In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Matthew 6:1-4
Memorise This Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:3 ‘If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing’
Afterwards Talk About This: How can we be sure we are giving with the right motive.
Something To Do Before Next Time: Seek God in prayer as to whether you are giving with the right motives.
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the right motives to give.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:5
The need to give financially into the work of God should now be very clear and plain and the many reasons and benefits to do so should strengthen the argument that a non-giving Christian is a contradiction in terms. However the bible indicates that when we become givers we still may not have reached God’s will in our finances as the motives for our giving are of great importance. There are things in the Christian life that we can do yet we can do them for the wrong motives and that includes our financial giving. This chapter seeks to identify both right and wrong motives for giving and will be a spot-light to ensure that we are giving with the purest of motives.
Sadly, human nature is such that we can do the best of actions with the worst of motives and the bible itself declares that this certainly applies to our financial giving. For example, 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, ‘If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing’, so even giving everything we own with the wrong motives will profit us nothing. Moreover, in Matthew 6:2 Jesus speaks against those who give and then literally blow their own trumpet in order to gain the applause of men. It has been rightly argued that our motives for giving are as important as the act of giving itself and we will surely do well to monitor our motives for giving.
Doubtless the most important reason to give is that we ultimately are giving our money to God as an act of love and worship and acknowledgement that he is our Lord and the true and living God. Whilst we cannot give our money to God personally, whenever we give our money to the extension of his Kingdom, God looks upon it as if we actually give to him.
We give to a missionary secondly, we give to God first we give to a church secondly, we give to God first we give to a crusade secondly, we give to God first.
Whilst it is proper that we worship God through prayer, song and our very lifestyle, we also need to worship God with our money it is easy to come to church and worship God during a lively time of praise yet it is just as important (yet harder) to come to church and worship God through our giving.
2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 is the greatest discourse in the whole of the bible on giving in it, Paul commends the Macedonian churches for their extravagant giving and he emphasizes the fact that we give firstly to God. For example, in chapter 8 verse 5 Paul says, ‘They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will’. God certainly has no need for our money, but by giving he surely acknowledges that we have given something that is precious to us and consequently it blesses the Lord. Most of us work very hard for our money – God is surely not unaware of this and when we give him part of our hard earned money it surely must bring great delight to him.
If you and I are going to express our love for God it is not enough to sing and get some nice feelings in our church meetings but we also need to give financially unto God. Let it be emphasised that the greatest reason to give is that it is an act of worship and adoration, which declares our love unto the Lord. There are many ways that we can honour God – through worship, prayer, actions and obedience but certainly the giving of our money is one of the greatest ways in which we can honour him. The book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament which has a lot to say about money, and in it we find that God wants his people to honour him with their sacrifices and their giving. The back ground here is that the Priests had been offering blemished sacrifices and refusing to give God the best in chapter 3 we see that the people had not been tithing and hence were robbing God. Consequently, in verse 6, God asks a very searching question,
‘A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due to me? If I am a master, where is the respect due to me?’
Therefore, is it not the case that we don’t honour God anymore than our giving honours him and the Christians who refuse to give are dishonouring God? As Malachi shows, God desires our respect, reverence and honour and he has ordained that one of the major ways we express this to him is through our money. If God is special to you and you wish to honour and revere him then your wallet is a good mechanism through which to do this. This same thought is spoken of in the Book of proverbs and the scriptures below both speak of honouring God in the context of using our money.
Proverbs 3:9 ‘Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops’.
Proverbs 14:31 ‘Whoever is kind to the needy honours God’
A further right motive to give is that we want to give in order to see the Kingdom of God extended in the earth and touch those around us with the gospel and by giving we are literally casting a vote in favour of the Kingdom of God. We surely must seek to be givers in order to see a spiritual return on the money we have sown, and see this money converted into the salvation of precious souls. Remember that Jesus said in Luke 16:9, ‘Use your worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings’, consequently our giving must be motivated to finance the reaching of lost men and women with the gospel and ultimately seeing them saved.
Why bother to invest your money in earthly treasures, in following fashions and earthly entertainments? Invest your money in the precious souls of men and women, let your giving be motivated to seeing the gospel advance worldwide and touch many people for God.
The third motivation for our giving is that we should seek to give so that we flow with the laws of sowing and reaping and hence receive the many forms of God’s blessings, so that we will be better positioned to give into the Kingdom of God. As will be explained in the next chapter, it is wrong to give to see even more reaped back if we only intend to spend the excess on ourselves, surely that would be selfish and an abuse of the laws of sowing and reaping.
However, it is quite proper that we seek to receive as bigger blessing as possible from God so that we can be an even bigger giver into the work of God. It would also be selfish if you did not sow into the work of God in order to see the many different blessings of God released to you as unless you do, you will never be the blessing to those around you that God intended that you be.
So summarised below are the motives we should have in our giving and they are also listed in order of importance God first, taking the Kingdom of God to others second, and lastly ourselves being blessed to be a blessing. If we give with the motives below it will ensure that we keep the balance of ensuring that we want to be blessed for the sake of being an even bigger blessing to God’s Kingdom, as opposed to being blessed purely for our own benefit. Your motive for giving is just as important as your giving itself and perhaps as read both this section and the next on wrong motives to give it would be wise to carefully judge your motivation to give.
Motives For Giving
- TO BLESS GOD:- 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, ‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ so we primarily give to bless and bring glory to God
- TO BLESS THOSE AROUND US :- To use our money to make friends for ourselves (Luke 16:90 and this is a more important reason than seeking to give to be blessed ourselves (see below) because Jesus said in Acts 20:32 ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’.
- TO BE BLESSED OURSELVES :- Not for selfish reasons but to be in an even better position to give even more into the work of God. In 2 Corinthians 9:11, Paul exhorts the generous brothers at Macedonia that, ‘You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion’.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Equatorial Guinea
452,661 people, Catholic majority
Bad government, corruption and compromise in the church have hurt the nation.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.