When we as a church examine our giving, we must understand that there is a relationship between faith and giving. As Christ followers, our giving is an expression of our faith. There are three figures in the New Testament that demonstrate poignantly the relationship between faith and giving.
In Luke 21:1-4, we are introduced to the widow who gave all that she had: “As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” Our second example is the Rich Young Ruler. In a conversation with Jesus, he asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Finally, in John 6:9, we meet the young boy with the loaves and fishes. He eagerly offered up his five loaves and two fish but the disciples responded with “what good is that with this huge crowd?”
What do the actions of these three examples say about their faith and where do we see ourselves in these examples? The widow gave all that she had. The rich man could not bear to give up his possessions and therefore missed out on following Jesus. But my favorite is the optimistic young boy, who, scanning the crowd of over 5,000, confidently brings his five loaves and two fish to Jesus and waits expectantly. He doesn’t know what will happen; he just knows that something will!
All three examples speak of a relationship with God. The widow trusted God with everything she had. The rich man couldn’t bring himself to trust in God and the young boy couldn’t wait to see what would come of his trust! Giving and living generously allow us to walk by faith, not by sight. It launches us into a whole new and exciting relationship with God! Our relationship with God and our gratitude for that relationship will impact our desire to release the grip on our finances and allow us to give.
Finally, let’s remember two key verses that speak directly to our giving habits. From 2 Corinthians 9:7, we read “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” And from Philippians 4:19, we read “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
In Christ alone, Mary Butkevich