The Benefits of Giving
February 5, 2002 ē By Ed Wrather
Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. - Philippians 4:15-16.
Some of the top givers this past year were John D. Hollingsworth who when he died at 83 years of age left an estimated $400 million to several institutions and charities. Lucille Stewart Beeson, who died at the age of 95, bequeathed $161 million to organizations in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Henry Melville Fuller dying at age 87, left a large portion of his $89.68 million estate to several New Hampshire organizations. Herbert Block, who was an editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, died at the age of 91, and gave $53 million to the establishment of a foundation in Washington D.C. Having a giving heart apparently helps many to live a long life.
If we would please God, we must give, because Godís nature is to give. "For God so loved the world that He gaveÖ(John 3:16)." "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)." By giving, we please God as we follow the example of our Lord.
The unconscious thought is that if we give we will have less, and how will we then meet our own needs? As Jimmy Carter says, "When it comes to giving, some people will stop at nothing." I like what Martin Luther said, "I have tried to keep things in my hands and lost them all, but what I have given into Godís hands I still possess." Only through eyes of faith can we see that by giving, we actually bless ourselves, and when we fail to give we are hurting ourselves (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:8-10). As Augustine puts it, "Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; Where your treasure is, there is your heart; Where your heart is, there is your happiness."
When we think of giving, we automatically think of money, but the example of our Lord is that of giving His very life for us that we might have life. Certainly we should give of our money, but we should not hold back ourselves in the process. As Jesus says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21)."
Where is your treasure being stored up?