Gifts obviously benefit the recipient. The church continues its ministry, the hungry are fed, and missionaries are sent. But from God’s point of view generosity is more important for the giver than the recipient. “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).
1. An increase in intimacy
Above all else, giving draws our heart to Christ. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When you give to Christ and His work as a way of expressing your love for Him, it draws your heart closer to Him. And nothing on this planet is more important that knowing Jesus well.
2. An increase in character
Our heavenly Father wants us to conform to the image of His Son. The character of Christ is that of an unselfish giver. Unfortunately, humans are selfish by nature. One way we become conformed to Christ is by regular giving. Someone once said, “Giving is not God’s way of raising money; it is God’s way of raising people into the likeness of His Son.”
3. An increase in heaven
Matthew 6:20 reads, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” The Lord tells us that heaven has its own “First National Bank,” where we can invest for eternity.
Paul wrote, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” (Philippians 4:17). Each of us has an account in heaven that we will be able to enjoy for eternity. And although we “can’t take it with us when we die,” we can make deposits to our heavenly account before we die.
4. An increase on earth
Many people have a hard time believing that giving can result in material blessings flowing back to the giver. However, we encounter that very principle in the pages of Scripture. Consider Proverbs 11:24-25: “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”
One reason the Lord reveals that we can anticipate such an increase is because He wants us to recognize that He is behind it. God has chosen to be invisible, but He wants us to experience His reality.
When we give, we should do so with a sense of expectation—anticipating an increase from the Lord even though we have no idea how or when He may choose to provide it. Our experience has shown Him to be very creative! Remember, givers experience the advantages of giving only when they give cheerfully and with love—not when the motive is just to get.
Warmly in Christ,