Giving

We have been taught, almost from birth, to look after the pennies. Many of us have never really understood the fullness of that principle and possibly adopted the theory that if we have it, it is ours so we spend it. However, those of us who have lived our lives on this basis can testify to you now why we are not rich; we spent it so we no longer have it. In truth, we spent it on our own pleasures; satisfying our needs on a day-to-day basis; meeting our desires for the immediate pleasure that it brought us.

Now, when it comes to giving, many of us start to feel uneasy. One question that often comes to mind is, "Why should I give...?” We know that this just us being ‘normal’ people; we are living ‘normal’ lives that are challenged by the concept of parting with something that we could do with ourselves.

Unfortunately, this is far from the truth!

That may be the way mankind thinks, but this is based upon a lie from the pit of hell itself. This thought process runs completely opposite to the way of God. It is based on the hedonistic process of ‘me’ being the most important person and everything else falling in line behind ‘me’. This way of thinking has a name; it is called “Lust”. You might prefer to call it ‘selfishness’ or ‘greed’; but however you want to wrap this up, there is lust at work here.

Lust is not just a feeling that we can pick up or put down as we choose. It is something far more powerful than that. Lust is something that works against us to pull us down to an earthly level without God’s intervention in our lives.

James 1:14-15 MKJV (14) But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them. (15) Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death.

Lust is something that we need to deal with very firmly in our lives. If we allow it to remain in our lives because it only pops up here and there, we deceive ourselves. We may think that we deal with it every time it pops up, but in truth there is a process of attrition that is taking place; it is a little bit like the Chinese water torture, the constant drip, drip, drip that slowly and surely wears us down.

The way of dealing with lust is to get off of the treadmill of thinking man’s way and start thinking God’s way. Yes, I know that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa_55:9). But that scripture doesn’t say that we can’t ask God what to do; it doesn’t say that we can’t ask Him for His opinion does it.

Let’s take a practical view of giving for a moment. The whole principle of giving is founded on the basis that we have something to give.

Giving is not about parting with something, it is about having the ownership of something that you can give. We all know that you can’t give what you don’t have. That is true, but that’s not what I am talking about here. I am talking about whether you have the right to give or not. Not do you have something to give, but is it yours to give.

God doesn’t ask you to give something because He is broke! He owns the whole world, the cattle on a thousand hills. If He was hungry, He wouldn’t talk to you about it (Ps 50:10-12). But He does ask you to give for another reason. He asks so that you can be ready to receive. Look at what the scripture says:

Luke 6:36 - 38
- Be merciful
- Judge not
- Give

Does this mean that we should pander the request from every beggar that we meat does it? Certainly not! But we should always be prepared to allow God to decide what action we should take otherwise, whose mercy are we using? Who are we judging?

Your gut feeling might be to say no, but remember that His ways… (Is 55:8) His thoughts… If we are not thinking the same as Him, it is probably because we haven’t asked Him what He thinks. If we are not feeling His compassion for the needy, it is probably because we haven’t asked Him how he feels; if we are not acting the same way as Him its probably because we haven’t learnt from Him yet.

When it comes to parting with your hard earned cash, for whatever reason God gives you, do you find yourself fumbling with pennies trying to work out how much? Are you making a decision for God based upon what’s in your pocket; based upon your understanding of what that money should be spent on? What does scripture tell us?

Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

If you are going to ask God whether to give or not, go the whole hog and ask Him how much and then do exactly what He says. Jesus was not disappointed with the widow who only gave pennies.

Mar 12:42 And a certain poor widow came, and she threw in two lepta, which is a kodrantes.

Mar 12:43 And He called His disciples and said to them, Truly I say to you that this poor widow has cast in more than all those who have cast into the treasury.

But at the same time as you give, watch what your heart is doing. Is your lust trying to tempt you to give lip service to God? Are you delighted that you have just asked God what to do, heard what He said and understood His heart for that situation? Are you now rejoicing that you are in full agreement with God and acting upon it? If you are, be encouraged that God loves you:

2Co 9:7 Each one, as he purposes in his heart, let him give; not of grief, or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.

If you are not happy about giving, go back to God and resolve that issue with Him. Don’t leave His presence until you have resolved that. Get to the point where you and He are in full agreement.

But you might say to me, “Dennis, I have nothing to give.” If you think this, it is only because you have forgotten what God has put in your hand. What did Peter say to the beggar?

Act 3:6 But Peter said, Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!

You may not be sure that you have that power or that authority or that ability. Let’s face it, if you carry on talking like that, you could talk yourself straight into death. Have you not read the scriptures below?

Mat 21:22 And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

Mar 11:24 Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you.

Joh 16:24 Before now you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.

1Jo 3:22 And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Jam 4:3 You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts.

You will, or course, have noticed in that last scripture that God will not give to you to feed your lust. No, God wants better for you than that; lust only leads you away form Him and ultimately to death.

How many times does God have to say it? Ask and you will receive! Do you not believe God will do that? Was God lying when He said that? No! Of course not! Is it that the cost of that prayer was too high for you? There is no cost!

Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. You have received freely, freely give.

There should never be a situation where you have nothing to give. All you have to do is ask God to provide it for you. He will answer your prayer.