Giving That Pleases God

I hope you had a chance to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Do you remember when these dates were not named on our calendars?  How did we ever know when to begin shopping for Christmas? Like you, I am sure, my email was flooded for days in advance to these great shopping days.  I was led to believe that I was being given an exclusive sneak peek to the savings that were coming, if I could only hold out to Monday.  Well, Monday has come and gone and the great deals are still out there.  It’s hard to blame the retailers for trying to get as much out of us as possible at this time of year.  This sales season is do or die for most companies.  It did catch my attention this year that not only have the business tapped into this trend, many charities and service organizations have joined in the fun.  After you have spent all you can Friday to Monday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is now known as “Giving Tuesday.” The idea was started back in 2012 to bring awareness to "global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world" The idea has caught on and now my email box is flooded with organizations asking for donations.
I find it telling that we as Americans would place the charitable date after the personal spending date.  Basically, “If you have anything left over after your spending spree please keep us in mind.” Nothing wrong with that. It’s amazing how blessed we are as a nation as total U.S. charitable giving was around $484.85 billion last year.  About half of people this year say they will be able to spend and give the same as last year.
Even with high inflation, we are still the most blessed nation in the world.  I can’t help but make the Biblical comparison when it comes to giving.  God actually commands His people to give in reverse order of the way the culture gives.  Proverbs 3:9 tells us: Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce;
It may surprise you to learn that Jesus taught more about money and possessions than He did about heaven or hell. The word “give” is used more than 1,500 times in the Bible, more than the words faith, hope, love or pray.  Why? Obviously, God doesn’t need our money. He’s not poor. But God does want us to become like Him and that will only happen if we learn to be generous.  “Thanks” and “giving” go together. When we give back to God, we express our appreciation to Him for all the ways He has blessed us. We’re saying, “God, we’re grateful for all You’ve done in our lives, and we love You.”
God wants your giving to be motivated by gratitude. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” A few verses later it says, “… your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).  But why does God make such a big deal about the tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23 basically tells us the purpose of tithing is to show us that by putting God first we learn to trust Him as the source of what we have and the importance of Him in life. If you want to know what a person really values, just look at how they spend their time and money.  When we give the first part of our income to God in the form of the tithe we are saying “I trust you Lord to provide.”  Jesus said, “For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  I love the fact that God challenges us to “test Him” in the application of this principle. In Malachi 3:10 He says, Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
God gives you and I a command, but He is gives us permission to test it out.  In this season (and throughout the year) when we are challenged to give to a Biblical cause it is not the person making the challenge, but God through them.  Giving should be part of your Christian walk.  If you are a regular giver you know the blessing that comes, if you are not, I challenge you today to take God up on what He says.  See if He doesn’t bless you beyond what you trust Him with!  
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.   1 Corinthians 16:2
Serving the Savior,
Bro. Jonathan

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