10 Guidelines for Giving

Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber-Monday. These days following Thanksgiving have become familiar days known for buying. Getting good deals. And jump-starting the Christmas season.

What may not be as well publicized is today. Giving Tuesday. According to their web page, it is a “global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”

“Since its inaugural year in 2012, #Giving Tuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.”

Giving is good. It’s the nature of God. And it is should be the desire of all Christians. On this global day focused on giving, consider these 10 Scriptural guidelines for giving.

(1) You Can’t give what you don’t have.

The Bible says, “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have” (2Cor. 8:12-13).

We are commanded to provide for our families, pay our debts and fund the operation of government through taxes (1 Tim.5:8; Rom. 13:7-8) There is time in everyone’s life when there is only a little left over to give.

(2) Giving ought to be voluntary.

Regarding our contributions to the Lord, we are directed to give as we have purposed, “not reluctantly or under compulsion” (2Cor 9:7. God doesn’t want a reluctant or resistant giver.

(3) Giving should spring from a joyful heart.

The Bible says that “God loves a cheerful giver.” “Cheerful” is translated form the Greek word hilarous, from which we derive the word hilarious. Giving should we something that we really enjoy doing. A happy heart is a giving heart.

(4) Giving should be according to our ability.

1 Corinthians 16:2 teaches that we should give based on our prosperity. One version says, “in keeping with his income.” Not everyone can give the same amount. Income and ability vary from person to person. In fact, personal prosperity changes in one’s lifetime, and may even vary year to year or month to month.

(5) People should be a priority in giving.

In the Bible there is an emphasis on helping the poor, widows, orphans and those in real need who are vulnerable. (Jas. 1:27; Ax 2:32-37; 6:1-6). Organizations that meet the needs of people deserve our support.

(6) Giving is based on our opportunities.

Our word of the week is opportunity. We all are presented with different opportunities at different times. We don’t always know about a specific need, charity, or organization. And opportunity involves our own financial ability. But “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).

(7) Pressing Needs are a priority in giving.

The Bible instructs, “let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). While every request is linked to a need, not all needs are legitimate, nor are they pressing. It requires some thought, wisdom and discretion to determine what needs are a priority.

(8) Giving should cost us something.

Regarding a sacrifice that King David was going to offer the Lord, he said, “I will not give unto the Lord that which cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24) Regifting is popular today. And probably has its place. But there ought to be a willingness for us to pay the price ourselves. It may cost us in time, effort, energy or money.

(9) Budget your giving.

The Bible speaks of giving based on purpose.(2 Cor 9:7). That suggests planned and principled giving. Is giving in your budget? It’s easy to spend money on our own wants, with little thought for needs of others.

(10) Giving should ultimately glorify God.

All giving and good done by Christians ought to be to God’s glory, not our personal aggrandizement “Do everything to the glory of God” is a good principle to live by (1 Cor 10:31).

Winston Churchill was right when said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” So, today, on #GivingTuesday, look for ways to make your life richer and fuller by giving to a worthy cause you want to support

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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