Discipline of Giving


 

Giving starts as a discipline whose consistency turns it into a second nature lifestyle. One starts giving as matter of discipline before it becomes a joy and pleasure. God does not require us to do what he does not do himself. A great teacher is an embodiment of what he teaches. God as the great teacher and leader that He is models his values.  And giving is one of those values. God is a passionate giver.

2 Peter 1:3-4  For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the
[full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).   By means of these He has bestowed on us His
precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.  (AMP) God through His great and precious promises has made us partakers of his divine nature. It is God’s nature to give. I am a partaker of His giving nature.

God is described as a giving God who gives liberally and without begrudging. He gives even rain and the sun to the sinner.  Not only does he give
liberally but he gives good and perfect gifts. He gives of his best. He is not like some people I know who give what they no longer want. He gives that which is precious to Him.  James 1:5, 17-18 “ If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. — Every good gift and every perfect ( free, large,
full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].  And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].” (AMP).

God’s giving is motivated by love. He gives out of love and at the same time gives with another motivation. He gives with an expectancy of a return. It is interesting that while God gives for an anticipated return, many people do not expect to receive a harvest out of their seed given to God. I wonder whether we are more spiritual than God. In John 3:16 God gave His best in anticipation of a great harvest of souls into
eternal life.

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ( unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”  (AMP)

Jesus Christ the express image of the Godhead loved me so much that He gave Himself for me. Ouch this makes me pause and wonder: How much of myself is in my giving? Do I give other things in place of my life? Do I compensate with money what I cannot give of myself?   Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life
I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”( AMP).
I suppose we could say that the measure of love in a gift is the measure of the giver that is included in the gift. Jesus did not gave part of Himself but He gave Himself in full to demonstrate his love. He did not send an angel to die for me but He took my place himself. So why do I put  substitutes into my gifts of love?

This is further confirmed in Eph 5:2 “And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.” AMP. He gave Himself. When I give to God do I use money to avoid giving of Myself? In my marriage and family do I use money and toys rather than giving of Myself. How much of myself is given to
my wife or my children? Does my financial gift represent me or it is my substitute?

God is an amazing giver. Sample the following scriptures as they speak of the giving God.

1 Tim 6:17-18 “As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment.  [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others], “AMP.
Because God gives richly all things for our enjoyment, He challenges rich people to be rich in good works, liberal and ready to share with others. Just like their God.

Rom 8:32 “He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things? “ AMP

Ps 115:16 “The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth has He given to the children of men.” AMP. Incredible He gave the earth to the sons of man for rulership.

Ps 84:11 “For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” AMP

1 John 5:11-12 “And this is that testimony (that evidence): God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who possesses the Son has that
life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life.” AMP.
Even more important He gave us eternal life through His son. Once you accept Jesus Christ His son, you receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life. So what are you waiting for?

Acts 20:35 “being mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive. “ AMP

Conclusion

God is a giver and because we share in his nature, we also develop a discipline of giving. There are different kinds of giving which we will discuss namely: free will offerings, tithes, almsgiving, sacrificial giving, and firstfruits. Each kind of giving is governed by different rules as we shall see.

 

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