One of the most freeing and relaxing teachings of Scripture is; God owns everything. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (PS 24:1). We are not owners. We are merely stewards, temporary trustees. Realizing nothing belongs to us can help break our addiction and emotional attachment to stuff. This should make it easier for us to give to God.
Since God owns everything anyway, there is a way in which we can say we never give Him anything. After David and the people gave generously for work on the Lord’s house, they rejoiced, but did not brag or feel smug. The people had given, but David blessed God, saying He owns “everything that is in the heavens and the earth. . . .Both riches and honor come from Thee,. . . .God, we thank thee,. . . .But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from Thee, and from Thy hand we have given Thee” (I Chronicles 29 NAS).
God is not “served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things” (AC 17:25 NAS). “Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains” (Psalm 50:10-12 NAS).
Giving a portion of what we have is supposed to be our way of acknowledging that all we have belongs to God, and has already been placed on the altar. God asked Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, but was actually wanting to know if He had all that was within Abraham. Isaac’s body was on the altar, but the real question was, Is Abraham’s heart also on there?
We outwardly give a part to represent we have inwardly given all. Our offering has to be an outward expression of an inner reality. My wedding ring is a visible token, a statement in gold of my devotion and faithfulness to Ruth, but if not matched by an inner, 100% giving of myself to her in love, the ring is a mockery.
Symbolism is useless apart from the reality it claims to represent. Thus, if we have not given all that is in our heart, we should not put anything in the offering plate. Our churches can do more with twenty God-blessed dollars than with forty unblessed dollars, for the former is accompanied with a yielded, willing pray-er, worker, giver, and goer.
It would be wrong to receive your money if in doing so we lead you to believe you have thereby performed all your duty or done God a favor. In giving money, we must move past the issue of stuff, and face the harder issue of self.
If Jesus does not have us, He does not want anything from us. “If God doesn’t have the hand, He doesn’t want the gift that is in the hand” (McGee).
If you have not yet given yourself totally to God, take your money home, lean back in a recliner, and place your wallet on your heart as a picture of where your treasure really is. Then pray till God gives an absolute brokenness which brings a ton of embarrassment, a flood of tears, a heart of repentance, and a joy in giving.
God does not need our gifts. He wants our love. Our loving God desires loving echoes. Let every offering be a love-gift, a statement of our passion for Him.
Please let us at the Missouri Baptist Foundation be a resource for you in your giving. We want to help you give wisely and well.