John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church once said, ‘The last part of a man to be converted is his wallet.’
Money can really grip our souls and stop us from blessing others.
I was travelling on the train and beside me sat a middle aged Malay lady. She was using a small old hand phone (the ‘non-smart’ push buttons type where you played the Snake game). I was reading my Bible when she asked me for five dollars to buy medicine. I knew I had a ten dollar note in my wallet and it would be weird asking if she had change for five dollars. In hindsight, I could have given her ten dollars to bless her. I really lacked Jesus’ compassion.
To my shame, I felt I could not spare that money and replied that I don’t have any to give her. I could have easily drawn more money from the ATM but I rationalised it away. The rest of my morning Bible reading didn’t go so well with the guilt eating me. Even had that gnawing on your soul when you didn’t do something you should? After that experience, I studied how should we approach giving.
Paul the apostle wrote to the Philippian church about giving. He laid down some principles:
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
1. We reap what we sow
If you understand this timeless principle, your giving will be revolutionised. When you are generous, God gives you back even more. When you are stingy, God gives you back little. This is echoed by King Solomon:
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
You can never out give God. He will repay you with much more than you gave up. However, giving just to get back more should not be your main motive. We should give without expecting any reward back.
2. We are to give cheerfully
Giving starts from the inside. Only you know your motives for giving. A man giving a million dollars to charity might be giving out of selfish motives. You are not to give out of peer pressure to look good. If you don’t want to give, don’t give.
We are be thoughtful about it and give what we are happy to give. Notice that Paul did not mention the amount you are to give. That’s because it’s not important. It’s about your attitude. Give within your means and with gladness.
3. God provides us with money to do good work
You’ll need not fear that you’ll run out of money if you give it away. God is able to provide you with everything you need so you can continue blessing others. In that passage above, there are four ‘alls’ in one sentence. All grace, all sufficiency, all things and all times.
This is the generosity of our God. He doesn’t give us halfway. He goes all the way to give you everything you need. Be generous like your Father in heaven.
I need that reminder every single day. I believe I missed out on the opportunity to do a good work that day on the train. But I don’t want to miss it again. I’ll end with another fitting quote by John Wesley.
‘Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.’