Does My Giving Make A Difference?
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you. Luke 6:38
“Why should we be concerned about poverty in Africa or the plight of the homeless? We didn’t cause the problems that confront people there, so why should we give?” challenged one person who seemed to feel that what happens somewhere else in the world should be left to someone else to solve.
To be very candid with you, I was shocked at the very question, yet it is one that deserves an answer. Of course, you did not contribute to the plague of malnutrition that is marching across the vast continent of Africa, leaving behind a rag-tag army of children, their eyes empty and sorrowful. But, then, neither were children responsible for the malnutrition that leaves their stomachs bloated, their faces gaunt and drawn, their arms and legs thin as broomsticks.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain cried out to the Lord, striving to avoid responsibility for Abel’s death. In three minutes, ponder the following. First, the entire fabric of both the Old and New Testaments are woven with concern for the poor. Under the Mosaic Law, farmers were commanded to reap grain in a circular pattern, leaving the corners of field untouched so that the poor could harvest there. Proverbs 28:27 says, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing.” Another passage says, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17). In the New Testament, churches were instructed to provide for the poor, those who were widows, and the destitute.
The second reason that you ought to give liberally to those who are in need is that what you have is a gift from God, a stewardship or a trust that you are responsible for, and how you use it is a matter of concern to God, who can take from you what He has given to you as quickly as He bestowed it. Only a fool would deny that he has not had help in getting what he has—whether it is an inheritance from parents, a break someone gave him in business, or being in the right place at the right time.
Many, though, have the attitude, “I earned it. It’s mine to do with what I please; and besides I didn’t cause the poverty and pain in the world so why should I do anything to relieve it?” Their philosophy is, “Get all you can; can all you get; then sit on your can.” But a fire, a natural disaster, a shift in the market, and your pile is quickly depleted.
Who knows? Someday the tables may turn and you may be the very one who is in need of help; and the reality that what you sow is also what you reap is a centuries-old truth that plays out time and time again.
There is one more reason why you need to learn to give generously. There is no reward as significant as knowing your resources and gifts have made a difference in the world. You put milk in a child’s glass, a smile on his face, and provided a pallet or a bed for him to sleep on.
In his book, Improving Your Serve, Chuck Swindoll tells how on one occasion he was asked to conduct a funeral service for a man who had died with neither family nor friends. Says Chuck, “All he had was a fox terrier…to whom he left his entire estate: around $76,000.” Think of it! That amount of money going to a little dog who could only eat so much dog food, while children starve and parents in some parts of the world see their children die because they lack the medicine that will bring healing or help! What will your legacy be?
Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-12