April 19, 2014
"You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give
reluctantly or in response to pressure. 'For God loves a person who
gives cheerfully.'" 2 Corinthians 9:7
Ever felt guilted into giving? I have.
As followers of Christ we know we should give to others. We read in Scripture that God loves a cheerful giver. We want to support those in need but honestly, we have our own desires for spending too. How do we learn to give from a heart of generosity rather than from a heart of guilt? I believe James 1:5 provides us with the answer. "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."
Some might respond, "But if I ask God about giving of course He'll tell me to give!"
God likely will lead us to share with others. But consider God's promises to those who respond to Him with generous hearts.
"If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD--and He will repay you!" Proverbs 19:17
"'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in My Temple. If you do,' says the Lord
of Heaven’s Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will
pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!
Try it! Put Me to the test!'" Malachi 3:10
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones
who is My disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not
lose their reward." Matthew 10:42
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6
"And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have
everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." 2 Corinthians 9:8
"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have
shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10
I listed too many promises to read in one blog, didn't I? And yet God's Word contains many more promises such as these!
If God owns the universe and everything in it (Psalm 24:1) then why would God ask us to lend to the poor? Maybe, just maybe God asks us to give as a test of our devotion to Him.
Giving proves easier when we first recognize that everything we have comes from God--our very faith, our family, our furnishings and our finances. God has entrusted us as stewards of His things. When we receive a request for support our only reasonable response is for us to inquire how the Owner would have us best utilize His possessions. Sometimes God asks us to give a little; sometimes God asks us to give until it hurts, trusting Him to meet our needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Put it into Practice I have a request toward which you can consider giving (you saw this coming). I am not asking you to give . . . not immediately, anyway. I am asking you to pray. Ask God if and how He would have you respond to this opportunity. Do not give in order to receive. Do not give out of guilt. Give out of your trust in God and your love for people in need.
In less than two months I will travel to Africa to lead three different women's conferences. Though fundraising efforts continue for the first two conferences, the greatest need is for the group of women coming from remote parts of Congo. The women will travel 1-2 days each way for the conference. Our team will spend two days teaching the women and equipping them to begin Bible study groups in their villages. Two hundred dollars will cover the cost for one woman (including her travel each way, hotel, food and border crossing requirements). An extra ten dollars will provide her with a Bible. Thirty-five women await funding.
Two-hundred and ten US dollars. Its a lot to ask, but would you? Would you simply ask God what He would have you to do?
Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to the ministry with whom I will travel, Equip Disciples, at 2126 Belmont Park Drive, Arlington, TX 76017. Donations can also be made on-line at Equip Disciples (please note, however, 3% of your on-line donation will go to Paypal). Designate "Equip Women Conferences" on your donation.