Giving: A Burden or A Blessing?
A natural - and almost gut - reaction to the prospect of giving away anything is the feeling of "loss": giving away means not having anymore! Giving means losing out. Giving means depreciation, reduction, lack, deflation.
After all, if I give away an evening of my time - I have an evening less to myself.
And if I give away £100 - I have less money to spend on what I want to buy.
But, like almost everything else in the supernatural world of Christian faith, giving turns our to be a blessing, not a burden. The Lord turns upside down the idea of giving from something that is a burden to something that is a blessing.
Giving away our money results in blessing!
Take, for example, our money. Natural logic leads to the idea that if I give it away I will be lacking. But the Lord says that "it is more blessed to give than to receive." How come? Because of promises God makes to us.
- God promises that as we give we sow seeds that will bear a harvest (2 Cor 9:6)! What a wonderful thing - as we give we sow seeds that grow into Gospel fruit.
- God promises that as we give he will give back to us! He promises to "increase our store of seed." (2 Cor 9:10).
- God promises that as we give our money, we will be blessed in many other ways! "you will be made rich in every way.. you will abound in every good work." (2 Cor 9:8,11)
- God promises that our giving will result in his great name being glorified! It will "overflow in many expressions of thanks to God." (2 Cor 9:12).
Giving away our lives in sacrificial service leads to blessing!
When Peter complained to Jesus about the cost of following him, he replied in these unbelievable words:
"Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times more in this age—and in the age to come, eternal life.”(Luke 18)
No-one who has ever served Jesus Christ until it hurt has ever failed to experience the blessings of God. This is what David Livingstone said about the hard trials of missionary life:
"For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office... It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice."
Giving away our lives leads to eternal life
Most significantly of all, if we give away our lives we will gain heaven. If we want to live our own lives, do our own thing, walk our own walk, we will end up in hell. But if we give away our life to Christ, follow his trail and obey him, then we will experience eternal life:
"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25)
The world is too full of people who want to save their lives - do their own thing - but in the end lose their lives in hell. God calls them to lose their life for his sake, and thereby find real life in this world and the world to come.
Out there in the world, giving is always a loss word, a burden, but in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, giving is always a blessing, a tremendous blessing.