The Worship of Giving
- Gwen Smith www.GwenSmith.net
- 2015 26 Oct
Acts 4:32 (NIV): All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” My husband Brad and I used to joke that this was the unspoken motto of our kids when they were little. Toddlers have no qualms about grabbing a toy, snack, or any random item of interest from other people or pets. It’s rare to see a child share her cherished possessions generously.
It can be hard for you and me to share too. Today’s media bombards us with marketing campaigns that tell us we are the center of the universe. “You, you, you, you, you!” Time and time again we hear that this life is all about us. The more we have, the happier we’ll be. The bigger that bank account, the more blessed the life. I sincerely hope that none of us actually buy these lies. They’re dangerous deceptions.
We all have a sharing problem to some degree, don’t we? Sometimes we don’t want to share our time or our space. Sometimes we don’t want to share our loved ones or our gifts. Sometimes we don’t want to share our resources. Sometimes we just want to be left to ourselves and don’t want to share anything!
God calls each of us to share. The early New Testament church shows us that generous living honors God and blesses others. In Acts 4:32-37; we see an amazing snapshot of generous giving in the early church. The believers were one in heart and mind. They were supernaturally unified to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and you could not find a needy person among them. What a model!
Giving wasn’t political. It wasn’t mandatory. It wasn’t done begrudgingly.
“…They shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32).
“The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 11:29-30).
“But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving. … For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have” (I Corinthians 8:7,12).
The resources of the believers were God’s, and they knew it. They placed what they had before the leaders in selfless acts of worship … for the glory of God and the provision of others. This principle is very important, but it’s also very counter-cultural.
The Bible clearly reveals that true life, a blessed life, an abundant life, a purposed life, is, in fact, all about God. What we have, have given birth to, or hold onto is really not our own. It’s just on loan to us for a breath of a moment by our more-than-generous Creator. Each day brings us new opportunities to be good stewards.
Let’s face it; it’s just not always easy or natural to be generous. Perhaps we have been taken advantage of or we’ve been hurt by another’s deception. There are risks to giving.
The generous giving of the early church blessed the lives of their people. When we share what we have, God is honored and needs are met. The risks are worth taking.
I’m not suggesting a Robin Hood philosophy of “take from the rich and give to the poor.” And I don’t believe in the politics of communism or socialism. This principle of generous giving is Biblical. It’s an act of worship to God. It matters to God, and it should matter to us.
We need to reject the toddler mentality of “what’s mine is mine.” God loves a cheerful giver. We are blessed to give. Tell God today: “Lord, what’s mine is Yours. Use it for Your glory!”
Dear Lord, thank You for this reminder from Your Word. You are amazingly lavish in Your love for me, and You have given me so much. All I have is Yours. Please help me to excel in the grace and worship of giving. Open my eyes to opportunities to bless others for Your glory.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you feel about your possessions?
Have you shared generously lately?
Is God bringing anyone to your mind that could use your help or generosity?
Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Hey friend. I know that this is a sensitive subject to some of you. Maybe your husband won’t tithe. Perhaps you don’t even know how you will pay your rent this month. God knows your heart. He loves you greatly. Remember, giving isn’t always about money. We can give in many ways; service, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a dinner to a new mom, or time spent with an elderly friend. Now … go bless someone today!
Gwen Smith is the author of Broken into Beautiful and a co-author of Trusting God, A Girlfriends in God Faith Adventure. Connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic and Tweet with her at www.twitter.com/GwenSmithMusic.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Chinnapong