H.G. Wells, famous historian and philosopher, said at age 61: “I have no peace. All life is at the end of the tether.” The poet Byron said, “My days are in yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of life are gone, the worm and the canker, and the grief are mine alone.” The literary genius Thoreau said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nations, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: “I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day.”
So many people live their lives with absolutely no purpose. They go about their day and go through their routines without any rhyme or reason. This makes life bland and uneventful. It makes life a bore and leads to depression. However, those who live their lives with purpose are much different. They do not look at the mundane daily tasks as a chore. They look at it as opportunities to grow and better themselves and to impact others. Those who live with purpose are filled with joy and excitement.
We live in a day when everyone is asking the ‘why’ question. Years ago, we never really asked ‘why.’ We just simply obeyed. We did what we did because it was engrained in us. However, today’s generation does not have that same concept of obedience. They want to know ‘why’ we should do what we do or ‘why’ we believe what we believe. I don’t know if it is because they are smarter or just disrespectful and untrusting. Either way, we have a responsibility to answer those ‘why’ questions. However, we cannot answer those ‘why’ questions until we know ‘why’ ourselves. So, the question for us to consider when it comes to giving is: ‘why’. What is the purpose of giving?
The Doxological Purpose. Webster’s Dictionary says: “Doxology passed into English from Medieval Latin doxologia, which in turn comes from the Greek term doxa, meaning “opinion” or “glory,” and the suffix -logia, which refers to oral or written expression.” Simply put, doxology is an offer of praise to God. There is a fundamental doctrinal understanding held to by most Bible scholars that is referred to as the doxological purpose of God. This is the basic understanding that all that we are and all that we do is for the glory of God. Essentially, we were created for His glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” In the context of this passage the Apostle Paul is dealing with the issue of eating meat that has been offered to idols. Paul explains the need to be careful not to violate one’s conscience or the conscience of another. In that context, Paul explains that whatever we do in life we are to do it for the glory of God. The book of Ecclesiastes is a fantastic book that describes Solomon’s quest to find meaning in life. He comes to a conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13 where he says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” The sole purpose of mankind is to worship God and to obey Him. We were created for the glory of God. This is our purpose. When you live with a doxological purpose you will be that one who finds meaning in life and lives with joy and exercises a giving spirit.
The Ecclesiastical Purpose. Another purpose of giving has to do with the church. As part of a local church we have a responsibility to contribute to the work of the church by giving of our time, talents, and treasure. It is our investment in the local church that God’s purpose for the church in winning the lost, developing disciples, sending missionaries, and helping those in need is fulfilled. Since in this dispensation of time the local church is the vehicle through which God carries out His purposes in the world, it is logical that we invest much into the work of the local church. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse….” Though this is an Old Testament passage, the principle and the intent certainly applies to us today. The storehouse can be looked at as the church house. We are to bring our tithes to the church and give according as God has enabled us as an investment into the work of the local church.
The Servitude Purpose. Consider Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Paul in this passage encourages believers to present themselves as a living sacrifice to God. To be a living sacrifice is to have an attitude of servitude and commit yourself whole heartedly to serving the Lord. We are to present ourselves to the Lord as a clean vessel that is set apart from the world and set unto His purposes. Such a sacrifice is acceptable to God. It causes God’s favor to be upon us. This is the reasonable thing for us to do. After all that Jesus has done for us and the sacrifice He has made, the reasonable thing for us to do is to give of ourselves to Him.
The Kingdom Principle. As believers in Christ, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God. As citizens of God’s Kingdom we are living on God’s earth that He created. However, this planet is under occupation from the enemy. Satan currently rules this earth. One day, Jesus will return and establish His Kingdom and be restored as the rightful ruler. In the meantime, believers in Christ are called to be ambassadors of God’s Kingdom to this world. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” In verse 19 of the same chapter we read that we have been given the “ministry of reconciliation.” As ambassadors of Jesus Christ to this world our responsibility is to reconcile the world to God through Jesus Christ. Our whole purpose for living in this age is to bring as many people possible into the Kingdom of God. We are called to Kingdom work. Therefore, we give of our time, talents, and treasure for the sake of the Kingdom. Everything we do is not for us or for our own advancement, it is all for the Kingdom. When we give our time to serve the Lord, we are advancing the Kingdom. When we give of our talents to the work of the Lord, we are advancing the Kingdom. When we give our tithes and offerings as an investment in the local church, we are advancing the Kingdom.
The purpose of giving is not to serve our own ideas or to support our ego. The purpose of giving is to do all for the glory of God, to engage in the work of the church, to serve the Lord with everything that is about us, and to represent and advance the Kingdom of God in this world.