article in The New York Times yesterday cited scientific evidence that reveals the emotional benefits of giving. While the authors talk about monetary generosity, Pastor Ben at Faith Alive in Jos, Nigeria emphasizes in a recent monthly theme the spiritual benefits of giving tangible and intangible things. He cites Acts 20:35 as a reminder that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
We know that giving to others, especially those in need, is a good thing. But how often do we intentionally give to attract blessings for ourselves? Isn’t that a bit selfish? Pastor Ben doesn’t think so, and encourages us consider these four factors:
Factor 1: WHAT we give matters. “What a man sows is what he shall reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Some givers attract curses and others attract blessings. Pastor Ben says, “You don’t gather grape from mango tree.” What you want more of, give the same, whether it’s love, respect, time, money, encouragement, etc.
Factor 2: Our MOTIVE matters. 2Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Factor 3: The QUALITY of our gift matters. In Malachi 1:8-9, God rebuked a priest for offering a blind and crippled animal, a castoff that the priest probably didn’t want for himself. Consider the quality of materials that Solomon used to build the temple.
Factor 4: The QUANTITY of our gift matters. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Think of the widow in Mark 12:43 & 44 who gave a few coins. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
If you practice this radical generosity, Pastor Ben says, “You will be amazed at the blessings that follow. Try it today and you will call me to testify.”
Let’s take the challenge. I’ll gladly give you his phone number.