Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Vision (10/14/10): Giving As a Means of Grace

Image:  Fellowship at the Keach Conference hosted at CRBC in September.

Note: We are giving special focus to stewardship in the month of October. The following article is written by CRBC Assistant Treasurer Brian Overstreet.

It's too easy to fall into a habit of giving because that is what we're supposed to do. I'll confess that I far too often write my check for tithe and do not really put much thought into it. In fact, I thought that I was doing pretty well by not being a reluctant or grudging giver. Let's consider, however, what the Word says, "...God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). How can one in truth cheerfully give away his possessions? That's like rejoicing because you were counted worthy to suffer (Acts 5:41). It begins by knowing that our possessions are not really ours. Everything we have, even we ourselves, belong to God. We exist only by His generous and gracious provision. He is the sovereign Lord of all creation, and has purposefully positioned each one of us (no matter what one's circumstances may be) so that we can honor and glorify Him with our whole lives, with everything we say and do, and with everything he has given us.

Even if you are in difficult financial circumstances, rejoice in your giving. Jesus said of the widow who gave the two mites, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury” (Mark 12:43). We should never confuse the amount of giving with its value. If you have plenty, rejoice because the Lord has given you the opportunity to give much.

Here are a few suggestions for practical application:
• When you are paid, set aside your tithe before doing other spending (the principle of the "first fruit").

• On Saturday night, prepare your tithe and pray, thanking God that he has provided for you so abundantly that you are able to give back that amount.

• Think and pray about how the Lord will use your tithe for his kingdom work. This is something to really be excited about. God is actually using you to accomplish his kingdom work here on earth! If you meditate and pray in this way, the Lord will increase your love of giving. 2 Corinthians 9:8 goes on to say that "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." Here scripture is telling us that if we have a heart that loves to give, He will provide the ability and the opportunity to do so.

I am not writing primarily to encourage you to increase your giving, although that would be great. However, I do believe that if we are more thankful for what God has given us, as well as more prayerful and cheerful in tithing, God will then increase both the ability and fruitfulness of our giving.

Brian Overstreet

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