The Benefits of Giving1
If I asked what one subject does the Bible talk about the most, how would you answer? Perhaps you’d say faith, which is mentioned 246 times. Maybe you’d say love, which is mentioned 733 times. But the winner is giving. It’s mentioned a whopping 2285 times…far more than any other subject!
Surprised? You shouldn’t be! Giving is an expression of all other values. When you have faith, you give. When you love, you give. When you’re kind…you give.
Giving helps both the recipient and the giver. There are so many benefits I can’t list them all in this short space. But here are a few to get you started.
First, giving draws me closer to God.
God wants to have a close relationship with you. He’s doing everything he can to establish that relationship. How? He’s always giving! The Bible says…
God gives to all generously…
- James 1:5 (RSV)
Giving is the keystone of any relationship. When I first fell in love with my wife, Kristi, I couldn’t keep money in my pocket! I wanted to spend it all on her! After nearly three decades together, I still enjoy giving her nice things she’ll like.
Love and giving go together. You can give without loving, but it’s impossible to love without giving. That’s because…
“Your heart will be where your treasure is.”
– Matthew 6:21 (NCV)
Next, giving breaks the grip of materialism.
There’s no question we live in a materialistic culture. Materialism is centered on a drive to acquire more. We want more things…better things…new things. This drive makes it difficult to keep our values aligned with God’s values.
By itself, money is neither good nor bad. But we often waste it in ways that don’t benefit us…or anyone else. We try to buy happiness. We use money to support self-destructive behaviors. We leverage it to control other people. When used in these ways, money becomes a liability.
Jesus made it clear,
“You cannot serve both God and money.”
– Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
Every time you give to a person or an organization, you break materialism’s tight grip. It’s a freeing experience. When you give, you regain control. You…not a compulsion…decide what will take first place in your life.
Giving tests your maturity.
How many times have you heard a two-year-old scream “mine!?” No one taught them to be selfish. It’s a natural response. Instead, they have to be taught to share.
As adults we sometimes must relearn the lesson of sharing. We spend a lot of time making money, saving money, investing money, and spending money…all for ourselves. Just like we teach children to share their toys, God teaches us to share our big-people resources.
What’s more, God uses the way we handle wealth to gauge our personal maturity. It’s like a test. Jesus said…
“If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven.”
– Luke 16:11 (NLT)
I don’t know about you, but I want God to consider me capable of handling heavenly riches!
Finally, giving is an investment for eternity!
You’ve probably heard the expression “you can’t take it with you.” That’s true, but you can send it ahead. A “heavenly IRA” is the most solid investment you can make. The returns are “out of this world,” literally and figuratively!
Think about it…money you give to God is protected from market fluctuations and safe from theft. And it pays extravagant dividends! How can you invest? The apostle Paul gave clear instructions:
Tell them to use their money to do good…always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven. It is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful life down here as well.
- 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (TLB)
Givers are some of the happiest people around, but their current satisfaction is nothing compared to the joy they’ll have in Heaven. The Bible bears this out:
“There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”
– Acts 20:35 (GNT)
If you’re not currently a giver, why not start today? And if you are…keep it up. You’re making a difference here and in eternity.