During this time of the year there are more opportunities to give than at any other time of the year. Opportunities to give gifts to family, friends, and co-workers. Opportunities to give financially to churches or other organizations who are doing year-end fundraising campaigns. And opportunities to give to those in need every time that we walk past a red bucket and bell ringer.
It can be very easy to hold our money or other possessions tightly or to give begrudgingly. Parting with something of value can be difficult because by principle it means that we will have less. But I believe that it is important to give – to give willingly and sacrificially. Here are seven reasons why:
1. God is Giving
Possibly the most quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16, says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” If we are created in the likeness of God and God gave his Son for us, then we also are to be giving. Because God has given and continues to give so freely to us, I believe that the only reasonable response is for us to give generously back to him and to others.
2. Giving Can Help Others
Whether you give directly to someone who is experiencing financial hardship or give to an organization that helps meet the needs of others, the end result of your giving can be a huge blessing to those in need.
3. Giving Creates Fairness
Paul is writing to the Corinth church about giving to the poor Christians in Jerusalem and says, “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness” (2 Corinthians 8:13-14).
4. Giving Expresses Thankfulness
Giving shows that we are thankful for what we have and therefore are willing to give to others. In the same section as the verse above, Paul states, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11-12).
5. Giving Brings Glory to God
Also in this same section, Paul writes, “By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others” (2 Corinthians 9:13). Your giving may cause the receiver to glorify God.
6. We are Commanded to Give
The Old Testament speaks a lot about giving a tenth of income, or a tithe. In Matthew, Jesus says that he cares more about justice, mercy, and faithfulness than the tithe but doesn’t discount the tithe. I believe that when considering how much to give, the tithe is a good place to start.
7. Giving Can Increase Happiness
Quite a bit of research is being done on the topic of money and happiness. Studies are finding that people actually derive more happiness when they give money away or spend it on others, than when they spend it on themselves. I wouldn’t suggest this be the main reason for giving, but it is pretty interesting.
What about you? What are the reasons that you give? Do you give willingly or reluctantly?
Photo courtesy of R