In This Season of Giving Remember to Give Biblically
Updated: Jan 5, 2020
As we move into the Christmas season—the season of giving—it is important for Christians to remember to give Biblically. Biblical giving does not require you to log on to the Internet or even set foot in a shopping mall. Rather, giving in the Biblical sense is about serving others with no expectation of receiving anything in return. You might give of your time, expertise, assistance, money, or any number of other assets. When you give to others in need, you are engaging in Biblical giving. The best way to keep Christmas from becoming a crass commercial enterprise for your family is to set an example of spending the yuletide season giving of yourself.
Giving is a fundamental part of your daily walk with the Lord. It is a tangible way to carry out the second part of the Greatest Commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. Of course, before we can obey the second part of the Greatest Commandment, we must be willing to obey the first part: loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Only when we love God in this way are we able to give of ourselves to help our neighbors. And remember, all of God’s children who are in need qualify as our neighbors.
People often think of giving only in monetary terms. I don’t wish to disparage financial giving; it is important. Often money is what’s needed most by those in need and the charitable organizations that serve them. But donating money is not the only way to give. In fact, in some cases it’s not even the best way. Before going further into the concept of giving, let me make an important point about money. As Christians we should never donate money as a way to avoid giving our time, expertise, or assistance. Nor should we write a check in lieu of rolling up our sleeves and getting involved in worthwhile charity projects. If you see someone struggling to change a flat tire, what they need is your assistance not your money.
Here are a few examples of giving that don’t involve money, at least not directly:
A student who is good at math gives to students who aren’t by tutoring them and assisting with their homework.
A mechanic gives by making car repairs for people who cannot afford them.
A physician gives by using his vacation every year for medical missionary trips.
An accountant volunteers to help elderly patients in nursing homes file their tax returns.
A chef volunteers his services one night a week to prepare gourmet meals for residents of a local homeless shelter.
A florist creates bouquets and donates them to patients in the local hospital.
A lawyer provides pro bono legal services to poor people who cannot afford an attorney.
A retired general helps military veterans assimilate into civilian society and find jobs.
A carpenter who lives in Florida volunteers to help repair houses damaged in hurricanes.
A teenager spends Saturdays in the summer as a volunteer lifeguard at a local pool.
The list of non-monetary ways to give could go on forever, but what is important is to understand that although giving money appropriately is important, it’s not the only way we can give. God is also pleased when we give of our talents, expertise, time, experience, and other assets he has given us.
The Bible has much to say about giving. The following verses from Scripture will help guide you in making Biblical giving part of your daily walk with the Lord in ways that honor Him and improve the lives of others:
2 CORINTHIANS 9:7. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
PROVERBS 3:9. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.”
PROVERBS 11:25. “Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will be watered himself.”
LESSONS FROM SCRIPTURE FOR YOUR DAILY WALK
I have witnessed Christians giving the minimum to their churches or to charities, and doing so out of obligation as if checking off a box they would rather not be bothered with. But as 2 Corinthians 9:7 teaches, we are to give cheerfully. Giving is not about checking off an obligatory box. Rather, it’s about honoring God and serving His children. Biblical giving is about doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, while expecting nothing in return. However, the Bible does promise that those who give will be blessed in return (Proverbs 11:25).
A final lesson is that what we have is not ours anyway. God gives us the assets we enjoy, and he expects us to give back a portion (Proverbs 3:9). We can give in the form of money, time, expertise, experience, assistance, or in other ways. Preferably, we will give in all of these ways as needs dictate. One other thing to remember is this. No matter how little money you may have, you can always give of yourself. You have much to offer people who are in need—time, expertise, labor, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on—and God is pleased when you give of yourself.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com