We are in the middle of our annual Vision Offering campaign. Each year a special project is chosen in our church ministry to designate the special offering to. This year, we are asking the Lord to provide a ministry vehicle (25 to 29 passenger shuttle bus) for groups in our church family to use for activities and long trips. With three weeks to go we are over half-way there to achieving our goal of $50,000.
Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” One of the truest indicators of your heart’s condition is what you do with your money and possessions. I have been overwhelmed by the response of our church family to give to this special offering. Not only are people giving out of their income, but you are going the extra mile…selling vehicles, having yard sales, even taking portions out of your IRA’s. It’s phenomenal! As we think about the heart of our giving, let’s remind ourselves of three important biblical principles related to giving.
EVERYTHING I HAVE BELONGS TO GOD.
This is where giving begins, understanding that everything I have belongs to God. Somewhere along the way we got this idea that only 10% belongs to the Lord. Think of it this way: 100% belongs to God, He just allows you to manage 90% of what is really His.
God strongly considers it His business what we do with our money, because it all belongs to Him. Consider 1 Corinthians 4:2 when Paul identified believers as “stewards.” You see, there is a difference between a steward and an owner. A steward manages what belongs to the owner, and that’s what you and I are. We are simply managers of what belongs to God.
Adrian Rogers said, “You can do more with 90% and God as your partner than you can with 100% all by yourself.”
GOD MEASURES OUR HEART NOT BY WHAT WE GIVE, BUT BY WHAT WE KEEP.
It is easy for us to describe someone as a generous giver based solely on the amount given, but true generosity is determined by how much a person gives of what he or she has. In Mark 12 we are reminded of the sacrificial giving of a poor widow.
“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:42-44
This poor widow did not give out of her abundance, she gave out of her livelihood. The gift here is equivalent to about 1/8 of a cent. Think about that. She didn’t have much, but according to Jesus she gave more than anyone else because she kept nothing for herself.
Here’s the point: its not always about what we give, but what we keep. AW Tozer said, “Before the judgment seat of Christ, my service will be judged not by how much I have done, but by how much I could have done. In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given, but by how much I could have given and how much I had left after I made my gift.”
Jim Elliott said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
GOD HONORS THE LIFE THAT GIVES WITH A HEART OF BOLD FAITH.
I think, once again, about the poor widow woman. What GREAT faith she had to give everything. How often have I thought to myself, “God, I would give more but things are tight right now.” Then I read Mark 12 and realize that it doesn’t get any “tighter” financially than what this woman experienced, yet she gave anyway.
Things may be tough for your family right now, but never forget that heaven is not effected by economic recessions. Giving by faith is giving beyond our power to do so. It’s watching God provide the gift when we trust Him.
“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.” 2 Corinthians 8:2-3
Giving beyond our power means to give when the figures don’t add up; when the bottom line says we shouldn’t; when it’s more than luxuries and some necessities. There are three levels of giving to remember. Which are you?
- Those that give less than their ability.
- Those that give according to their ability.
- Those that give beyond their ability (this is bold faith giving)
2 Samuel 24:24, “Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.”
What a testimony! Can you say that? Can you say, “Neither will I offer to the Lord my God that which doth cost me nothing.” The heart of generosity doesn’t ask, “How much can I keep?” but, “How much more can I give?”
I heard someone say to me one time, “Jonathan, whenever I start getting comfortable with my of level giving, it’s time to raise it again.” That’s the heart of giving.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21
NOTE: Click here to give to the Vision Offering through the Laurel Baptist website.