Lent – Day 22

You Can’t Out-Give God

make-a-life-by-givingThe subject of giving is a tricky one. It’s something we love other people to do for us, but it’s a much bigger challenge when we’re expected to do it for them. Let me be clear from the start though: I don’t want your money – and neither does God. Let me explain why…

You could say that God is pretty demanding. You see God doesn’t want just a bit, He demands everything: your time, your energy, your relationships, your future, your past, your present, and your finances. You’re probably thinking ‘see, I knew God wanted my money’. Well, no. Because everything you have was given to you by God in the first place. Psalm 24:1 says ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’. When we give, we’re just giving  back what God has given us. But it’s clear very early on in the Bible that we’re to give back to God.

In Genesis 2:1 we’re asked to keep the Sabbath – to give one day a week over to God. And in Leviticus 27:30-34 the Israelites were asked to give one tenth of everything they produced to Him. God doesn’t want our money and our time because He needs it. He wants us to give it back to Him because it increases our dependency on Him. It stops us from thinking that we’re doing OK on our own; trusting in our wealth and our ability to provide for ourselves, and instead to put our trust in God, believing that He’ll provide.

As we’ve seen, very early on the Old Testament says we should give one seventh of our time (one day a week) and one tenth of our money. Whoa, that sounds a bit much doesn’t it! If you think that’s too much, you’re in for a shock when you read the New Testament – because there we see examples of even more extraordinary generosity:

  • Widow’s offering – what she had was small, but she gave so generously – 100%
  • Rich young man – Jesus told him to get into heaven he’d have to sell everything
    • and give all the money away – 100%
  • Zacchaeus – repented of his sin, and his natural response was to give
    • he chose to give half his wealth to the poor – 50%
    • and repaid those he’d stolen from four times what he stole – 400%
  • Jesus – let’s not forget that He gave everything for us…

Perhaps we can start with the Old Testament principles, and work our way up from there. Increasing our generosity over time. God asks us to be generous when we give, because He’s been generous to us. You cannot out-give God. Whatever you give will be rewarded generously by Him:

‘Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.’ – Luke 6:38 ERV

Our God is an extravagantly generous God – and we’ve been made in His image. He promises to not just match our generosity (‘the way you give to others is the way God will give to you’), but to out-give even our most generous & sacrificial giving (‘give to others & your will receive; you’ll be given much – more than you can hold – so much that it will spill into your lap’). We’ll continue the theme of giving tomorrow, and specifically how it relates to the issue of faith.

Reflect:
– am I truly grateful for everything that I’ve been blessed with?
– how is that reflected in what I give to others (or give back to God)?
– how much can I really contribute?

Pray:
Father God, thank you that you have blessed me with so much
Please forgive me when I take it all for granted & keep it for myself.
Jesus Christ, I thank you that you didn’t hold anything back on the cross
Giving Your all for me.
Help me to be more generous like You.

make-a-life-by-giving

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