Lessons I've Learned From Giving (Part 1)

In these next two posts I want to share some lessons I've learned about giving. Jenny and I (along with many others at church) have been giving sacrificially to our church's building campaign Courageous Journey. It's not been easy, but it has been extremely rewarding. God has taught me a lot through this experience. Here are five of the lessons I've learned about giving over these last two years.

Lesson 1 - The desire to give starts in the grace of God.
God’s grace is a contagious and exciting reality! I’ve had a front row seat these last two years as I’ve watched God do amazing things at BGCC. This didn’t start with me, the elders, or the staff - it started with God. It has been thrilling to see what God can do through his people when they give.

It wasn't flashy, God’s grace quietly moved in our hearts and we responded to his leading. I imagine this is similar to what happened when Paul shared with some churches about a collection to help those in need in the city of Jerusalem.  He writes in 2 Corinthians 8:1,3b-4 (NRSV), “We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia… they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints.”

Paul will go on to say that the model for giving is to first give yourself to God and then as he leads. Practically this means praying, “God show me how you want me to be generous," and then following through! Don't dismiss this quiet prompting because it might be God's invitation to partner and invest in his kingdom.

If you feel God’s grace moving you to be generous then give it a try. Try giving to your local church. I believe that God wants us all (including the preacher) to give to the local church, because it’s our spiritual family. But, if for some reason you feel like you can’t give to a church (maybe you’ve been burned in the past), then give to another ministry that blesses people in the name of Jesus. Commit to giving for 90 days and see if it doesn’t fan into flames the spark of grace that God has placed in your heart.

Lesson 2 - Giving helps us be more like Jesus. 
People have asked, “Why should I give?” The answer is simple: because God gives, Jesus gives, and we want to be like Jesus. Consider 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NRSV), “For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” Christians step out on faith with sacrificial gifts and commitments because we want to be like Jesus!

Giving helps us be more like Jesus for two reasons, first it follows his example. Second, Jesus said that our hearts follow our treasures. You don’t care about a stock until you buy it; you don’t care about a charity until you give to it. Once you give you find that you want to know, “What’s happening with my money?” You start to care because you put your treasure there! The same thing happens when we give to the church. You might not care that much about what happens at church until you start to give. Then you say, “I’m invested and I want to make sure that this church is the best it can be!” You can invest and give to many things, but when you give to the church you’re investing in God’s kingdom.

Maybe these two lessons could be simply summed up as: give when you feel led, your heart will follow, and your passion for God’s kingdom will grow. These are the first two lessons I learned about giving. Soon I'll post the next three lessons I've learned, those were a bit tougher.

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