WHY to Give?
The Bible mentions several benefits of giving:
1. Giving glorifies God. It not only supplies the needs of others, but also causes the recipients to thank and glorify God (2 Cor. 9:12-13).
2. Giving builds faith. Sacrificial giving creates a greater dependence on the Lord and leads to a more intimate relationship with Him. It is a step of action that puts Him first and acknowledges His ownership of all that we have.
3. Giving develops character. Serving the needs of others through sharing what has been given to us makes us less selfish and covetous. Our character becomes more Christ-like when we become other-centered rather than self-centered (Phil. 2:3-4; 1 Tim. 6:18-19).
4. Giving results in God's blessings. "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. . . . you will be enriched in everything for all liberality" (2 Cor. 9:6,11; cf. Phil. 4:17-19). Those who share abundantly in the lives of others will harvest the blessings of the Lord. We cannot outgive God, because He promises that He will give back to us whatever we share with others. "The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered" (Prov. 11:25; cf. Deut. 15:10; Prov. 3:9-10). "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return" (Luke 6:38; cf. Prov. 19:17; 22:9; 28:27; Mal. 3:10). "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
5. Giving is an eternal investment. While it is true that "You can't take it with you," you can send it on ahead. Jesus exhorted us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth because they can be corrupted and stolen. Instead, He told us to build incorruptible and lasting treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21). If we set our heart on earthly things, we may make short-range gains but sacrifice long-range rewards. It is only what we give away that we truly keep. Thus, there is an "eternal return" on the money we invest in the lives and ministries of others (Luke 12:32-34; 16:9; 1 Tim. 6:18-19).
HOW to Give?
Using 1 Corinthians 16:2 and 2 Corinthians 8:3; 9:6-11, the New Testament teaching on sharing can be summarized with seven P's:
1. Periodic. "On the first day of every week" (1 Cor. 16:2).
2. Personal. "Let each one of you" (1 Cor. 16:2); "let each one" (2 Cor. 9:7).
3. Planned. "Put aside and save" (1 Cor. 16:2); "do just as he has purposed in his heart" (2 Cor. 9:7).
4. Proportionate. "As he may prosper" (1 Cor. 16:2)
5. Plentiful. "He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully" (2 Cor. 9:6); "you will be enriched in everything for all liberality" (2 Cor. 9:11).
6. Painful. "Beyond their ability they gave of their own accord" (2 Cor. 8:3).
7. Positive. "Not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
Go through this list of seven P's and evaluate your life in the light of each. Where do changes need to be made?