The following story provides a good illustration for a person with the good character of giving: “Marquis de Lafayette was a French officer who provided invaluable assistance to George Washington and the struggling American army. After the war was over, he returned to France and resumed his life as a farmer of many estates. In 1783, the harvest was a terrible one, and there were many who suffered as a result. Lafayette’s farms were unaffected by the devastating crop failures. One of his workers offered what seemed to be good advice to Lafayette, “The bad harvest has raised the price of wheat. This is the time to sell.” After thinking about the hungry peasants in the surrounding villages, Lafayette disagreed and said, “No, this is the time to give.”” (Daniel Loy)
Giving may not be a very natural human response. In fact, when you think of your own life, it may be that much of what you do is collect, save, and accumulate – for yourself. Giving is a learned habit for the Christian. One of the spiritual gifts in Romans 12 is giving. Romans 12:8 says “…he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Those with the spiritual gift of giving, give far greater than a mere 10%. Along with the call and gift of giving the Lord gives the means to give. The Christian who exercises his spiritual gift of giving will be blessed in material ways because he has been faithful to give to others what God has given to him.
Just because a Christian may not have the “spiritual gift” of giving does not mean that he should not be give. Even those gifted in other areas have a responsibility to God and their local church to be good stewards of the finances God has entrusted to them. Giving is something that is learned. It is a practice that is developed as our faith is developed.
The Lord has much to say in the Bible about giving to spiritual endeavors and the needs of those around us. Here are several examples:
- Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass… Exodus 35:5
- If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Deuteronomy 15:7-8
- Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 2 Corinthians 8:11-12
Perhaps we could be like Marquis de Lafayette, who when confronted with becoming more rich, he chose to give to those in need. After all, in Heaven, the way we use our money – not how much money we have is how the Lord measures our faithfulness as managers and stewards of His provision.