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Give First, Give Best: Why Does My Giving Matter?

This morning, I was reading in Deuteronomy about the mandate to give a tithe. This tithe existed to care for the Levites, who had no inheritance in the land, but also to the poor and needy, the widow, orphan and sojourner in the land who had nothing. On the surface, it seems the tithe had a purpose in both supporting ministry and the needy, but it is far deeper than that. Going back to Genesis, Abraham gave a tithe of the spoil he took after rescuing Lot from 5 kings to Melchizedek, King of Salem. In Genesis 4, Abel gave of the first born of his flock. What was the tithe for then?


If I can be honest, my wife and I tithe, and, when we can, we give more than that. We encourage our children to do the same when they get their weekly paychecks. I do not say this to blow a trumpet or to boast, but to tell you why: when we give from our first and our best, we’re trusting God with the rest. Abel gave of the firstborn of his flock. He told God, “Lord, this is the hope of my flock for a new and strong generation, but I’m giving it to You because you’re my hope.” When I give, when you give from our first and our best, we do the same thing. We do not give so that we receive blessings in return. We should not. No, when we give, we’re telling ourselves and reminding ourselves that our hope is not in material gain, but in God through Christ Jesus. God Himself, in giving His Son, Jesus, gave us His first and His best, when Jesus lived as one of us, perfectly according to all of God’s righteous requirements, and when He died in our place at the cross and in rising again. So, give your first and give of your best, whether in time, treasure, or use of talents. Give for the Glory of the One who loves you. The blessing lies in that, and everything else is just extra.


2 Corinthians 9


Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.


The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,


“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.”


He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

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