FAQ: Why should I give?

By David Flowers | 21 February 2019 | Comments (2)

 

This is going to seem a bit like mum saying “it’s for your own good” as she tips cod-liver oil down your throat - but one of the main reasons for being generous is that: giving is good for you! It may be good for the recipient too, but, believe it or not, you benefit most from being generous. You really do. Here is the main reason why: giving breaks the power of money.

Jesus Christ is famous for saying, ‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.’ (Matthew 6:24). When you choose to follow Jesus you choose a new master. But the old master doesn’t give up control over our lives just like that. Our eyes are often turned as he continues to display his tempting wares. Not least in the realm of money.

The old master uses money to exercise control over us. In our old life we were kept behind bars of false security, fake masks, greed and fear and although the new master, Jesus, has unlocked the cell door we are sometimes hesitant about opening it, walking out and leaving the bars behind.

“Giving” is the view through the bars. Giving flies a flag for freedom. Giving jams opens the cell door and coaxes us out. Giving breaks the power of money.

In a famous speech to graduating students, David Foster Wallace, the post-modern novelist who died in 2008, said, “If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough.” He’s right, because that’s the way the old master manipulated you – perpetual dissatisfaction, subtle envy, safety in numbers. 

Most of us have worshiped money and things: we have given them our attention, we have orientated our lives around them, we have taken our identity from them. And we’ve also found that money is a deeply unsatisfying idol. 

But money is spiritually neutral – it’s what we do with it that gives a crystal-clear indicator of the freedom of our spirit, the health of our soul and what has power in our life.

This is how it goes:

  • We learn about tithing (giving a tenth of our income to our church) from those who disciple us;
  • So we look at our spending plan and realise that if we give - something will have to give!
  • For those with surplus it will mean digging into our security blanket or into the amount we save. To those who are just-about-managing it means letting go of something.
  • The pain you feel at this point of realisation exactly matches the level to which the old master still has influence over you.
  • If you sense yourself drawing back from giving, it’s an indicator that something from the old has a hold on you. An idol is unmasked.
  • You’re being tempted to edge back into the cell, to get behind those bars. And, imprisoned in your desire, your surrender to Jesus is exposed as partial.

So I choose to give. We may still have money troubles, we still have to learn about how to deal with bills and debt and savings. But when I give generously and with joy, the cell door swings open and I can walk in a new freedom where the idols of money and things no longer control me. 

Why should I give? Because giving sets me free. Because giving is good for me. Because giving breaks the power of money.


Read more...

FAQ: How much should I give?

FAQ: What is Biblical stewardship?

 

 

Posted by David Flowers

David Flowers is the pastor of Leeds Vineyard and a director of Flowers McEwan Ltd, a financial planning firm in Leeds. He is learning generosity despite being a Yorkshireman.

http://www.leedsvineyard.org 

comments:

Alison Wale

February 22, 2019 6:16 AM
This is interesting. My problem is that while I want to give more my husband, not a Church goer, is more reluctant.

Or at least, that's what I tell myself...!!!

Chris

February 23, 2019 12:04 PM
David, you're spot on. My greatest challenge in giving came 30 years ago. An organisation that helped people to get out of Iran, came asking for what I regarded as a very large sum of money to help a particular family; and they pressed for an immediate response. I said I needed to pray. The Lord led me straight to Deuteronomy 30:19 which says......

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

I had a simple choice to be obedient or to shrug this off. I had no idea whether the funds would in fact help the family it was supposed to. In did not matter, because the issue I had to face was whether to be obedient or to make up some excuse, such as 'it was just coincidence that I was led to that verse'.

Those asking, got the money; and I and my family have never been in want these past 30 years. That one experience transformed my outlook on giving; and as a by product got us as a family into giving to brothers and sisters in the Lord who are persecuted for following Jesus. They are part of my family and we have a special responsibility for them.

Read Matthew 25: 31-46 if you need some extra motivation! Jesus can be very scary.

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