Give What You Have

One of the most inspiring verses on the topic of giving is found in 2 Corinthians 8:1-2. In it Paul is talking about the churches of Macedonia and he says, “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.” In other words, Paul is commending the church at Macedonia because even in affliction and poverty they gave with liberality. They did not wait to become rich to give. They gave in their poverty and had an abundance of joy in doing it.

I so often hear people make comments like, “When I get out of debt I am going to give,” or “I am believing God for great wealth so that I can give a lot,” or “If I had more to give I would give it.” I always think to myself, “No, you wouldn’t and you won’t.” It is funny but no matter how much money you have, there will always be something else fighting for that money. People buy bigger houses and better cars and life just seems to demand more money and before you know it you have only the same amount to give as when your income was less. I firmly believe, if you won’t give right now where you are, you never will. You will still be making the same excuses no matter how much money you have.

The church in Macedonia didn’t wait for their “ship to come in”. The Bible said that they gave right in the middle of their poverty and affliction and they gave with joy and liberality. Don’t let your current circumstances keep you from being a giver. When you see a need and you feel the Holy Spirit prompting your heart to give, don’t look at your circumstances and think that if you only had more you would give. First of all, there is no faith in that. Secondly, you are lying to yourself to make yourself feel better about disobedience. If you won’t give right now when the Holy Spirit is prompting you, you won’t give later. So instead of making excuses, ask the Lord how He wants you to give and how much. As I have talked about in my blog “Seed for the Sower”, God will even provide the seed for you to sow if you have a willing heart to respond to His prompting.

Part of experiencing the joy of life as a giver is just trusting your heavenly Father and listening for His leading. It is so fun when He leads you because your gift is always more than just what it seems on surface. Sometimes your check in the mail to a friend in need is the Lord speaking to them that He has them and everything is going to be OK. Sometimes you bringing diapers to a single Mom is the their answer to desperate prayers. You never know the incredible impact you might have when you follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Now I do want to caution you that I am not telling you to give what you don’t have. 2 Corinthians 8:12 says that “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” We do not give what we don’t have and that is not what God is asking you. In fact, many people are tempted to give what they do not have by putting on their credit cards. Churches even offer the opportunity to give by credit card. This can be a great convenience but it can also be a horrible trap. If you don’t have the cash to pay off that card immediately, do not give on credit card. This is absolutely NOT God’s heart for you and it is not Him telling you to do it. Don’t be manipulated into “giving” on credit.

Also, do not give on speculation. This is such a dangerous trend. People promise to give when “this business deal comes in”, or “only cash this check when I call you.” I just want to tell you that giving like this is a blessing to no one. Your “gift” will become a noose around your neck which you will always feel the pressure from, and it will also become source of frustration and disappointment for the person you are trying to bless. They can’t pay their bills with a promise, and it can even stop their active faith because they think that God has already answered their need through you. You may have wonderful intentions, but it profits them nothing to know about it now.

Rather wait until you have the money in hand and then give them the gift with no waiting, and no strings attached. Speculative giving can mess up relationships in a horrible way, so don’t do it. If the Lord prompts you to give and it is on money that is still coming in, then keep your mouth shut and wait in patience until the Lord brings that money in. In fact Matthew 6 says it is better to do the whole thing in secret and not even let them know that it was you giving. I think it is our pride that makes us want to prematurely “announce” that we will be giving. Just give when you have it. You don’t have to announce everything the Lord tells you to do, just keep it in your heart, write it down if you need to, and then give according to “what you have, not according to what you don’t have.”

That simplifies it a lot doesn’t it? It really boils down to a relationship with God that includes talking to Him about finances. He really loves the topic of finances. Did you know that there are over 2,350 verses in the Bible that deal with money?! I think that is because finances have such a huge influence over our lives. I believe one of the best ways to determine the nature of that influence is through giving. Giving keeps you from hoarding and from setting your heart on money. It is powerful in your life. So give with joy today and with liberality. Give what you have. But most importantly, give what the Holy Spirit prompts you to give, and give it in His timing. It is truly amazing how big a plant can grow from a tiny seed planted with purpose and in the perfect season.