I’m not asking where you give, how much you give, or how often you give. Like so many things in life, the “why” is the most important factor in our giving. It impacts the “how,” “how much,” and so much more. Whether we’re talking about money or time or anything else, it’s important that we evaluate the “why.” It’s likely the same reason, across the board.
God Sees Our Hearts
While God doesn’t want us drawing attention to our giving to receive praise from other people (Matthew 6:3), He sees what we give. And what we hold back. And what’s in our hearts when we do give (Psa. 44:21). He also sees us when we want to give but can’t. The same God who knows how many hairs are on your head knows how many dollars are in your bank account (Matt. 10:30).
The right-hearted believer will give “as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Like the early Christians mentioned in Acts 4, we’ll selflessly give toward the needs of others, too. In our culture, we often see luxuries and “extras” as necessities instead of considering the extreme poverty of others across the globe, or even our own cities. God sees our hearts, whether we’re covetously enamored with buying more stuff or impressing others, or whether we’re truly living with others at the forefront and with eternity in view (Matt. 6:19, Luke 12:18).
God Requires Faith
While a cursory reading of Luke 18 might lead one to believe that selling all of one’s possessions is required for entrance into Heaven, we must remember that as God, Christ saw the young man’s heart. The man was obviously unwilling to let go of his possessions in order to follow Christ. And that’s the crux: We must value Him above all else. Matthew 10:37 makes that clear: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” By his question and theoretical request, Jesus brought out the money-loving heart of the young man.
What does loving Jesus more than money or family or anything else require? Faith. Faith that His Word is true, when He promises abundant blessings in exchange for what seems like sacrifice (Mark 10:28-30). Faith that there’s more than your health, your family, your bank account, or your life here on earth (Hebrews 11). In the end, God requires faith, not money, to gain entrance into His Heaven, and our attitude about money is an indication of our faith (Eph. 2:8).
God Requires Obedience
If we’re giving only because God sees us and requires faith from us, we’re still missing out. The most important factor of the “why” of giving is that God requires obedience. The root of our obedience is based on our love for Him. (“If you love me, you will obey My commandments.”) God asks us to love Him with our All, and our strength is often our tangible resources. The widow in the Scriptures gave her All; the 2 and 5 Talent Stewards gave their All. God is calling each of us to give Him our All and to cut loose our deadlock grip on the core of what we consider our earthly strength: our wallets and our bank accounts. The resources which we so insistently call “Ours” are really merely on loan from God for us to demonstrate the type of resource stewards we will be.
God sees our hearts as we choose how and when to give. He requires faith that we believe in His promises to provide for our needs and to bless our generosity. He calls us to obedience in giving and to give from our love for Him. It is up to us to come back to our first Love and take our joy in giving back.