Tag Archives: giving

Committed to Giving – Saturday

Happy are generous people,
because they give some of their food to the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)

The book of Proverbs includes many wise exhortations. It is true that the generous are happy. Why is this the case?

The generosity described in this selection from the book of Proverbs uses a specific illustration: giving some of one’s food to the poor. The happiness granted comes through the sharing of resources. If you look, you’ll find many opportunities to do this. Pack an extra lunch and hand it off to the homeless person you pass on the way to work, or serve at a soup kitchen. But there is a larger principle at work here—that of remembering the poor. Maybe you rarely think about the poor in your community. If so, find ways to help them financially, if not through service.

There is transformative power in giving yourself in the service of others. This kind of giving can be done in many ways. It is likely, for example, that your church has opportunities to serve the homeless and destitute. If it does not, find other churches in your area that engage in this kind of ministry, or start a ministry of your own. These ministries need financial and volunteer support, and you can be blessed by engaging in both.

Lord, give me the courage to serve the poor, and to be generous to all people both through service and through financial giving. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Giving – Friday

Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart.
They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure.
God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:7)

How beautiful is your conception of God? How deeply have you come to know and appreciate the love of Christ? If you haven’t yet seen God as the most magnificent, benevolent, and gracious being in the cosmos, keep looking. The more fully you come to grasp God as revealed in Christ, the more you will grow in your desire to give. You will find “whatever [you] have decided to give in [your] heart” begin to change. You will grow to be a generous person, for we worship a generous God.

This kind of transformation, if it takes hold in your life and in your church, will have manifold results. What would be said of your church in your town if your generosity became widely known? What if your church were made up of “cheerful givers” who gave freely and with concern for the poor? What if your church gladly served the needs of many, and constantly sought to bless others without any expectation of return?

Giving is not simply a matter of obedience, but a matter of witness. It is an act of love for both God and neighbor. It is an evidence of manifold grace.

Lord, help me to be generous with my finances.
Help me to give to those that are in need. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Giving – Thursday

“Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven,
where moth and rust don’t eat them
and where thieves don’t break in and steal them.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:20‑21)

Jesus tells us that we should “collect treasures…in heaven.” We should put our resources toward the eternal. While we should be wise in how we steward our finances today, our ultimate hope is in God.

The hope of Christians is that this life is not all there is, and that though our mortal bodies will one day expire, there will come a day when we will be raised with Christ, clothed in immortality.

Invest in the eternal. Be a good steward of your life, and take the material resources that God gives you and use them in service of the Kingdom. As it is written in Colossians 3, “Set your heart on things above.” When you do so, financial generosity will be a natural outcome, for we worship a God who is generous. If you struggle with the discipline of giving, think deeply concerning how much God in Christ has given for you. God’s action in Christ will melt your heart.

Gracious God, may my financial gifts be given with joy as a blessing to you and to my neighbor that is in need. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Giving – Wednesday

Jesus called his disciples to him and said,
“I assure you that this poor widow has put in more
than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury.”
(Mark 12:43)

There is an unfortunate myth that prevails among many Christian people that the only gifts that can truly make a difference are those that are large, extravagant, and impressive. It is not so. In our reading today, we learn from Jesus that it is not the amount that counts most before God, but the motivation. For gifts large and small, it is the heart that matters most.

Consider the widow. She gave two small coins. The gift was meager, but Jesus was impressed. He knew and understood the sacrifice. He also knew that she gave with a right motivation, unlike so many others. She humbly wished to serve God in her poverty, so that in the giving of the gift she might become rich. We have much to learn from her example.

Give with a humble heart, not to be seen, not to be praised by others, but out of love for God.

Lord God, transform me into a person
who gives generously and with pure heart. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Growing in Charity

Gifts and offerings are very different.

  • Gifts come from our of wealth. “How much can we afford to spend on Christmas presents this year?”
  • Offerings share our feelings of gratitude. “WOW! I get paid for doing this! I want someone to share in my happiness!”

In the story of the widow’s mite, Jesus and his disciples are watching people deposit their gifts and offerings into the temple treasury. Scholars describe this treasury as an inverted trumpet designed to prevent theft. The gifts of the wealthy, several large coins, would have rattled noisily as they bounced down the throat and into the treasury. The widow’s two coins, 1/64 of a typical day laborer’s daily wage, about a $1 in today currency, would have made only a think clink. What might have happened in the widow’s life to merit offering all that she had to the temple?

What has happened in your life recently to merit offering part of your income to furthering God’s work in the world?

Happy are generous people
when they share some of their food with the poor.
— Proverbs 22:9

I will have more to say about Luke 21:1-4 on Sunday, November 15th, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Committed to Giving – Tuesday

“Bring the whole tenth-part to the storage house
so there might be food in my house.
Please test me in this, says the Lord of heavenly forces.
See whether I do not open all the windows of heavens for you
and empty out a blessing until there is enough.”
(Malachi 3:10)

Like the people of Israel, we are called to make sacrifices to God, and to give of our time, talent, and treasure in service to God. Yet often we do not. We are deceived in thinking either that there is not enough, or that God will not provide. So we hold back. We live with a scarcity mentality.

But our Scripture today tells us we need not fear. The challenge is given: “Test me in this.” God has provided you with not only enough, but an abundance. God has provided for you in the past, and will continue to provide. Think of the good that God can do with your gifts, extended with an open hand. You will see that with the giving of the gifts comes a blessing—not necessarily a financial return, but joy in the deep realization that the gifts you have given were first provided for you by God’s grace, and the gifts you release came from an abundance of what you already possessed.

Jesus, may we learn how to open our hands and give freely,
trusting you will give us an abundance as we progress in our discipleship. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Giving – Monday

“You must reserve a tenth-part of whatever your fields produce each year.” (Deuteronomy 14:22)

The Bible is unapologetic in discussing our income, possessions, and generous giving. In the Old Testament, the offering was not determined by a percentage of income but instead consisted of sacrificing a portion of crop and livestock yields. The act of sacrifice had a number of purposes, among them atoning for sin and caring for the poor and oppressed. In the New Testament, the practice of giving continues, described most powerfully in Second Corinthians 8 and 9.

For Christians, financial giving is not an act of righteousness to earn God’s favor. Nor is it an atonement for sins, as though turning over a portion of our money would justify our standing before God. Christ has already done these things! Instead, financial giving is a response of thanksgiving. God has generously given us the gift of life in the Son as preeminent among all other gifts. In light of this, we are able to use our many lesser gifts, including our income, to bless others in the way we have been generously blessed through God’s grace.

Lord, help me to give of my income proportionately,
using the “tenth-part” as a baseline standard. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Giving – Sunday

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world and its inhabitants too. (Psalm 24:1)

The Bible begins with God’s creation of the world. In Genesis 1, God turns the stewardship of the creation over to human beings, who as male and female are created in God’s image. They are to care for and steward the creation, working diligently to bring about its flourishing. They are to do so as God’s representatives, for the earth remains God’s possession, the fruit of God’s labors. The psalmist reminds us of this above: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

The truth of this statement has tremendous implications for our understanding of financial giving. All our possessions are gifts given to us that we are to steward and put to good use. The portion we return to God through the tithe or other special gift is a recognition of the origin of all that we possess. God has graciously provided us with all we have, whether it be financial prosperity, or the health, mental acumen, and diligence that were necessary for us to obtain what we have earned.

Financial giving is a much more inviting proposition when we first declare to God, “It’s all yours!”

Generous God, help me to see all that I have as yours,
whether I have much or little. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.