What’s in a Word? – Giving

Universally, there has never been any shortage of causes to give to. In fact, one can begin to feel oversaturated with the sheer number of things that need sowing into, and it becomes a matter of authenticating and choosing from the many what is most worthy or needful of an individual’s time, talents, focus, and energy.

At the time of writing this, there are more causes than ever vying for people’s support; the spread of COVID-19 created hardships for many, with food, financial, and other needs abounding. Businesses and individuals alike sought help, while charities and relief groups scrambled to raise funds that would meet those desperate needs. Add to that the relief funds for families and businesses who fell victim to a spate of law-enforcement brutality incidents and resulting riots across the USA, and any individual can be left feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to direct their attention and giving.

My encouragement to us all is this: make sure you are giving to a legitimate cause; there are always needs and also always those seeking to take advantage of genuine needs for their own profit. Additionally, if you cannot give money, give where you can! Mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn. Make a grocery run for an immunocompromised friend or family member. Lend your voice to righteousness, promote businesses, lend a listening ear or a crying shoulder, get on your knees in prayer, lead them back to Jesus, spread the Gospel by word of mouth!

Giving and serving, even in these difficult times, is not just a matter of how wide your wallet can open; it’s how far your heart can reach. Giving is an act of worship before our Creator. Give of your time to hear the plight of others, and move however you can, however you feel led by the Lord.

And know that your giving does not go unnoticed.

What is Giving?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines giving as “to make a present of; to commit to another as a trust or responsibility and usually for an expressed reason.”

However, giving goes above and beyond the mere act of imparting a good or resource; it’s an act of support and caring, a testament to what the giver values, even an act of worship when one gives from their heart in support of an organization or cause. It reflects what is considered worthy of parting with one’s resources for, be it a cause, a fund, or even the immediate wellbeing of another.

Like the saying “Put your money where your mouth is,” giving is an action that proves what we truly care about…what we are willing to commit to something/someone in order to aid its/their endurance, growth, or wellbeing.

What Does the Bible Say About Giving?

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Proverbs 19:17 – Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Romans 12:13 – Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

How Should I Handle My Giving? 

A couple of big points made about giving in Scripture are that it’s something encouraged by God, and that it’s something that should be done from the heart, not because someone is pressured or forced to.

The best way to give is: a) to a cause you truly believe in and b) within your means. It’s important that we don’t give to something or someone out of obligation, with a heart of resentment or anger, or under pressure to give beyond what we are able simply because we feel it is expected or even because we want to seem better-off than we are. There were even occasions in the Bible, such as with Ananias and Sapphira in the Book of Acts, where the actions and heart-motives behind a seemingly generous gift made it an unacceptable offering to God. In contrast, in the Gospels of Mark and Luke we see a widow who gives of what little she has, and Jesus praises her for her generosity and heart. What mattered in these cases wasn’t the amount given; it was the heart of the giver.

We, too, want our hearts to be in the right place when we give, so that our giving is a blessing in every possible way. We don’t want to be foolish with how much we give—especially as it can lead to contention, doubt, fear, and harm to one’s life or family if they are irresponsible with their assets. Heartfelt and wise giving is always the greatest blessing to all involved!

There are also ways to give that go beyond financial! You can give of your time, energy, service, prayers, or even with the use of things like social media platforms to support and bring attention to a cause you believe in. Just like with money, these “gifts of service” should not be done under duress or grudgingly,  but cheerfully. If you feel you must give out of obligation, it’s better that you don’t; instead, give out of your cheer and willingness, and this will invite God to bless not only the cause you’re giving to, but you as well!

Take Action!

Is there a cause, need, or even an individual God has placed on your heart to support by giving of your time, prayer, or resources? How can you prioritize that this week?

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