How to Give Acceptably
Without giving there could be no gospel, no power to save us from the horror of an eternal hell. To provide the gospel God gave, God gave the best, God gave all, for he gave his only begotten and beloved Son to die in our stead: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). God has given, and continues to give abundantly, to make it possible for lost souls to be saved, but if his cause is prosper among men and his eternal purpose to save the lost is to be accomplished, it is also necessary for us to give. Other than through our giving God has provided no way for the support of his work and for the spread of the gospel.
Giving, then, is necessary upon our part because the spread of the kingdom, and the salvation of lost souls are directly dependent upon our liberality. Giving is also necessary because God has commanded us to give: ". . . let each one of you lay by in store as he may prosper." (I Cor. 16:2.) Thus, giving, as all the other commandments, of God, becomes a test of our love for him, for Jesus said "If ye love me, ye will keep mv commandments." (John 14:15.)
Giving within itself, even giving large sums to the church, may not please God, for he has been careful to show in his word that we not only are to give but that we are to give in such way as to be acceptable to him. Notice, then HOW we are to give-
1. We are to give WITH LOVE: "And if I bestow all mv goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing." (I Cor. 13:3.) We would say that any man who gives ALL his goods to feed the poor would indeed be a generous man, but this scripture shows that the greatness of the amount is of little consequence if the gift does not come from a heart of love. We are to give to the Lord, then, because we love him and his cause, because we love the
truth, because we love the souls of men and want all to be saved.
2. We are to give BOUNTIFULLY: "But this I say, he that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully." (2 Cor. 9:6.) Certain scriptures suggest to us that bountifulness in the sight of God is not so much measured by the amount of the gift itself as by the amount the giver has left, as by the sacrifice made in bestowing the gift. In the preceding chapter in 2 Corinthians (8:12). Paul said, "But now complete the doing also; that as there was the readiness to will, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according as a man hath, not according is he hath not. Jesus used the poor widow to show how God measures the amount of the gift: "And he sat down over against the treasury, and beheld how the multitude cast money into the treasury, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which made a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, Verily, I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all they that are casting into the treasury: for they all did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." (Mark 12:41-44.) It is abundantly clear, then, that the man who makes no sacrifice in giving is not giving bountifully, even if the amount of the gift itself should be great.
3. We should give PURPOSEFULLY: "Let each man do according as he hath purposed in heart." (2 Cor. 9:7.) This scripture demands that forethought be given to our giving. It means that our giving is not to be a haphazard, fumbling in the pocket to grab whatever pittance may fall into the hand when the collection plate comes our way. It means that we are to give with purpose in that we have given careful though to our prosperity and to the need of the church.
4. We are to give WILLINGLY AND CHEERFULLY: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7). It is said that a wealthy man gave only the proverbial dollar a Sunday to the church. Some brother reproved him for his robbing God, Offended and angered the wealthy man increased his contribution, but again the brother in a spirit of kindness rebuked him, for though the amount of the contribution might be more in keeping with what it should be, the attitude of the giver was out of harmony with God's will. Wc should give with joy, being so thankful that God has given to us and has made it possible for us in this way to have a part in his great work of saving men from an endless hell.
5. We must give PROPORTIONATELY AND PERIODICALLY : "Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper . . ." ( I Cor. 16:2.) God has never required of man more than he could do, but this passage does demand that we count our blessings, and in proper proportion to the prosperity the Father has bestowed upon us return to him for the necessary support of his cause. 'I'his passage further demands that our giving be with regularity -- "upon the first dav of the week." This passage is an argument in behalf of regular and faithful attendance at worship services. We are to give each first day of the week in keeping with the blessings God has given to us. If we forsake the worship, we do not give. Thus, with every Lord's day service missed we get further and further in arrears with God, our debt grows larger, our status as robbers of God becomes more and more grievous.
We have asked, "We have our obligations to meet ; God wants us to meet our obligations: should we not calculate our prosperity after we have paid all our debts and give in proportion to what we have left, or can spare?" God has always demanded first place in our hearts. The children of Israel were required to give their first fruits to the Lord. What was left belonged to them. God is not responsible for the debts we have placed upon ourselves by our promiscuous installment buying. His part is the first part of our income, and is not to be measured by any pittance that may ne left from our temporal extravagance. More than likely if we gave to him his part first, we would show far greater wisdom in using what is left for meeting our personal obligations. Thus, the one who gives first to the Lord will invariably prove himself to be very successful in the management of his personal financial affairs. "Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these other things shall be added unto YOU." (Matt. 6:33.) "Give, and it shall be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you again." (Luke 6:38.) "And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that Ye, having all sufficiency in everything may abound unto every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8.)
Truth Magazine III:12, pp. 8-9