Question: "Why is giving so emphasized in the Christian faith?"
Answer: Our God is a giving God. He is a God of abundance (John 10:10; James 1:5; Psalm 103:8; Isaiah 55:1-7; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 5:20), and He loves to give. He sacrificed willingly on the cross and then invited us into fullness of life. As His children, we are called to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1). Our generosity in giving is a demonstration of God’s character and a response to what He has done for us.
Christians are a light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). As we become more and more who God has called us to be – more like Him – through the process of sanctification, we reflect God more and more. We become more loving, more gracious, and, yes, more giving. Because God is generous, we are also called to be generous. Generosity not only points others to God, it is an appropriate response to what God has done for us.
“To whom much has been given, much more will be expected.” This has become a common phrase in Western society. Its biblical roots are in Luke 12:48. Because we have been so freely loved, we now love others (John 13:34). Because we have been forgiven, we forgive others (Matthew 18:21-35). Our response to God’s abundance with us is to share that abundance with others. When we appropriately receive God’s generosity, it humbles us. We recognize that we are not worthy of His gift. Out of gratefulness, we become more gracious with others. We begin to learn the heart of God and want to be more like Him.
Generosity has positive effects in human relationships. When one person gives freely to another, the recipient often “passes forward” the gift. In the Christian life, the impetus is much greater. Jesus taught us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Not only does our giving demonstrate God’s character to the world, it results in increased faith for us. When we are willing to give, we declare that our faith does not depend on material possessions. Instead, we show that our faith is in God, who is always faithful to provide (1 Kings 17:7-16).
Christians are giving people, and, in giving, they lose nothing. As Bunyan wrote, “A man there was, tho' some did count him mad, / The more he cast away the more he had.” When we give, we empty ourselves in order to be filled again by God. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
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