Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

06/05/2019

Joe Chesser

Fruitland MO

 

Becoming Like God In Our Giving

 

  We all want God to be generous with us. We’ve come to expect it. We’ve been taught that God loves to give abundantly, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” (Luke 6.38). It’s God’s nature to give lavishly: “He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1.8). It’s a part of who He is. “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3.16). God is generous in all kinds of blessings. He is able to “make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9.8). God’s nature is to be generous in giving.

 

  And we love to soak it in. We love that Jesus came to give us abundant life: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”(John 10.10). We love that Jesus encouraged us to “Ask, and you will receive” because the Father knows how to give good gifts: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7.7). We feel confident to pray for more: More money, more protection, more healing, more forgiveness, more time, more peace, more wisdom, more blessings of all kinds. That’s OK, because God wants to bless us abundantly, and He knows how and when to do so for our good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8.28).

 

  But something else God wants us to learn to do, if we haven’t done so yet, is to become like Him in our giving. Just like every other trait of God, He wants us to become like Him in generosity. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6.38).God is not stingy, and He does not want us to be reluctant, skimpy givers. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9.6). God loves it when we purposefully plan to become a willing, cheerful, generous giver: “Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9.7). In fact, that is something God expects us to become. God has promised that the more we learn to be generous in our giving like He is, the more He will enable us: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9.11 NIV)

 

  When our giving comes from a heart that loves God and seeks to be like Him in every way possible, God is honored and enables us to do more than we can imagine. How could the Corinthians give “beyond their ability”? The answer is that when they “gave themselves first to the Lord;” the Lord blessed them to give more than they could on their own. Even extreme poverty didn’t prevent them from giving generously, nor did it prevent God from working through them. Paul tells us about their generosity: “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (2 Corinthians 8.1-5). Generosity is not a matter of abundance but a matter of a heart trying to be like God. 

 

  There is no fear for ourselves in giving generously when we give with the motives of God. There is no reluctance or stinginess when we give with motives of God. There is no selfishness or greed when we give with the motives of God: "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures... Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4.2-4).

 

  Becoming like God in our giving will only result in multiple blessings, blessings we will cherish now and forever as we lay up treasures in heaven: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6.19-21). It’s a win-win, no-brainer offer from God. So, let us examine our giving to see if we have become like God.

 

—Joe Chesser

    Fruitland MO