Pastor Andy Stanley tells a story about a little boy who was scolded by his mother because he refused to share his lunch with a classmate who had brought no lunch to school that day. The ironic point, Stanley says, is that we expect our children to know that possessions are for sharing, yet when it comes to our own affairs, we act as if possessions are for keeping.
There's something innate in all humans that tells us we should give...even more so for Christians who are called to follow God's ultimate example of generosity. But the pressures of materialism and greed often quench our desires for the generous life. So it helps to periodically refresh our minds about why we should give in the first place. Here are just a few of the many reasons:
- Giving is a biblical commandment. In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth...But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven." Among the many other examples in Scripture, also see 2 Corinthians 8:7 and Luke 12:13-21.
- The Bible is clear that Christians are merely stewards of resources entrusted to us by God. 1 Chronicles 29:11 tells us, "Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord." Since we do not actually own anything, we should naturally be willing to give a portion back to God.
- Giving mirrors the wonderful example set by God. Greatest among the gifts He has given us is His Son, Jesus Christ (Who gave His own life).
- Giving supplies the needs of others here on earth (Romans 12:13) and enables others to spread the Gospel and help fulfill the Great Commission.
- Giving brings joy and blessings to the giver. Acts 20:35 says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." More important than temporal blessings, though, are those that are eternal. The Bible is clear that there are levels of reward in heaven, and these are influenced by the level of our earthly generosity (Matthew 6).
- Eventually we will give everything away anyway (Psalm 49:10) – to our family, the government, or charity.
This list could go on and on. For a fitting summary of the "why of giving," read 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and "take hold of the life that is truly life."