Giving is not something that we typically enjoy talking about. We are constantly bombarded with requests to give to various non-profit organizations. Therefore, when we go to church the last thing we want to hear from the pastor is a sermon on giving. This feeling of dread that we may have when we think of giving is really exaggerated and unnecessary. Instead, the subject of giving should ignite in us a sense of joy and passion. We don’t have the right attitude toward giving because we are not educated in giving. We do not understand what giving is all about. It is not just about giving money. Giving is so much more and is such a deep spiritual practice that those who fully understand its power is changed in unexpectant and amazing ways. As you go deeper in giving, your relationship with God and with others is enhanced to heights you never dreamed was possible. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” When we truly grasp the art of giving, it will become a thrill rather than a dread.
Any study on giving must begin with a discussion of the character of giving. We must go to the source of where giving originated and that is God Himself. When we think of the character of God there are several things that come to mind.
God is Love. The very first thing we think of when we think of God is the simple fact that God is love. His love is the epitome of His character. It truly describes who God is. 1 John 4:8 clearly states that God is love: “He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is love.” The love that God has for us existed before He even created the world. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore, with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” This great love that God has for us is the very thing that compelled Him to send His Son to die in our place. As John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” God gives because He loves.
God is Holy. The holiness of God is often foreign to our finite minds. It is difficult for the human mind to grasp perfect holiness. How can anyone be perfectly holy and never ever sin? Our struggle to comprehend the holiness of God comes as a result of the curse of sin on our lives. We cannot fathom the scope of His holiness due to our corrupt and depraved heart that hinders our ability to understand and to be holy ourselves. God is perfect in every way. He has never nor will He ever do anything that is wrong. There is no one like God. There is no one that can even come close to His holiness. He is pure and clean. There is no corrupt thing in Him whatsoever. Yet, the Bible instructs us to be holy as He is holy. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” According to some of the best manuscripts, this verse is actually future imperative. A more proper rendering of this verse may be, “You will be holy…” We know we can never achieve complete holiness in this life. However, God has made a way so that one day we will be made to be just like Jesus, and we will truly be holy as He is holy. Yet, we are called to strive for holiness in this life. We are called to practice holy living. Though we may not be holy yet ourselves, God is holy. He always has been and always will be. Since God is holy and perfect in every way He is, therefore, perfect in giving. God gives because He is holy.
God is Just. When we say that God is just, we are saying that God is always right, and He is always fair. God never does the wrong thing or makes a wrong decision. He is right in everything that He does. Isaiah 45:21 says, “……. and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.” God always acts justly. He is never wrong in His judgement. It is out of a just heart that God has compassion on us and gives us more than we deserve. God gives because He is just.
God is Merciful. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve. There is no greater gift that can be given than the gift of mercy. Every morning we wake up is a gift from God. We deserve death. We deserve hell. However, God in His great love for us gives us mercy. God gives because He is merciful.
How does the character of God relate to our giving? The Bible is very clear that at the moment you receive God’s gift of grace and accept Jesus as your Savior, you are indwelled with the Holy Spirit. As a result of the indwelling of the Spirit you are one with Christ. Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him….” Everything that God the Father is, Jesus is. He is the embodiment of the very essence of God. Those who are born again are complete in Christ. Meaning that all that Jesus is, so is the born-again believer. Therefore, the character of God is to be revealed in and through us. Just as God we are to be love, holy, just, and merciful. God gives out of His character. Therefore, the closer we are to God, the more like Him we will be, and the more giving we will be. Giving is directly tied to our closeness with God. What we give, how we give, the way we give, why we give; it is all dependent on our closeness with God. The more His character becomes our character, the more true and right our giving will be. It is not just in the quantity of our giving, rather, it is the quality of our giving. The quality of our giving increases the closer we are to Him. You see, God is not interested in your gifts until He has you. Does God have you? Do you know Him personally? Are you growing closer to Him each day? Is His character, your character?