Giving and Receiving, Part IV

“There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.” (Proverbs 11:24-26).

“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

Whatever talents, giftings, etc., that you have been given by God, if you fail to use them in a way which blesses other people, be prepared to lose them all, and lose them fast! It’s like the muscle, which you didn’t exercise. You lost it. It is the same way with those things that God has entrusted to us. He has entrusted them for a purpose — that they might be used for the good. This, really, is what the above verses are teaching. God has given us things (could be money, time, talents, etc.) for a purpose.

There is a teaching, of course, that says that merely “giving away” what God has entrusted to us will produce blessings in our lives (based on a wrong interpretation of Luke 6:38, see Part I of this series available from the web address below). This, of course, is entirely wrong, and does not take into account the many passages in the Bible, which deal with our need to be wise stewards. For example, the parable of the talents teaches us that we are to do the best we can with what we have been entrusted. Merely “giving away” to others what we have been given by God may be unwise. For example, have we really investigated whether such and such an organization is worthy to receive our money? Are they adhering to Biblical standards? Remember, the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote, “Let a widow be permitted to receive money from the church only if she … has had a reputation for doing good works.” (1 Timothy 5:9-10, paraphrase). So, too, must those that we give our hard-earned money to be worthy of receiving it. Don’t be fooled by those who teach otherwise! They are false teachers and leaders of the blind!

But let us say, for example, that you have investigated everything fully to your satisfaction. The organization is a worthy one! You feel that you want to give, and there is really no reason that you can figure out why this particular organization shouldn’t be blessed with your finances. Well, then, Proverbs 11:24-26, and 2 Corinthians 9:6, both apply to you. If you now “scatter,” “water,” or “sow” that which God has given to you, then God will bless you in return, according to these verses. You may earn more money, so you can continue to give it away. Or, God may increase your ministry, so you can bless others (the possibilities are endless!).

In some cases, if you are not sure what to do, or if are confused about the need to give away your time, talents, money, (etc.), it may be proper for you to withhold these — for a relatively short season, that is. However, the time will come, that God will release you to be able to give more and more. A sense of cheerfulness in giving — not compulsion — will be the sign that you are moving in the right direction and headed towards victory. Also, remember, often an inner sense of bitterness towards others can actually prevent us from simply “releasing to others” what God wants us to release. This is sin, and prevents us from moving on in the Lord.

One good principle to remember: Generally speaking, God will never expect you to give away what you don’t have to give! “For if the willingness is present, the gift is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8:11, paraphrase). Don’t be condemned by those who say you must give a prescribed amount. Instead, be reasonable with yourself, and forgive yourself for not being able to meet up to other people’s expectations of what you can or cannot give. And remember, if you are especially gifted in some area, there is a good reason for it! Make sure to use God’s gifts wisely! Then, you will be sure to make a good “return” on your investment, and the good side of the verses which we have been dealing with will come true in your life.