Today, this simple verb is treated with a degree of tension that is often quite palpable. We live in an age of self-identification where knowledge of your personal story and self-awareness are perceived as strong character traits. Modern themes about being your own self, saving for retirement and looking after Number 1 resonate throughout social media as though our ancestors never really knew what was important.
Hidden within the disturbing meme is the emerging truth of who we are becoming as humans while the fabric of society wears thin.
However, this is not the path that God ordained for us in Genesis. He desired us to live in community – sharing what we have with each other to lift one another to a higher state of well-being and ultimately being less dependent on ourselves and more dependent on Him and his grace in our lives.
Giving can be simple. Giving to family or close friends who you know and trust is easy. You are blood-related after all and so you look after your family as you would yourself. It’s easier because it is like giving to yourself.
But giving generously to a charity can be one of the hardest things to do. You worked hard for your money, you have saved and sacrificed to get where you are today. Why should you help people who haven’t done the same? Why do they deserve your charity?
This article is written to help understanding the principals of Money, Giving, Charity, First Fruits how God perceives them.
Money does not exist. This sounds like a bold statement, but money is just a promise by a government to guarantee that the piece of paper that you are handing over has credit in the world economy. Most of your wealth is probably in a bank or investment account. It is a digital number in a database somewhere in the cloud.
Money represents something good and something evil. Even though money does not exist, the promise of what money represents can be used to purchase tangible items. Food for your family, a home to live in, a car to travel in. But at the same time money can represent greed, self-indulgence, and the opportunity to buy into a sinful life.
Money represents a gift from God. In His wisdom, God provided a mechanism called money to allow us to negotiate a life for His glory. The job you have and the career path you have pursued are all a consequence of how God has blessed your life and circumstances.
Charity means Love. In 1 Cor 13 Paul talks about faith, hope and charity. The word charity comes to the English from the French word charité (accented) which means mercy, benevolence and compassion. So many bibles today translate the word from charity to love. “The greatest of these is love.”
What is love? Love is the essence of the Christian life. The two greatest commandments “Love the Lord your God” and “Love your Neighbor” could not be more clear. Love is God’s command. He calls us to love Him and love our neighbors. Jesus called us to love everyone including our enemies.
Giving to Charity means giving in Love.
Many people who donate their life to others do so in love and in service to Christ. People who work tirelessly to help others, deserve your love and generosity to support them and the work they do in Christ's name for others.
Giving is God’s desire. God wants you to love and the simplest manifestation of loving is giving.
Giving can be painful and challenging, but it is also beautiful and rewarding. Choosing to set aside some of the money that God has graced you with and donate to charity is a powerful testament to your faith in God and his workers.
The final and possibly the most critical element of understanding how money, giving and love intersect is the idea of first fruits.
God designed us to be sacrificial. During the times that Moses lead the Jews out of Egypt, the concept of sacrificial worship was presented. God asked for several offerings but always demanded the best. God created us, protects us, loves us and deserves the best.
So, the best calves and lambs were offered to God. The first fruits of the harvest were presented to the priests. This was not a coincidence - it was intentional. God intends us to give our best, our First Fruits, not our scraps.
First Fruits means giving before you pay your bills, so you don’t cut short your gifts to cover your personal costs.
First Fruits means buying the best for those in need, not buying something new for yourself or your family and handing over last year’s unwanted gifts to the orphan.
First Fruits means to put your energy into or to donate money to charity by supporting a cause before you take a vacation or relax on the beach.
Why donate ? God loves the fatherless, the children and the vulnerable.
Choosing to love the orphan, by giving your First Fruits to a charity that supports the desperate lives of orphans, is truly the most powerful way to worship our creator God.
Danny and I had the opportunity to go back to Kompas Park Youth Camp in Ukraine this summer, and it was an encouraging week for many reasons. Both of us have volunteered at camp multiple times over the years (this was Danny’s 12th year!), and we praise God that He’s allowed us to be a part of this ministry over the years. There is something truly relaxing and peacefully familiar about driving through Khreschatyk Village into Kompas Park.