In Scripture, it is clear that we are commanded to give to the poor and needy and share what we have. Luke 12:33 tells us, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys”. Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act”. Other verses like
Luke 6:30, Proverbs 19:17, and Acts 20:35 prove this point further. But the questions we want to answer today is how we give and ultimately why we give? The answer to these two questions will unlock some fundamental truths for Christians. Let us begin this journey on giving.
There are many examples of people giving and sharing what they have in the Bible. When the believers were baptized on the day of Pentecost, we have a description of what they were like afterward. Verse 45 of Chapter 2 says, “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” But there is something we need to realize about how we are supposed to give to those who are in need. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 9:7, “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.” We should give cheerfully. If we feel that we have to give to look good in the eyes of others or we really don’t want to give but do it anyway, we might as well not have given at all. God says we should be willing to give and give cheerfully. We should not give just because we have to because if we do, we are not giving with right intent.
The other question we are going to tackle is why. Why should we give? There are many reasons why we should give. Jesus himself said “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), but why? The answer is this, to be able to store up treasure in heaven. The secret to storing up treasures in heaven is giving. This is revealed to us in Mark chapter 10. In Mark 10:17-22 is an account of a rich young man who approaches Jesus about entering eternal life and what he must do to reach eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give to the poor. Let’s focus in on verse 21 here. “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Now as the story goes, the man went away sad because he just couldn’t do what Jesus had told him, which was a hard thing to do. But notice what Jesus says there in verse 21. He tells the man to sell and give his material wealth to others SO THAT, he could have treasure in heaven. If we have our joy and pride in things of this world, we cannot have treasure in heaven.
Jesus tells us to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven in Matthew 6:20. But how do we do that? Jesus answers that in our previous verse, Mark 10:21, give and sell. Giving our possessions away and giving to the poor allows us to be free from love of material wealth so we can focus on storing up treasures in heaven. Loving material wealth blocks us from having treasure in heaven. But what are these treasures in heaven? Well what was the rich man asking for in our story? He was asking what he must do to “inherit eternal life”. This is the treasure. Salvation and eternal life is the treasure we should be storing up and working for.
It is also important to notice that giving and selling possessions will not automatically give us eternal life in Christ Jesus. However, giving cheerfully will open the door for us to follow Jesus. Material wealth is an obstacle, and giving is what removes that obstacle to allow us to keep going in our journey of faith and continue following Jesus.
In conclusion, give and giver cheerfully, so that we can store up treasure in heaven. By doing so, we can continue to follow Jesus wholeheartedly and enter eternal life someday.