When we give financial support to someone who is needy, it isn’t only about the money. For certain, the money is incredibly valuable because it’s what achieves what the person needs! But, our act of giving is not ONLY about the money. It’s also about what happens in me and you, and about our walk as a disciple of Jesus. It’s about my and your commitment to being Godly, to walking as Christ on the earth.
God is a Giver! Every breath we breathe is a gift from Him. Christ showed us to what extent He is a Giver, by withholding from Himself the magnificent Life He had in Heaven in order to supply us. We were, and are, the poverty-stricken ones. Our need was, and still is, what only He can supply. We have no way of getting it for ourselves!
In the same way, the truly needy recipient of our financial gift cannot get for himself or herself what our gift can achieve: a place to call home, food, safety, medicine and healthcare, an education, a life-changing experience.
How much should we give? Is there a “right amount”? Should we give only out of our surplus? Or tithe? Does the amount matter?
Jesus talked about the widow who gave a little. She had given so generously from her little. She had done well! Paul told an incredibly inspiring story about giving in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. In the telling, he gave us some more insight into how much it means to our Father when we give generously from what we have.
“Surplus” as an idea is very relative! For some, it means having more than they need to put aside for their well-deserved vacation. To many, it means having a tiny handful of grain more than necessary for that day’s survival.
Regardless of whether the Hebrew practice of tithing belongs only to the Old Testament period or to us here and now, it solves the quandary about how much we should give, and about what is or isn’t surplus. It’s an equitable standard for all givers: those who have should give a tenth portion to those who haven’t. When we practice tithing, we’re supplying the need and also reminding ourselves that our God and His ways come first in our lives. Giving at least this standard portion from our resources serves as a regular reminder to us that looking after the needs of others is an integral part of reflecting, imitating, and demonstrating our God’s giving character.
Giving without hesitation when we know it is right, is a part of following Jesus. Being good stewards of our resources so that we can give generously out from them, is a part of being Christlike. It’s so important that in the scriptures God says things like this to us: Give, and the same will happen to you… Give, and I’ll open up Heaven’s windows and pour out for you whatever you need… If you won’t give, you aren’t being my follower…
Giving money is a fundamental expression of our daily fellowship with Jesus! It will bless others and also ourselves, when we give with understanding, deliberately and joyfully.