A Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
At first we may think scriptures about giving only refer to giving money to the church. While it’s true that many passages do speak of this kind of stewardship, the biblical principle of giving runs much deeper – such as giving cheerfully and generously of everything God has given us.
For example, in Old Testament times people were expected to give 10% or a tithe of everything they earned back to God. In the New Testament they were encouraged to give, but no fixed amount was given. They were exhorted to give according to how God had prospered them or how much they loved God. The decision was theirs to make. However, they should bear two things in mind. They should give cheerfully, not out of a sense of obligation or reluctance. (2 Corinthians 9:7) And they should give generously because if we “sow sparingly” we “reap sparingly.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) In other words, we shouldn’t expect God to be generous with us if we aren’t generous with others. This applies in all areas of our lives.
God expects us to give to others because God has given to us! Every gift and blessing we have comes from God and God expects us to share them all with others. (James 1:7) Jesus gave instructions to His disciples: “…freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8) When we share what God has given us with others, it glorifies God.
Giving is a basic biblical principle for every aspect of our lives. We should be giving to God, plus we should be giving and sharing what God has given us with others.
What can we give to God who has everything? Here are some ideas…
- Our love
- Our trust
- Our thanks
- Our praise and worship
- Our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)
What have we freely received from God that we can share with others? Here are some ideas…
- The good news about Jesus Christ
What can we give to others? Here are some ideas…
- Our time
- Our talents
- Our energy
- Benefit of the doubt
- Our prayers
- A smile
I’m sure we can all add to these lists.
Consider this old adage… We make a living by what we get out of life but we make a life by what we give.
Studies show that givers improve their overall mental health, have a more positive outlook and improve relationships with others. So be a giver. It’s a win/win/win scenario. It’s good for you, it’s good for others, and God loves it!
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
- If you woke up this morning, give God a little praise and thanks!
- Volunteer in your community. It doesn’t have to be a daily commitment. Perhaps you can help once a week or once a month.
- Smile at every person you meet. If you are feeling especially generous go ahead and say, “Hi!”
- Christmas is coming. Why not sponsor a Giving Tree gift or angel from the Salvation Army angel tree, have your family lead carols at a nursing home, participate in Operation Christmas Child or a One Warm Coat drive, help with a Christmas food drive – the list is endless? Just go online and you’ll find a myriad of ways you and your family can give to others this year!
- Remember these words of Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor by giving.”