Joy-Full Giving

[NOTE:  This teaching was originally presented on September 26, 2021, as my Sunday morning message to the congregation of the local church I attend; you may view the message by going to mydestinyfamily/messages, or view it on Youtube.]  

Can you believe this statement from the Bible?:  “…God loves a cheerful giver.”  Or, as another translation states:  “…God loves hilarious generosity!”  C’mon, what normal, logical, rational person believes that sort of thing?  Well, my wife and I do!  We love giving money to God generously and cheerfully.  We realize this puts us in a minority group of people who cheerfully and generously give money to God; we love giving money to God when He asks us to, and then clearly directs us in our giving!

This message I shared on a Sunday morning with our local church congregation was not a typical message by a Pastor or by someone from a church’s Finance Committee attempting to raise funds for a project or to persuade people to give more money to the church.  No, it was not about trying to persuade people to give money to someone, to a church, to a ministry, to a missionary, or to anyone or anything else.  It was definitely not some sort of phony“health and wealth” teaching that has messed up the lives of millions of people in terms of their giving money to God.

But, this teaching based on that Sunday morning message IS about giving money to God.  Period!  How, when, where, and how much money to give to God.  It will a teaching covering a broad overview—a bird’s-eye view—of what the Bible has to say about giving some of God’s money back to Him. If you’re not interested in giving some of God’s money back to Him, reading this teaching will be a complete waste of your time.      

Yes, this teaching is only about giving money to God:  why, how, when, where, and how much.  I hope it will help you learn how to give money to God with pleasure, not from pressure.    It’s also about how to be truly successful and prosperous according to the Bible.  If that doesn’t interest you, reading this teaching really will be a waste of your time.  Honestly!

Also, this is not what some churches typically call a “Stewardship Sunday” message when once a year—usually in the fall—many churches ask people to give financial pledges for the upcoming year.  I just spoke the other day with a person who attends another church here in the city where I live who told me she and her husband dread their church’s upcoming Stewardship Sunday when they’re strongly pressured to pledge a certain amount of money they will give to their church during the upcoming year.  And, if they’re not present at church for Stewardship Sunday, they’ll be contacted in person the following week to sign their annual pledge. 

I won’t be asking you for any sort of pledge.  I tell you this right “up front” to make it easy to read this teaching—so you won’t feel threatened.  There won’t be any surprises—I won’t be asking for money or any pledge at the end my teaching.

Here’s a brief summary of my own history of giving money to God.  I was raised in a pretty typical middle-class family in which God was seldom, if ever, given any attention or mentioned except in cursing.  I rarely visited a church while I was growing up; in fact, I clearly remember only two occasions when I was ever inside a church building; there may have been other occasions that I don’t remember.  I attended Sunday School only once or twice.  In fact, because some neighborhood  children attended a Sunday School at a church near us, my mother felt it would be a good idea for me to attend with them—and gave me some coins to put in the Sunday School offering. 

Instead of going to Sunday School, however, I stopped to play on the playground at our neighborhood elementary school I attended.  When I returned home, I lied to my mother about how much I had enjoyed Sunday School. The next week, I used my Sunday School coins to buy candy.

I do remember thinking something like this when I used those coins to buy candy:  “If God exists, why would He need people to give money to Him?”

I never owned a Bible growing up, and I don’t recall ever looking inside a Bible. 

I joined the military at age 17, and was born again into God’s family at age 18 and decided to become a lifelong follower of Jesus.  Something inside me (God?) told me I needed to attend a church the following Sunday after I invited Jesus into my life; I located a church building that displayed a cross on top of it, although I didn’t know what “brand” of church it was.  I also bought one of those huge family Bibles and began to read it voraciously. 

Also, something (God again?) inside of me told me I should give 10% of my income to God; I had never heard of tithing or giving 10% of one’s income to God, but I chose to obey that “voice” inside me by giving $7.00 that first Sunday I attended church.  I was earning $69.00 a month in the military at that time, and computed that $7.00 was 10% of my earnings.

That Sunday in church I first heard the expression Givers become old and better.  Getters become old and bitter.  I made a quality decision that Sunday morning to be a lifelong giver to God because I didn’t want to grow old and bitter!

Now, here are the first two biblical references I want to examine for this teaching—to sort of set the stage for the remainder of the teaching.

Acts 20: 35 claims that Jesus stated, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   If you disagree with Jesus’s clear statement, take that up with Him, not with me.  We’ve been taught the exact opposite all our lives:  by our families and friends, in our schools, and by our society as a whole; we’ve been taught it is bettter to receive than to give.  Long ago, I chose to believe Jesus!  You must make your own decision whether or not to believe what Jesus said.  Was He lying…exaggerating…or was He stating an undeniable truth?   Do you believe it is more blessed to give than to receive?

I’ll introduce the second key reference by stating this:  If you and I were best friends, and I told you I have something really, really important to tell you—something more important than anything else—because we are good friends, you would probably believe that what I want to tell you is of major importance.  John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, wrote these words:  “Beloved, above everything else I want you to prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.” 

John said that above everything else God wants us to prosper.  A little later in this teaching, I’ll teach what “prosper” means according to the Bible.

Next, I want to refer you to 1 Timothy 6: 10 in the Bible:  “The love of money is the root of all evil.”   That reference from the Bible has been misquoted millions of times by millions of people—thinking it says “Money is the root of all evil.”   No!   Money itself is not the root of all evil; it’s the love, lust or greedy grasping for money that’s the root of all evil, not money itself.

I’ve lived many years on planet earth and have learned much about this world’s systems and its ways—especially about money and how it’s handled and used. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that the love of money truly is the root of all evil—in business, in economics, in politics, in education, in technology, in various “isms” that dominate the world from time to time—including capitalism—and even in religion and the church.  

You do know, don’t you, that millions of people have been killed throughout history because of the greed for money?  Millions have spent their entire lives attempting to accumulate money…only to find they must leave every penny of it behind when they leave this life.   Millions have spent their entire lives trying to take other peoples’ money from them one way or another, and if they get it they want more. 

Now I want to tell you about 3 books that are very important in terms of learning how to properly give money to God.  The first book is the Bible.  The Bible uses the word “money” 800 times, and money or similar words are used over 2,300 times in the Bible!  Money is a major theme of the Bible, not an isolated or minor theme.

The second book I want to mention is one of my books I have written titled LIFEgiving.  In fact, this teaching comes from various sections of my book.  If I could, I would simply give you a free copy of my book…and then you wouldn’t need to study this teaching.  Parenthetically, I do not make any money from the sale of my books; all proceeds go into a special fund our ministry uses for various giving purposes.

Before mentioning the third book, I’ll share this brief background to the book.  In 1947, from the rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma, a young, unknown Pastor burst on the world scene with a fresh, renewed message about healing that had been lost for centuries.  But that young Pastor also brought to the world a renewed teaching about giving money to God that Jesus and Paul taught—a message that had been overlooked and forgotten for centuries as religious leaders demanded and sometimes forced people to give money to God—teaching people that they owed money to God as a debt they had to pay Him. 

That young man was Oral Roberts. Oral wrote a little paperback book, Miracle of Seed Faith.    In essence, Oral Roberts wrote that we should give money to God as a seed we sow, not as a debt we owe!  Oral’sbook is so important to my own thinkingthatI have re-read this book every year since the 1970’s just to keep my giving on target. 

All 3 of these books can be purchased at amazon.com.  The third book is out-of-print, but Amazon has many pre-owned copies in good shape.

Now, let’s briefly consider what the Bible says about success and prosperity.  A basic reference for those two subjects is the Old Testament Book of Joshua, chapter one, verses 7 and 8:  “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from the right hand of to the left, that you may have success and prosperity wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you will succeed.”

Without going into a lot of detail about that reference, I will simply define both “success” and “prosperity” from the Bible:

Success is to steadily and consistently move toward accomplishing God’s purposes for my life according to my potential. *   Successis a journey, not a destination.

*Potential consists of three factors:  1.  My God-given skills, abilities, and talents.  2.  My training and education.  3.  My God-given desires

Prosperity is to have enough for my success-journey.

Notice that those definitions do not say anything about money!  Contrast and compare those biblical definitions of success and prosperity with this world’s typical definitions that are all about money.  Incidentally, the opposite of “prosperity” is “poverty.”  Without going into a lot of detail, neither prosperity nor poverty really have anything to do with money; rather, both prosperity and poverty are mindsets—mental and emotional beliefs and feelings.  A person can hold either a prosperity mindset or a poverty mindset, neither really having anything to do with money.  Both prosperity and poverty are “in our heads”!

Next, I want you to turn in your own Bible to three other references about money…before reading any further in this teaching.  The first reference is Deuteronomy 8: 18 in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.  Here’s what it says in most Bibles:  “Remember it’s God who gives you the power to acquire wealth…”  The Message Bible expands that statement in more modern English:  “If you start thinking to yourselves, ‘I did all this.  And all by myself.  I’m rich.  It’s all mine!’  –well, think again.  Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth…”

The second reference is Matthew 6: 19 -21 in the New Testament portion of the Bible:  “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars.  Stockpile treasures in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.  It’s obvious, isn’t it?  The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”  (The Message Translation)

My own view about this reference is that rust, moths, and burglars can be understood in our modern times as periods of economic inflation, depression, and recession.  For my wife and me, if we’re following Jesus’ admonition in this reference, those three economic conditions that affect the world’s systems from time to time will not affect our personal finances—if we obey this statement by Jesus.

The next reference is Philippians 4: 19:  “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.”  (The Message Translation)  It’s important to understand at this point that for centuries scholars and commentators have noted that all humans have 3 basic needs:  food, clothing, and shelter; in most of our modern cultures and societies there are additional needs, too.  Needs are somewhat governed by the society and culture in which we live, varying from culture to culture based on “levels” of life.

We must always understand there are differences between needs and wants; sometimes they are one and the same, but for the most part they are different.  Keep in mind that needs are things we require; wants are things we desire.

The next reference I want us to consider is 1 Corinthians 8: 5 in the New Testament.  To be a successful, joy-full giver, you must first give control of your life to God.  Some people call this surrendering to God or dedicating your entire life to God.  If you are not willing to do that, you will never be a successful giver.  If you and God cooperating together can mutually control your life overall, then God has final control of your life, including your money.  In real life, when a person surrenders to another person, that other person from that moment on has total control of the life of the person who has surrendered.   God wants total control of your entire life, including your money!

Here’s another reference in the Bible that is often quoted and memorized, but often misunderstood.  It’s Psalm 37:  “I don’t get stressed out and fret because of evil doers, and I’m not envious of them.  I trust in God and try to do good; I am joyful about my relationship with God.  I commit my life to God, giving Him all my burdens too heavy for me to carry all by myself.  I quietly rest in my relationship with God.  I wait patiently for God to act on my behalf.  When I do these things, then and only then does He give me the desires of my heart.

  Many people often quote this reference—sometimes over and over as a mantra, but are very disappointed when the mantra doesn’t “work” for them.  Why not?  Because their desires and God’s desires have not blended and become the same. They have simply desired something without ensuring their desire is what God also desires for them.  We humans are often very self-centered and self-absorbed, and desire things without ever determining if those things are what God desires for us too.

For a moment or so, let’s think about money itself.  What is money Money is merely a medium of exchange, a tool, not a goal we feel we must pursue and reach a specific amount at some point in our lives such as when it’s time to retire.  If you have some currency or coins with you right now, I want you to take a look at them.  They’re just paper and metal, often not having any real value except for the value we give them as mediums of exchange for goods and services. 

I must tell you at this point that for many reasons I don’t have time to discuss here, many people are actually threatened by money, feeling it is evil to pursue or accumulate it; we must not allow ourselves to be threatened by money:  it’s just paper and metal.  Money itself is not some evil substance waiting to trap us and ruin our lives.  Because of some false teaching they’re learned along the way, some people honestly feel that it’s actually more holy, more spiritual, or more godly to be poor, to not have much money.  That’s a lie that’s been mistakenly foisted upon people for centuries.  It’s just not true!  Don’t believe it…

Next, I want us to understand that giving to God is about more than money, although this teaching is primarily about giving money to God.  There are actually three areas of most of our lives, portions of which God wants us to give to Him:  our time, our talents, and our treasures (money).  For me, there’s a fourth area:  my teachings.

The next thing I want to bring to your attention in this God’s-eye teaching about giving money to God is a statement Jesus made in Matthew 6: 24 and in Luke 6: 13:  “No person can serve two masters; for either he or she will hate the one and love the other, or else that person will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”

In this reference, Jesus is clearly referring to money.  You see, mammon was the Syrian god of money in those days.  Just about every Syrian household in those days would likely have a little statue or idol somewhere on a shelf in their home that they worshipped:  their god mammon.  Jesus was saying in effect, that people could worship either the one True and Living God…or they could worship the false god of money—mammon, not both.  You must ask yourself:  “Who am I worshipping?”

Now we come to a very crucial matter about giving money to God.  Why give money to God?  God doesn’t need money!  He’s not poor.  He’s not homeless.  He’s not bankrupt.  He’s not begging you to give Him money.  He doesn’t have overdue bills piling up.  He’s not overdrawn on his bank account.  He’s not lost a lot of money on some bad investments.  His investments haven’t decreased in value because of the falling stock market.  No one has broken into his safe deposit box and stolen his stored valuables.  He hasn’t lost his 401k.  No, God doesn’t need money.  If that’s the case, why does God want us to give Him money?

There are many similar references in the Bible, but I want to examine Luke 6: 38 in some detail to attempt to answer the question, “Why does God want us to give money to Him?”

“Give to God constantly and generously and He will constantly and generously give back to you, shaken back and forth and stomped down to make room for more.  He will pour out abundants gifts on you with such an overflowing measure that it will gush out and spill over the top!  Giving, not getting is God’s way.  God will use other people to generously give back to you when you give to Him.  Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of what you will receive back from God.” (Paraphrased from various translations)

It is NOT ungodly, unspiritual, or unholy to expect God to give money back to you after your have freely and joy-fully given money to Him!  Yes, to meet your needs you can expect God to give money back to you in miraculous ways after you have given money to Him.  Luke 6: 38 is simply one representative reference about giving and receiving, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping money.  Multitudes of people have come to believe from mistaken and false teaching that you should never expect money back from God when you give money to Him.  If you believe that or feel that way, you are believing a lie, something you’ve come to believe that’s just not true.  

Here are two other major references about giving and receiving, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping money:  2 Corinthians 8: 1 – 5.  2 Corinthians 9: 1 – 11Myabe you’ve read them before many times, but I encourage you to re-read them once again in the light of Luke 6: 38.  Beginning with Genesis 8: 22 in your Bible, the Bible is replete with hundreds of other references about giving and receiving, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping in terms of giving money to God.

Now let’s take a little time to think about how to give money to God. 

There are 3 would-be “tyrants” who strongly seek to have you give money to God for all the wrong reasons.  Those 3 tyrants are 1.  Emotional appeals.  2.  Urgency.  3.  Overwhelming needs.  Those 3 tyrants will always seek to control your giving money to God, and if you give based solely on those tyrants, they will keep on trying to control your giving…over and over and over and over and over… They will never let up if you give in to their appeals! 

You hear such tyrants on radio, on television on social media, and—unfortunately—even in churches.  Don’t listen to them.  Don’t give in to them.  They will leave you exhausted and—in some cases—even broke and penniless.  I’m sure that each of you has heard of at least one relative or friend who has become bankrupt by giving money based on one or all three of those 3 tyrants.  Maybe you have lost money by yielding to such tyrants…

Instead of giving in to those three tyrants, here are three simple principles to follow about giving money to God:  1.  Ask God.  2.  If God says, “No,” that’s it—no guilt.  However, if God says “Yes,” then ask Him “How much?”  3.  Obey Him!  My wife and I—and many of our friends and acquaintances—have followed these three simple principles for many years.

At this point many people falter a little because they have not been properly taught that God “speaks” to people, answering them if they ask Him such questions.  God does speak.  He does answer.  Here’s how…  There are five principal ways God speaks to people; God is certainly not limited to speaking in only these five ways, but time, practice, and experience have taught many people these are the five principal ways God speaks to humans:

One:  Through the Bible. 

Two: By God implanting and imbedding his thoughts into our thoughts; we have to learn by experience and practice to determine which are God’s thoughts and which are our thoughts. 

Three:  By dreams, images, visions, pictures, etc., on the “viewing screens” of our spirits; also, God speaks to us through our creative imaginations. 

Four:  By gentle, but persistent nudgings, and urgings that just will not go away. 

Five:  By means of speaking or praying in tongues, and then immediately thereafter interpreting in our native language what we have just spoken in tongues.

In this teaching, I have attempted to give you a broad overview—a bird’s-eye view—of what the Bible teaches about giving money to God.  I have given you only a few key Bible references about giving to God.  There are literally thousands more biblical references about the subject.  I hope that if you have really taken to heart the few references I have given you, that from now on God will open your eyes to see all the other references—as you read and study your Bible about cheerfully and generously giving money to God for the right reasons.

I conclude this teaching by praying above all things that you will enjoy true success and genuine prosperity for your life journey wherever it takes you.  I pray you will enjoy true success and prosperity depending on how and why you choose to give money to God, your attitude when you give, and your willingness to receive back from God after you’ve given.

Before I close this teaching, I invite you to read a companion teaching on this website titled Acres of Diamonds.  I won’t tell you much about it except to say that it’s an intriguing true story about giving money to God, about genuine success and prosperity, and miraculous ways in which God sometimes gives money back to people.  

Finally, I encourage you to purchase my book, LIFEgiving, for much more information and teaching about giving money to God; remember I don’t personally receive any income from the sale of my books.

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Leservices38@yahoo.com

First Posted October 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s