As we consider what disciplines we can do to help in our pursuit of character maturity and the health of our soul, a very important one is giving a portion of our money to our church, to various ministries, and to people with genuine needs.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
The most important command to each of us is to love God, but if we love the world we can’t love God. Our intimacy and closeness with God is the foundation of a healthy and growing inner person, and nothing messes with our relationship with God as much as our money and our stuff. It is very subtle and most don’t see it happening in their life until they are totally apathetic in seeking God and growing spiritually, and then we don’t care. When we get to that state God will usually cause a crisis in our life that will suck away a bunch of our money and/or stuff, and our joy goes away as well. The story that Jesus tells of the prodigal son is a perfect illustration of this journey that many make away from our Father.
Giving away a portion of our income is God’s plan to inoculate us against the disease of worldliness. Most believers in Jesus don’t give much, if anything to God because they think they need it. When we don’t give to God He blows our money away.
Haggai 1:9 You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away.
But whenwe give systematically, by commitment, and sacrificially God blesses us, that is we will have enough for our needs, and He will give us great joy.
When Patty and I were first married and trying to make a go of it on the dairy, an older couple in our church counseled us to always give sacrificially to our church no matter how tight our finances were. They made a big impression on us and over the last 50 years of married life we have been faithful to give no matter what.
At this point in my life having turned 71 years old yesterday, I am very convinced that the high level of joy in my life and the blessings of God in every area of my life is because I have worked hard to keep Him first place in my life above anything else.