Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
Knowing there is a good return off the back of giving to others shouldn't be the motivator of why we give in the first place because giving is a fundamental principle of the Christian faith. Hebrews 13:16 tells us that God is well pleased when we do good and share with others. The early Christians in the book of Acts give us a beautiful glimpse into what this should look like:
'There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need'
Acts 4: 34-35
Yet, for many of us, giving is a rare sacrificial task rather than being a principle we live by. Why do we find it so challenging to live a giving life? Ultimately, it boils down to a misunderstanding of the source of our wealth.
In a nation that prides itself on principles of capitalism and meritocracy, we are easily conditioned to see the things we have as rewards that we’ve earned, instead of gifts we never deserved in the first place. Acts 4:32 tells us regarding these members of the early church, “no one said any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common”. Knowing that nothing we have is our own must come from an acceptance that before God and outside of God, none of us are righteous or good (Romans 3: 9-12); and that all good things come from our Father above (James 1:17).
So, if all good things are gifts from the Father, then every gift we have are not ours to keep but are to bless other people’s lives. This goes far beyond just money. Those of us who are blessed enough to have perfect and healthy blood, how have we extended that to help others through donations? Those of us who have been gifted with safe and stable homes, how have we used it to shelter others? Those of us who have the privilege of owning our own business, or working in a wide-reaching influential role, how have we used it to impact people’s lives? Those of us who have so freely been given the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation, how freely have we shared it with others? Even when we go through hardships, the Bible tells us that the Father “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:4). God loves each and every single one of us - believers and non believers alike and when He gives us any good thing, He intends for it to be fruitful and to multiply through us sowing into others’ lives. In fact, the parable of the talents deems the servant that keeps his gifts to himself as “wicked and lazy” (Matthew 25:26).
And you may be thinking, ‘since God is the giver of all good things, why doesn’t He just give all gifts to everyone?’. We know that God is not partial, so it is not because He prefers anyone over the next person. But rather, it is God’s desire to see His children in “one heart and one soul”, bound together by the unity of love. How can we develop oneness if we live independently and see no need for each other? Paul’s analogy of the human body to depict the body of Christ shows us that God has perfectly designed each part to be as they are, and to be so critically dependent on each other that even the supposedly stronger parts cannot survive alone without the rest of the body:
'But our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.'
1 Corinthians 12:24-25
So, let us sit back and take stock of every good thing we have in our lives, and make sure that it is serving God’s purpose of sharing with, caring for, and blessing those around us.
Words by Annette Tony-Fadipe