The Joy Of Giving
How is your giving? Do you give for the benefits or out of gratitude? Do you experience joy in giving?
This week's devotional explores how giving cheerfully, eagerly, and generously is an expression for who God is and what He has done for us in our lives.
"That in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liverality."
Although the United States has the highest giving percentage than other nations in the world, it is one of the few nations that enjoy tax write-offs from giving to charity. Do we give because of the tax write-off or because we have the heart to give? When we give only because of tax write-offs, facing an economic crisis might tend to cause us to reduce our giving and some to even stop giving altogether. Do we give because we have much or do we give because we are grateful for what we have?
Giving should be something we do out of joy not out of obligation. Giving should be a natural response of gratefulness and an expression of joy for who God is and what He has done for us. Unfortunately, many kingdom business stewards give out of obligation, guilt or benefits rather than out of joy.
The Apostle Paul planted many churches, some in very wealthy communities and others in poor communities but his ministry was primarily supported by those he planted in poorer communities. The churches of Macedonia suffered great afflictions and were deeply poor but with great joy, they gave even beyond their abilities. 1 Corinthians 8:1-4
Joy is an eternal peace and excitement demonstrated by an external expression of gratitude. Joy gives rhythm, flavor and a smile to our giving. Giving without joy is like operating machinery without proper lubrication. It will not last. Joy makes your giving consistent and easy to be received.
How to give with joy:
- First, give yourself to the Lord – you cannot give with joy if you have not first given yourself to the Lord. Giving is a response to a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord. God does not need what you have, it is all His anyway. He needs you.
- Give to those people or things you love – "For God so love the world that He gave us His only begotten Son." Giving is a tangible demonstration of your love for someone or a cause.
- Give even in trials – giving is not something you do when things are going well but it is a lifestyle. The habit of giving is not developed in good times but in bad times.
- Give to purpose not to need – need eradicates resources while purpose eradicates need. Giving is not what solves problems rather it is purpose that solves problems. Your giving should target those people and organizations that are working to eradicate the need you are passionate about.
- Give to good ground – giving is an investment in eternity, therefore you must ensure that the ground is good so that it can yield the maximum eternal returns. Make sure that the person or organization you are giving to will carry out the expected mission with proper accountability.
- Give out of what you have – never give that which is obligated to other things such as rent, car note, loan payment etc. Other than the tithe, giving should always be out of discretionary money. If you want to increase your giving then either increase your income or decrease your obligated expenses.
- Give as unto the Lord – your giving is never to people or things but rather it is to God. Although it is administered by people and organizations you must focus on the ultimate Receiver, who is God, and no matter what the people or organization does, God will honor your heart. This ensures that your giving is unconditional.
Some kingdom business stewards give only enough to meet their tax deduction obligations while others give as long as they have to give irrespective of their tax deduction limit. Which one are you? If the US Government was to end the tax deduction policy today will your giving go down or remain the same?
A young biblical entrepreneur, after being blessed with several million dollars in a settlement, was led to commit above and beyond his tithe to kingdom work, against his accountant’s advice, who felt that he should limit his giving to his maximum tax benefit. This young man recognized the fact that his giving is not based on benefits from the IRS but benefits from the King of kings.
Tax write-offs are great and must be encouraged because it is better to give the money to a kingdom cause than to the IRS; however, that should not be the only basis for our giving. The joy of giving means that we give purely to express our love for the things we believe in and our gratefulness to the God who made us stewards of His resources. It is our external expression of the peace we have on the inside and our gratitude to the Prince of Peace. All benefits that come with giving are bi-products of our giving not the reason for our giving.
My prayer for you today is that God will grant you the grace to give with joy so you can advance his kingdom through your giving.
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