Do you consider the ability to give (regardless of amount) as a blessing? I think it is fair to say most people struggle with giving in general, let alone see it as a blessing. In contrast Luke quotes Jesus in Acts 20:35 as saying: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Here are three ways giving is a blessing: it is a benefit to us; it is a benefit to others; and thirdly, it can open the door to missional opportunities. The Greek word translated blessing in this passage implies a state of happiness. The kind of state that ought to follow thankfulness, and recognition for what the Lord has done. The beatitudes of Matthew 5 describe the “blessed” state of those who find their identity, purpose, and fulfilment in God. The wisdom literature in the Old Testament frequently advises that a blessed life follows those who love and fear God, and walk in his commandments. And so we give because the Lord has given to us, and not just financially but we give mercy because we have received mercy, we give encouragement for we have been encouraged, and so on.
On the receiving end of our giving is a church, an agency, or a person; but also a story. What story do you have a chance to be part of? Often we are responding to specific needs when we give, which is wonderful. Do you ever ask the Lord whether, or how much, you should give even when you are not aware of specific need? Sometimes Linda and I have been inspired to give when we didn’t know why. So often, on the receiving end is an unfolding story of trial, faith, and triumph that we were blessed to be a part of. The encouragement that comes to those who receive a gift that God has inspired can be life-changing!
Lastly, giving can make a way for mission. In developing nations, missionaries know that sometimes practical, life-giving gifts are necessary just to give the gospel message a hearing. Day-to-day needs are met which nourish the body in the hope God would also open the hearts so they can nourish the soul. Although on a different scale when compared to the poorest of nations, we also have poor, needy, and weak amongst us and the bible commands us to remember those less fortunate amongst us. This is an obvious and common kind of giving for us, but may I ask you to consider developing a giving mentality to even the most fortunate? Why would you do that? Ultimately, all giving is a reflection of the gospel itself: “For God so loved the world he gave…”. And the truth is, all humanity is needy, broken, and destitute before a holy God – even when driving fine cars and living in gracious homes. Giving can humble proud hearts, and always points to God, the giver of “every good and perfect gift.”
Christmas puts giving in the spotlight like no other time of year. Here are some ways you can give and be a blessing:
- Hospitality – consider having a family from your neighbourhood in your home over the holidays
- Encouragement – ask the Lord who might need some encouragement and how you are able to provide it.
- Financial – December is our largest giving month of the year. What about 2019? Is the Lord inspiring you to give something above and beyond for our growing ministry in the upcoming year?
- The needy – We do have needy people in our town and surrounding areas. For our Christmas Eve Service we encourage you to bring non-perishable food for the Ailsa Craig food bank.
These are just a few ways. Our God is a giver by nature, if you ask him how to grow in your giving (and hence your blessing), I know he will faithfully lead and provide!
Missional Action Plan: Who can you bless this week?
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, you have blessed me with the gift of salvation by your son, Jesus Christ. Please make me a blessing this week. Amen.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.