Giving from the Biblical Perspective
We Do Not Possess Anything on Our Own.
God is a gracious God. Part of that graciousness is the attitude of generosity. Tonight I wish to present some biblical points of view that will help us to understand what our responsibilities are as His children in area of giving. We live in a very prosperous time. It is easy to develop the attutude that we "own" our possessions. That is absolutely wrong. When Job lost everything - his children, his wealth he responded this way:
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. Job 1:21
The truth Job was resting on was actually two-fold. First, Job as a formerly wealthy man recognized that he possessed nothing apart from the generosity of God. Secondly, he recognized the sovereighty of God in all his material and family matters. That's an important principle for us all to learn if we are to have the biblical perspective of giving.
God Gives Men Wealth and Possessions with Generosity.
The Bible has several examples of men with great possessions. God never chastised them for enjoying their wealth. Solomon wrote:
Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. Eccles. 5:19
Paul echoes this generosity of God:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Tim. 6:17
So we need to recognize that we own nothing and that all of our possesions are His. He has given us our things so that we might, yes, enjoy them.
Remember the rich farmer who didn't have enough barns for his bumper crop?  The man thought that he was the possesser of these crops - he thought that he and he alone had control of his life. This man was a fool in God's eyes for the he had forgotten that God had given him the crop. No. It is God who gives generously and it is God who expects the same attitude from the beneficiary of His gifts. Man is not the source of his wealth - there is no such thing as a selfr-made man. Listen to the Psalmist:
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.  You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. Psalm 65:9-10, NIV
No! The rich farmer was not the owner of the crops - nor is was he in control of his life - God was. This man was stingy with the blessings, the wealth of God and he - the fool was reminded of this fact in a very dramatic way.
God Blesses the Man Who Has a Generous Attitude.
Read Deuteronomy 15:4-10. God wanted to teach his people an important lesson on forgiveness of debt and of being generous. Every 7 years debts were to be cancelled. The principle was quite simple. There were to be no poor Israelites in Israel. God makes a very important promise to Israel for having a generous attitude regarding their possessions. Listen:
However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, Deut. 15:4
This is the principle of there being no poor in Israel - God's end of the "bargain" was that He would richly bless Israel. He and He alone was to be the source of their economic prosperity. Now here's Israel's end of the "bargain."
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother  Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Deut. 15:7-8
So then - we learn from this lesson that all that we "possess" is the result of God's rich blessing and that we are not to have a stingy self-centered attitude about what we own but rather should be ready to share with our prosperity while we are enjoying it. If we follow God's instruction of acknowledging His sovereignty and our stewardship regarding that which He has given us - He will bless us. If we act like clones of Scrooge and hang on to our prosperity - God will take a very dim view of this and will not bless us.
The Biblical Step Towards a Generous Attitude.
First, we are to consider ourselves as the Lord's property:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1, NIV
We are like the Levites of old - we are His property - look at another passage:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9, NIV
The word translated "peculiar" in the KJV is correctly translated here in the NIV as a people belonging to God. We are "owned" by God - we are actually the property of God. This is the first step towards the correct, biblical attitude in giving. We will cover more in a later lesson. For now let us reconsider our priorities and take another look at the needs of others around us including our local church.
1. Luke 12:16-21 [ Back ]
The next lesson: The Resources of Biblical Giving