Biblical Principle of Giving

Dear BPCWAians, Last week we looked at the reasons for church extension, the approach we took, the potential designs, and the building fund required. So, the need for the work and what we need to do is clear. Now, we need to do our part as worshippers to give to the Lord’s work in BPCWA. This week we shall consider “Why should I give?”

Why should I give? Some are willing to give readily, while some will give grudgingly, and there may be some who do not intend to give. In all cases, everyone needs to first understand the Biblical principle of giving so that we give with the right understanding and also become willing to give.

1. Because I am returning. God says, “Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). No one can say “I gave God first (which is what “prevented me” me implies) and now He owes me”. Paul reiterated this principle, “Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” (Rom 11:35). We are just returning to God what He gave us in the first place. The children of Israel understood this principle, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” (1Ch 29:14). God reiterates this in the New Testament, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor 4:7). There is nothing to be proud of when we give because we are just returning.

2. Because I am just a steward. In the Gospels, Christ taught about stewardship of slaves who are given money to handle. God is our Master and all that we have come from Him. It is God who provided and prospered you, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deu 8:18). I am to handle the money for His use, not to use it for my own selfish pleasures. But if we fail to realise this principle, we will keep asking, “Why should I give?”. We should not steal from God what He meant for His own use. We often pray, “We give Thee but Thine own”. Now is the time to prove that we mean what we pray – to return and not withhold for ourselves when God calls for it.

3. Because stewardship means returning it when the time comes. God moved the Egyptians to give much to the children of Israel (Ex 12:34-36). He did so with the Tabernacle building in mind. When the time came to build it, the children willingly brought out what they received so that it could be used for the building of the Tabernacle (Ex 35-36). Imagine a servant, who was given some money with the purpose of purchasing something, telling his master “this is my money, why should I use it to buy things for you?”.

We give thee but thine own, Whate’er the gift may be,

For all we have is thine alone, A trust, O Lord, from thee.

May we thy bounties thus As stewards true receive,

And gladly, as thou blessest us, To thee our firstfruits give.

4. Because it is a privilege to be part of God’s work. God gives us so that we are able to participate in His work. He puts things into our hands to give, so that we can experience the joy of being able to be part of His kingdom’s work. Some 30 years ago, some people willingly returned to God what God gave them when the time came to purchase our current BPCWA building. As a result, we are blessed with and can enjoy the facilities we have today. In this building we can worship God, study His Word, serve Him, have fellowship with each other, and your children can have Sunday School and be taught. We have been blessed by what we received. But God reminds us it is more blessed to give! As the hymnwriter rightly points out “Give as ’twas given to you in your need, Love as the Master loved you”. You will not know the joy of being part of God’s planned work if you do not give. Remember, those who hesitated missed the opportunity when the time passed (Ex 36:6-7). We must realise that we are privileged to be born and worshipping in BPCWA at this particular time. Or do you see it as, “Oh how unfortunate, why must I be here now? Why not another generation give instead of me?” God has put in my hands so that now I have the privilege of returning it to Him for His work. God willing, we shall look more at this subject when we discuss “How should I give?” next week.

Yours in our Lord’s service