So What’s the Blessing From Giving?

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"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus himself who said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35 (NIV)

There's no denying the blessing of giving. But what's the blessing exactly?

Is it that warm, fuzzy feeling we get when sharing with somebody in need? Is it the spiritual reward that we hope registers in heaven as a result? Or is it the thrilling possibility that whatever we give will be paid back to us in spades?

  • Just how is blessing realized through giving?
  • Who gets it?
  • What does it look like?

My hunch is that answers to this question are wide-ranging! It would be interesting to get some healthy discussion going!

Don't be shy! What do YOU say the blessing is from giving?

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I've been thinking about this, since my wife and I began ministry to seniors at Sonlight CRC in Lynden, almost a year ago.  We want to redeem retirement by encouraging volunteerism.  So why would a person give their very selves in service?  It seems to me that the true blessing is that giving ushers us into the Deep Reality of the economics of Kingdom Coming.  It gives us a taste of the delightful economy on the new earth, where there will be no need for currency.  We need money now because we cannot trust each other.  In our broken world, where it is each one for themselves, the only way we can exchange our goods and services is by charging money for them, so that, in turn, we can "force" our neighbor to serve us by offering money to them.  In such a world, we fear the loss of income because there is no free lunch.

But imagine a world in which love is made perfect, and therefore trust is the new currency.  Imagine dairymen giving their milk away in love, and to be able to count on the fact that the grocer is also perfect in love, and therefore gives his groceries away for free.  Imagine a world in which all goods and services are done freely, prompted only by love.  This is what is coming our way...on the other side, in the new earth.  And giving now gives us a taste of just how fun that will be.  That is the real blessing of giving--it lets us taste that economy early, already on this side.  And it is indescribably sweet.  -Ken Koeman

Ken -- This is great. I love it! I've been thinking too that giving is a doorway through which we enter into a deeper fellowship with God and one another. I like how you contrast giving with the role money plays in the current economy of this world. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

By the way, the context for Paul's summary reminder of Jesus' teaching on giving is instructive. He's warning the Ephesian elders about wolves who would seek to tear up the fragile church by greediness. The remedy for church leaders, says Paul, is practicing generosity. In this way, the church is protected and provided for so that fellowship and gospel ministry can flourish. I'm impressed with how Paul interprets the blessing that comes from giving in terms of the body of Christ and not just personal benefit. I wonder how much more blessing there is to be had for the church through giving?

Community Builder

 

I believe in the practice of tithing; let me share a brief history of how I got here, some Bible support.

 

As a young people attendee, we had a couple of good leaders; one I am thinking of was a hardware/plumber by trade, Clarence Timmer.

He first impressed me with the Malachi 3: 10 verse—a simple conditional promise.

 

“10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be [p]food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until [q]it overflows.” NASB

 

I believe Rev Vanderaa also often preached on conditional promises; and it was Mrs Vanderaa who told us ‘we could not make it if we didn’t tithe.’ This reinforced what We had already been practicing.

One big advantage of following a tithing plan is that one doesn’t have to put a lot of time into deciding how much to give, but only where does it go this month. There is real freedom in that.

When you buy a Bible and you give it to somebody who doesn’t have one, you’ve stored up treasure in Heaven. When you support a program that shares the Good News around the world, you have stored up treasure in Heaven. When you help build a church, you have stored up treasure in Heaven. That is the highest and best use of your money.

You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead by investing in people who are going to Heaven.

from Barna   May. 2003:  The group that had the highest proportion of households tithing was evangelicals. While that group represents just 6% of the public, nearly 9% of the group tithed in 2002 - roughly three times the national, [But still apathetically small amount.]

from CRC The Banner, Feb. 2010:  "Among other things, the survey found that the median percentage of household income given to the CRC (not including Christian education tuition) is 6.1 percent. Just 21.9 percent of respondents gave 10 percent or more of their income to the church."...Food for thought...