“I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” - Philippians 4:18
Giving is worship of God. In the verse above, Paul is comparing the funds sent by the Philippians to the old testament blood sacrifices and is saying it is “acceptable and pleasing to God”. This financial offering and sacrifice of the Philippian church was an act of them worshipping God. The same is true of us when we give sacrificially and joyfully out of obedience to God.
Giving is another godly discipline that we women need to be intentional in. This coordinates with chapter 16 of Barbara Hughes’ book, Disciplines of a Godly Woman and will be my final blog in this series.
Giving is a deep heart issue and goes way beyond allotting God one dime out of every dollar so we can check it off our “Christian to do list”. The Bible has much to say about our money and how we use it - and it should, for we humans are often consumed by this subject. We are told to lay up our treasures in Heaven and not on earth, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21. There is great warning in this verse, we need to heed it and examine ourselves honestly. Where is your heart?
Giving is not something “extra” we do. Nor is it something we do if or when we are able to or only for those who “can afford it.” Putting money in the offertory is not like the whip cream on top of your Christian latte. It is one of the essential ingredients of your latte. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to recognize your drink as coffee. We give to God because that is what those who are called by his name do.
This goes beyond the balance of our bank account. Remember that Jesus was pleased with the poor widow who put “two small copper coins, which makes a penny” into the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44). Others were there “contributing out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty” put in “all she had to live on.” What great faith! There are too many of us acting like the rich people, giving great sums out of our abundance. But those sums are not affecting our lifestyles one bit. We give more, but trust God less. That type of giving lacks faith in God and is not worship.
Paul also praised the Macedonians who “gave beyond their means” for the relief of their fellow saints who were suffering (2 Cor. 8:1-7). Paul said, “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” Inspired by God, those in affliction gave to help others in affliction - what great love, what great faith!
In Exodus 19:5 the Lord says, “all the earth is mine.” Everything we think of as “ours” is truly God’s, yet God has apportioned to each of us a set amount to test us in our faithfulness. Let’s work at being found faithful. Let’s strive to be abundantly generous in every way. Instead of asking ourselves how much we should give to God, maybe we should begin to ask ourselves how much we actually need to keep of what he gives us.
Giving is not reserved for special occasions or for only when serious needs arise. Giving should be a regular and routine spiritual habit we engage in with joy and cheerfulness. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:6-7.
Ladies, let’s worship God with all he has blessed us with.