21 Day Spiritual Journey - Week 3
WEEK 3 GIVING
Why God Asks Us to Give
God’s greatest sacrifice to you is the gift of his only son, Jesus Christ. You can never repay God for the life of his son. What you can do is yield your heart to his will and sacrificially give as he blesses you. Your sacrifice is an act of worship to a holy God. How you give shows God how deeply you are willing to trust him with caring for you.
When you hear the word sacrifice as it relates to giving it is not from a negative place. One definition of sacrifice is an expense. If you think of giving to ministry as a normal expense to being a believer you will include it along with your other expenses. Giving is not the only sacrifice expected as a believer. You, in a genuine relationship with God will bring a sacrifice of praise (Romans 1:33); your entire body and life as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1); and finally the sacrifice of doing good to everybody even your enemies (Romans 12:20). All of these sacrifices are pleasing to God.
For the purpose of this devotional, I will stick with the sacrifice of financial giving.
Week 3 Day 1
2 Corinthians 9:6,(KJV), “…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: This giving concept is not any different than reaping what you sow spiritually found in Galatians 6:7. Sowing spiritually will reap spiritual rewards, but sowing physically will reap both spiritual and physical rewards. When you are giving you must take into consideration of what you are expecting from your seed. If you only want a small return then continue to give in small increments.
Here is the secret. God always multiplies what you give. Giving on a larger and larger scale is always possible because as your reaping increases so should your sowing. If you keep ROI in perspective, you will give more because God will always return more than you have sown. It is similar to the stock market except for one thing: God’s market guarantees a return. You will never lose.
Week 3 Day 2
2 Corinthians9:7 (ESV), “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: You may not plan how you are going to praise God when you come into his presence, but you should prepare how you will give financially. If you prepare what you have purposed in your heart then offering time will flow seamlessly from your time of sacrificial praise and hearing the word preached; or starts your time of worship when entering a gathering. It will not matter the time because you will be prepared in advance.
When you are not sowing from a grateful and generous heart you will naturally be reluctant and feel compelled to give because you are being asked. Those believers who are seeking God in advance about what to give will always be cheerful givers. The decision in your heart will always be carried to good ground because it is coming from a generous heart that was prepared to give.
Week 3 Day 3
2 Corinthians 9:8 (KJV), “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: This verse follows verses about the size of your sacrifice and the preparation of your heart in giving. The answer to both of these positions and actions is not just a ROI of finances but the additional reward of favor to rest on you as you increase in all your ministerial endeavors.
Who would not tap into this inexplicable way of worshipping God? No career, investment, or gift is assured to continue to bring you increase. It does not matter where you start, the level of your faith or amount of your personal sacrifice in comparison to others; the end result is an increase in your ministry engagement.
Week 3 Day 4
2 Corinthians 9:10 (ESV), “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: God is the supplier of your financial seed. But, he not only gives you financial seed enabling you to give, in addition he supplies food for you to eat. God does not expect you to take your grocery money and give it as a sacrifice. He knows what you need before you ask. You have the choice to just live on what he feeds you or you can increase by sowing the financial seed he gives you to sow.
There will be times that God will ask you to give alms. An example is the widow of Zarephath in I Kings. During a famine she fed the prophet Elijah from her last before she and her son ate. But, in the everyday act of giving you will see the seed in advance. In the widow’s case, the seed to live on came after she gave. She, her son and the prophet ate to the full throughout the famine.
Unfortunately, there has been some misunderstanding about food to eat and seed to sow; many have also eaten the seed that was for sowing. That keeps the believer in a place of always needing. If you can purposely separate the two seeds you will be increased on a spiritual level. This new level of righteousness will automatically put you in the category of one who is a generous giver because you will over and over again experience the rewards of your giving.
Week 3 Day 5
2 Corinthians 9:11 (ESV), “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: In the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 9 Paul is encouraging the church at Corinth to prepare the gift they have promised to send to the church at Macedonia. Paul wants to ensure that the gift is prepared before the deacons come to pick it up.
At the end of the urging to prepare the gift, Paul adds that the Corinthians will be increased to be more generous and the Macedonians will give more thanksgiving to God for the ministry done toward them.
Every time you give God rewards you in every area of your life. The more you give the more you have to give; your spirituality will increase and the grace to do more ministries will be multiplied toward you. Your heart is being groomed for total generosity just for your willingness to give towards the expansion of God’s Kingdom.
Week 3 Day 6
Hebrews 13:16 (NIV), “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: As a believer you have a natural propensity to want to please God. That will always be your ultimate goal. The greatest sacrifice in worship is a heart towards God and second what you give in unity with other believers.
Here in Hebrews the writer is speaking forth what God would want from you. Doing good is not talking about a perfect life, but one that desires to treat others well by sharing what you have. Why continue to struggle to be perfect or to create ways to bring God joy, when His request is simple. Having a spirit of generosity towards others and seeking to do good by willingly sacrificing out of what you have are what pleases God.
Week 3 Day 7
Proverbs 11:24-25 (ESV), “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Anthony Murray Commentary: Each one of the couplets in the above verses is powerful in and of itself. The mystery of giving in the Kingdom is that the more you give, the richer you will become. That is not what the world teaches. When you hold under the guise of having more it only leads to the opposite, you remain in lack. If you are someone who blesses, you cannot keep blessings from coming your way. Bringing increase to others cannot keep it from coming back to you. All of this leads to an authoritative way of living under the umbrella of God’s giving way.
Sacrificial giving operates completely opposite than what you will learn in the world. Saving your own life is the theme of the day along with every person for them self. But this scripture tells us that this kind of thinking leads to more need and not increase.
You want and need more you must be willing to sacrifice. You can never repay God for the sacrifice of sending his son. The closest you can get is just what God requires, and that is a heart for God’s will to be done on earth and a willingness to assist getting that done by way of your sacrifice from what you have.