May 18, 2022

Why Is Giving Important?

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… John 3:16

I had just flown into a rather primitive area in Northern Luzon, a tribal area of the Philippines, where Bible translators from Wycliffe had given the New Testament to a group who were reading it for the first time. Along towards evening, men came from the fields and women and children joined their husbands in assembling in the group house to hear the Good News.

What an experience! Unlike so many who hear the Good News anxiously awaiting the “Amen!” so they can get out as soon as possible, these folks listened for hours as I spoke in English and the message was translated into Ifugao and Ilocano. About midnight a man asked a question of my interpreter.

Pointing to the man, my interpreter said, “He is asking, `Why should we who have so little give to God who has so much?'” And then I looked at the man through different eyes.  Here sat a man in a G-string and an old T-shirt. On the table was a coconut oil lamp. No electricity, no TV’s, telephones, automobiles, or refrigerators. By our standards, his life was rather primitive. What also surprised me was that I had not mentioned money. But, obviously, it was on his mind, and in particular, what claim God had on the little he did have.

I thought for a moment and then replied, “We should give to God for three reasons:  1. We should give in simple obedience to what He asks in His Word; 2. We should give because it is a means of receiving the blessing of God; and 3. You can take your gifts and pool them to send someone across the mountain to another group to tell them about God.

You may be far removed from a tribal area in Northern Luzon, but the reasons I gave are just as valid no matter where you are if you are God’s child.

Giving is a mark of obedience. Can it be plainer than this? “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (1 Corinthians 16:2).  Paul says your giving should be personal, stressing “each one of you.” It should be periodic, since he says, “On the first day of every week.” And it is proportional–in keeping with income.

The second reason to give is that it enables God to pour out His blessing in response.  “Give, and it will be given to you,” said Jesus. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

Don Phinney never had to be convinced. When I was a young pastor, Don invited me to his home “to see his books” as he put it. I expected old leather-bound volumes, but what he showed me was a financial ledger going back some 40 years. “I’ve proved you can’t out give God,” said Don pointing out the fact that the more he and Catherine gave, the more God sent in return.  It was all there in black and white.

The third reason to give is that the Good News of the Gospel–the same message which you one day heard–may be heard by others around the world. In our world today are almost 3 billion people who have never heard an adequate presentation of the Gospel which would allow them to trust Christ as Lord. Are they not just as important to God as you are? Think about it.

Resource reading: Exodus 35:4-36:6