps even most of their wants as well.

I believe in and have experienced the hand of God's blessings for being a giver. I'm sure you have heard of the phrase "you can't outgive God." I would venture a guess that this catchy little Christian-ese saying started from a few believers that discovered this to be completely true.

God delights in His children who are giving intentionally in order to build up His Kingdom. He is overjoyed with  believers who understand their role as His managers - those Christians who really understand the key concept that the time, talents, resources, and money that He has blessed us with are all His to begin with.

The Blessings of Giving

It's difficult for anyone to say with complete certainity that God blesses people financially for giving back to Him. But God's Word does state in Jesus' own words in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

I think it's pretty clear from this verse that extravagant givers are extravagant receivers. Does this mean God is going to make you a millionaire? Does it mean that the prosperity gospel preachers are spot on in their philosophy? No, I would be hard pressed to admit these things, but I know from personal experience that God blesses generous people in a variety of ways.

Here are some specific ways that we are blessed as we give:

1. Joy. In Acts 20:35 we read "...It is more blessed to give than to receive." 2 Corinthians 9:7 states "...for God loves a cheerful giver." If you are down in the dumps and depressed, do you know what the number one recommendation therapists give to people in order to help them get over that depression? Get out and help others. Give of your time, abilities, and money to help others who are less fortunate than you. The reason: an incredible outpouring of joy floods your life as you give back of yourself to God and others. Giving brings out the emotion of joy in people.

2. Satisfaction. OK, I don't necessarily have a specific verse to point to on the satisfaction of giving and it's sort of related to my first point of joy, but being a giver is extremely satisfying. It's rewarding to know that my giving is helping build up God's Kingdom, my church, and other people.

3. Growth. I don't know about you, but I like personal growth. I like to learn and mature as a human being and as a believer in Christ. I have found that giving back to God enables people to almost jump on the "fast track" of spiritual growth. As we learn to be faithful, committed givers, we grow in many ways. We grow in our faith in God. We grow in our dependence on His provision. Mature Christians are givers. Do you want to grow in your walk with the Lord? Then start giving and watch what happens in your life!

4. Treasure in Heaven. When Jesus walked this earth 2,000 years ago, He talked a lot about money. In fact, it was His #2 preaching topic, taking a close second to his #1 topic of the Kingdom of God. The funny thing is that the Kingdom and money are both inter-related! Whenever Jesus addressed the money issue with the wealthy, He always put it in the context of giving back financially as storing up eternal treasure in Heaven. He wanted us to have the "selfish" motive of moving our temporal wealth here on earth over to a better financial, eternal reward in Heaven. "Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'” (Matthew 19:21). "Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." (Luke 12:33).

5. Financial Provision on Earth. This is the area many of us as church leaders have been conditioned not to put a lot of emphasis on, but I do believe that God blesses us financially when we give. This doesn't mean that as we give $100, we get a return of $100 (or more) somehow in our bank account. But, at the very least, God has promised to take care of our basic needs. "So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:31-33). I've also personally experienced God's financial provision through asset protection as well as in other ways, such as getting great bargains on those things that I need. He helps me stretch my remaining budget cashflow after I give back to Him. Check out what Jesus taught in this area: Matthew 13:11-12; Matthew 25:28-29; Luke 6:38; Luke 12:42-44.

How About You?

So, how about you? Are you a regular, intentional giver? Are you giving back to God and His Church in order to build up His Kingdom through the use of the time, abilities, and money He has entrusted you to manage?

If you are a giver, have you experienced any or all of the five ways we are blessed by God as I have stated above? If so, I'd love to hear your stories. Leave me a comment below.

Also, check out these related posts:

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