Giving by faith is meant by God to be an exciting privilege. When you honor and praise God through your commitment and obedience to stewardship, He showers you with joy. He turns your giving into a thrilling adventure in Christian living.
Would you like to enjoy such an experience?
Let me share six steps you can take to appropriate God's abundant blessings through your faithful stewardship.
All that we have, we possess by the grace and gift of God. Everything belongs to Him. The psalmist records, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." God's ownership is eternal and unchanging. He never has given up this right -- and never will.
As Christian stewards we must realize that in Christ "we live and move and have our being." Jesus Christ created us. He bought us with His precious blood. And God anointed Him as our Lord. Thus, the whole of our life -- our personality, influence, material substance, everything -- is His, even our successes.
God has placed in our trust a measure of time, a unique set of talents, and sufficient treasure to carry our His will for our lives. Our task as faithful stewards is to manage those blessings to bring the maximum glory to His name.
The Book of Acts records the words of the Lord Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." I first heard this as a growing boy, then as an agnostic and later as a young Christian. Then, I could not comprehend how giving could be better than receiving. Now that I have been a Christian for many years, I truly understand from my own experience and through observing many others why it is "more blessed to give" than receive.
Giving produces abundance. When you give freely of yourself and of your possessions as a material expression of your spiritual obedience to Christ, God in turn meets your needs abundantly. This is true whether you are rich or poor, whether you serve God in a land that is blessed with great material wealth or in a poverty-stricken part of the world. The apostle Paul records:
If you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much. Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don't force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes. God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more, so that there will not only be enough for your own needs, but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.
For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on, good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest.
Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.
Most Christians have not learned to give, either out of their abundance or out of their poverty, and therefore, are not experiencing the reality of that promise. As a result, they feel unfulfilled and don't understand why.
You can never outgive God. It is a law of God that His blessings back to you always greatly exceed what you give to Him.
The truths of God's holy, inspired Word are universal. The principle of abundant blessing is not just for the rich and famous or for those who live in a land of wealth and opportunity; it is for everyone everywhere who obeys God and follows the principles of blessing given in His Word. I will share more on this later.
Giving begins an endless circle of joy. God gives; you receive. You give; He receives, He then multiplies your gift back to you in the form of additional supply. It is important to remember that God is the one who initiates this process of blessing. The purpose of the return is not just to reward you for giving, thus completing the circle again and again.
Although God owns all the wealth in the universe, few people are willing to share the portion of resources which He has entrusted to them. When someone does begin to give, God releases additional abundance to them so they can give even more. If we break this process on the receiving end of the circle, He is likely to look for someone else whom He can trust and through whom He can channel His blessings. The Book of Proverbs records:
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
My good friend Don Preston considers himself an average person. At the age of twelve, he found his first job working in a small grocery store after school. From the beginning, he gave at least 10 percent of his income to the work of the Lord. Through the years, Don worked hard, and God blessed him abundantly.
Don married young, and he and his wife raised their three children while Don grew in his career. At age 29, after eleven years of managing supermarket meat departments, he began his own wholesale/retail meat business. At that time, he and his wife and children made a family decision to give a t least 15 percent of their $6,000 yearly earnings to the Lord.
God began to increase their income immediately from $6,000 to $21,000, then $37,000, $62,000, $85,000, $100,000 and more a year.
"Fifteen years later we sold the meat business to a larger company, wrapped up our assets in nice, neat investments and went into self-supported Christian ministry for two years," Don says. "We later heard of the evangelistic work of Christian nationals in foreign countries. Their work is flourishing, and it takes little to maintain national families in full time ministry compared to our own -- less than $100 per month in some countries.
"A little fast meat-market math convinced me that I could go back into business, earn money to support these nationals, and multiply myself fifty to one hundred times. By giving $50,000 a year, I could contribute a million dollars to God's work within just twenty years."
With his family's enthusiastic support, Don put aside his plans to join the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ and began instead to pursue this twenty-year course of earning to give. This time around, he and his son started a machinery business in Greenville South Carolina, and true to his commitment, Don began giving away 50 percent of his income, paying 33 percent in taxes and living modestly on the rest.
Things worked out much better than he expected. He fulfilled his million-dollar commitment in just ten years, channeling the bulk of his funds into New Life 2000, a comprehensive plan for world evangelism designed to help reach the millions who have not yet heard about Christ. Don's wife, Virginia, died in 1987. Now he and his second wife, Jeanne, have begun to work on a second million to give to the work of the Lord, and their goal is to find a hundred or more other men and women who will do the same.
God's promise in Proverbs 11:24,25 is for everyone. Whether rich or poor, you, too, can give to receive, to receive to give again. God knows your heart and whether He can trust you to end of the process, as Don Preston emphasizes, on the right word: give.
Permit me to give you a word of caution here. Do not be disappointed if God doesn't provide you with an immediate financial return as He did with Deborah or Don. The various possibilities of Gods' blessings are endless. He may have a different plan for you. God knows your true needs, and you must give Him the freedom to do His very best work in your life. He may give you improved health and strength to do your work. He may lead you to a better job, help you decrease your expenses, or change your spending habits so you can live better on your present income. Or He may teach you to be content with what you have so you can enjoy a greater sense of fulfillment in life. Paul affirms this:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Many Christians misunderstand the meaning of blessing. Like Paul, Job was a man who experienced both prosperity and deprivation. True prosperity is living and giving at the level to which God has called you with all your needs met by His supply.
Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Experience the Joy of Giving, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.
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