The more we give, the less we have for our mortgage repayments or rent expenses, food, clothes, holiday, entertainment, etc. And by sharing, I mean mainly returning your tithe and giving your offerings.
Of course, you say, as a Conference Treasurer, I am expected to look from the organisational point of view – that giving is required to support the work of the Church. Yes, this indeed is how our tithe and offerings are applied. But I always believe that God asks us to give because He wants to bless us, and it is for our benefit. He doesn’t need our money, and whether or not we offer, the Church will continue to flourish because it is God’s Church, not ours.
Giving to God doesn’t make sense from a worldly perspective. Still, it is essential from a Christian point of view, more specifically, from a Seventh-day Adventist Christian point of view. How can giving be for our benefit? God showed us the most remarkable example – that He so loved the world that He GAVE – not only giving something but Someone – His only begotten Son to die for our sins! (John 3:16). As followers of Christ, we must emulate His character. God loves; therefore, He gives. We love God; therefore, we give in return. God wants us to be like Him.
The Bible tells us that if we seek first the kingdom of God, all these things – the basic needs of life: food, clothing, and shelter, will be provided to us (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, as we give, we demonstrate our dependence on God’s providence. The blessing can be material or intangible, such as having peace and joy knowing God provides and sustains our needs.
We are also reminded to give with the right attitude. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Just as Jesus said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. (Acts 20:35). I am sure that we all experience joy and a sense of fulfilment when we can give and help. ‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). Let us remember that everything comes from God. He blesses us with material things so we can be a blessing to others. And the more we give, the more blessings we receive. We can never outgive God.
The challenge is for us to experience this on a personal level. If you haven’t tried it, God says, prove me now! The financial difficulties that the world is facing will pale insignificance if we focus on following Christ’s example.
As we enter the New Year, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your faithfulness and generosity. May we celebrate this Season of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy by giving and sharing our blessings and genuinely celebrating “Immanuel” – God with us.
Candy Layson is the Associate Treasurer for the Trans-European Division