4 Incredible Blessings of Giving

by Jordan Standridge (original source here)

By the time the average human being reaches the age of 20, he will have watched one million commercials. 1,000,000. Think about that. Most people will watch almost four million commercials in their lifetime, and that’s only talking about regular cable television. Four million times you are being told that you need things. You are being told how to use your money. You are being told what will bring you happiness. Every one of us is willing to subject ourselves to this and very seldom do we question the motives of the advertisers despite the fact that they don’t have our best interest at heart, they simply want to make money.

In the church, it is the opposite. People complain all the time about churches being “money-hungry” or “greedy.” Many people leave churches if they feel that the pastor talks about giving too much. But Paul never shied away from talking about it. Not only did he talk about it, he asked for it and thanked people for their gifts. But, at the end of Philippians, we see something incredible. Paul believes that the Philippians will benefit from giving to him. Not because he is anything special, but because he believes that giving towards the progression of the Gospel will bring great blessings to the life of a believer.

You and I are called to give. In the New Testament, there isn’t a specific amount or percentage that we should give, but we are to give sacrificially and with great joy. Each person is called to give in secret and each person is accountable to God for every single dime that they spend during their lifetime. And while it is too easy for so many pastors to give rules and to tell people what they can and can’t buy, Paul uses a different approach. In Philippians 4:14-19 he tries to persuade people to give by telling them how much they will be blessed. He doesn’t tell you not to buy the extra house or to not go on that vacation, but he does try to encourage you to be willing to sacrifice your rights because of the great blessings you will receive. So, here are four incredible blessings of giving.

1) It progresses the Gospel

“…no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone…” Phil 4:15
Paul says something incredible here. Because the church in Philippi gave, they became partners with him. They partook in Gospel ministry with Paul. The idea of sharing here brings Paul and the Philippians together in this work. Every missionary needs a sender and the Philippian church longed to hear of how their money was advancing the Gospel.

I remember coming on furlough with my parents to the United States. One church, in particular, announced my father as missionary number 276 on a Sunday morning. While I’m sure the $20 he received from the church was helpful and he was grateful for it, there was a sense in which they weren’t close partners in crime for the Gospel in Italy. The Philippians here gave sacrificially to Paul, they loved him and desperately wanted to hear from him, but most of all they wanted to hear about how the Lord was using him.

It is imperative that you give most if not all of your money to organizations whose main goal is the progress of the Gospel. That’s why I recommend giving most of your money to your local church. As long as that church is biblically sound, then their desire will be to advance the Gospel. In faithful churches, elders have been chosen who qualify, and who can be trustworthy with the church’s money. Regardless, giving to churches or Gospel ministries and actually praying and being an active sender will allow you to be an active participant in the work of the Gospel.

2) It brings great profit

“I seek for the profit which increases to your account.” Phil 4:17

This is the heart of a true pastor. One that isn’t greedy or a lover of money. This is someone who desperately wants the people he loves to be eternally minded and to buy treasure in Heaven. Paul is content. He’s already said that in Philippians 4:11. With much or with little he has learned the secret of contentment. This lesson he learned has freed his conscience to be able to talk about such a taboo subject like money. He is able to shepherd his churches and tell them to give without having wrong motivations. Pastors ought to follow his example here. They are to call their people to give, not because of how that might benefit their ministry or bank account, but because of the fact that giving—to gospel ministries—increases their people’s eternal bank account. Continue reading

The Treasure and Heart Connection

In Matthew 6: 19 -21 Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

If we understand that Jesus is truly Divine (as well as truly human) we recognize that He speaks with absolute authority and absolute knowledge. That is quite the combination. We, on the other hand, as finite human beings, having no such authority and no such knowledge. We are therefore extremely foolish to disregard what He says.

In this passage, Jesus tells us not to lay up earthly treasures but instead to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven. He then explains why. Earthly treasure is not a stable investment. It is subject to rotting, rusting and theft. In contrast, heavenly treasure is not in any way subject to rotting, rusting and theft. Heavenly treasure is secure, eternally secure. It can never rot; can never rust, and can never be stolen from us.

Then, He reveals an enlightening principle: our heart will always follow our treasure investment. Think about that! Our treasure has something of an unseen chord that leads directly to our hearts. Wherever it is we lay up our treasure, we will find that our hearts gravitate towards it. If our treasure is in this world, our heart will gravitate towards this world. If our treasure is in stocks, bonds, silver or gold, investments and real estate, that is where our hearts will be. Yet, if our treasure is placed in heavenly investments, our heart will gravitate towards the heavenly.

The earthly investments are all in the seen realm, the real of the five senses. Heavenly investments are in the unseen realm. Giving to the kingdom of God involves investments in Christ’s enterprises. In involves supporting the local Church, the extension of the gospel, giving to the poor, touching the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. That is why the Christian life is a walk of faith. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).


“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Cor. 9:7

Jesus tells us what is very real and very true, and yet unseen by earthly eyes. Do we trust Him? Do we believe Him? If we do, then we will rejoice in our giving. God loves “cheerful” not “tearful” or “fearful” givers.

Giving with a cheerful heart can only occur when we believe our investments in eternal things is the best possible investment. There is no “buyer’s regret” in kingdom investments. They are shrewd and wise investments. That is because no one investing in kingdom stock wishes they had invested less than they did. Believe me, no one in heaven regrets giving even a dime of their wealth to the kingdom of God. The only regret might be that we did not give more.

Each giving opportunity is an opportunity to invest in eternal things. Jesus says “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” When we believe Jesus’ words, giving actually makes perfect sense, and in fact, we are happy with even the thought of giving, hence we become “cheerful givers.”

I once encountered a man who was troubled because in a short space of time, he had received several promotions in his job, and this meant his tithe check to his church (a tithe is 10% of income) had tripled in less than a year. He was now giving far more than he had before. And he was troubled by this… He asked me to pray for him.

I said, “I think I know just the prayer to pray for you.” We both bowed our heads in a moment of prayer and I began to pray:

“Lord, you know that since you gave him these promotions, my brother’s giving is large now. Please, Lord, allow him to go back to his salary of a few months ago… We know you have the power to do this, so Lord, please demote him… please let him earn less income, so he can be comfortable in his giving once again…”

Now before I had finished saying “Amen” the man stopped me abruptly and said, “no, no, no, I see the point you are making pastor… don’t pray that prayer for me…”

I said “what is my point?”

“That I should be grateful for the promotions I have received and excited that I can now give this amount, when I could not do so before.”

I said, “you are right! You have much to be thankful for. God is allowing you to earn more so you can be in a position to give more. Think of Abraham. In Genesis 12:2 God said, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” He was blessed to be a blessing! That is God’s purpose for us also when He blesses us.

Just a few verses on from these words above we read of Jesus saying:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matt. 6:24)

There is no neutral ground when it comes to the use of our money. We either love God or hate Him. We are either devoted to God or devoted to money.

That’s quite a thought. Let’s remember this though: Money can never be our god when we are giving it away. If Jesus is our Lord, we will trust Him in what He says about life, salvation and the use of our money, and when we do, our giving will not be in any way reluctant, but a joyous expression of faith, obedience, and the thrill of laying up treasure of an eternal kind, which can never be taken away. Praise the Lord!

Giving as an act of Worship

having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” – Philippians 4:18

In the final phrases of Philippians 4:18, Paul describes Christian giving in the language of Old Testament sacrificial worship—language that originated all the way back in Genesis 8. After Noah and his family emerged unharmed through the flood of God’s judgment, he worshiped God: “Then Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Yahweh smelled the soothing aroma (same as “fragrant aroma” in Phil 4:18) and Yahweh said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man…’” (Gen 8:20–21).

This was the essence of worship under the Old Covenant. God’s people were commanded to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and strength (Deut 6:5 ), to worship and serve Him only (Deut 6:13; cf. Luke 4:8), and to have no other gods before Him (Exod 20:3). And a principal way in which His people demonstrated that He had occupied first place in their hearts was by offering up to Him of the firstfruits of their livestock, by dedicating animals to God that would have otherwise been used for food or for securing profit through labor. As an act of worship—as a lived-out demonstration that they regarded God as more worthy than their own possessions—like David (cf. 2 Sam 24:24), they gave God that which cost them something.

The one who recognized God’s worth above all things and thus could part gladly and even eagerly with a portion of what God had given to him. And because that was the heart attitude of a faithful worshiper who brought a sacrifice to God, when the odor of the burnt flesh of an ox or a bull or a ram ascended into the heavens, rather than a disgusting stench, the text says it reached the nostrils of God and was to Him a soothing aroma—a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. Continue reading

Luke 12:32-34

Part 1

Many people are afraid to give because they’re afraid they won’t have enough themselves or that they’ll miss out on something in the future. In this lab, Dr. John Piper highlights the liberating promise that God is a providing shepherd, father, and king. Therefore, we can give freely and generously.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:01)

God Knows Your Needs (01:01–03:59)
What should you not be afraid of (Luke 12:32)? You are not to fear the consequences of giving.
You are not to fear being without our basic necessities. God knows everything you need. (Luke 12:29–31)
Jesus overcomes this fear by reminding us that we have a good Shepherd, a good Father, and a good King.
Therefore, give. Be generous.

Sell Your Possessions (03:59–07:35)
If you don’t have cash to give, sell your possessions to get some. (Luke 12:33)
Jesus is not against possessions. We know this because Jesus is simply putting your possessions into someone else’s hands. He’s not prohibiting possessions. (Luke 12:33)
We should hold our possessions so loosely that we are willing to let them go if others are in need.
Being a generous and compassionate person is what shows you are a member of this flock, this family, and this kingdom. And that is because this Shepherd, this Father, and this King delights to give. (Luke 12:32)
If you have a God like this, you can afford to live simply and generously. (Luke 12:32–33)

Closing Prayer and Commission (07:35–08:02)
God, make us the kind of people that prove by our giving that we are sheep of such a shepherd, children of such a father, subjects of such a king. I pray this through Christ, Amen.

Luke 12-32–34, Part 1 from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Part 2

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” What we treasure has massive implications for the health and security of our hearts. In this lab, John Piper explains why treasure in heaven will satisfy us more than any other, and shows us the pathway to more of the joy found in Jesus.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:58)

We are sheep of a great shepherd, children of a great father, and subjects of a great king. This shepherd/father/king delights to give, so we also should be generous toward those in need.

The Treasure in Heaven (Luke 12:33) (01:58–04:03)
This treasure will not be lost (“grow old”).
This treasure will not fail.
This treasure will not be stolen (“no thief”).
This treasure will not be ruined (“no moth destroys”).
The Treasure in Your Heart (04:03–06:09)

The heart is the emotional barometer of the value and security of the treasure (Luke 12:34). If your treasure is vulnerable, your joy is vulnerable. If your treasure is secure, your joy is secure. If your treasure is great, your joy is great.

Your heart follows your treasure, wherever and however it leads. Your heart rises and falls with the quality and security of what you treasure.
The full, trustworthy, satisfying treasure in heaven is God — himself, his Son, his kingdom.

Generosity and Joy (06:09–10:19)
Giving to the needy is providing yourself with a never-failing treasure. Generosity is the way you have this treasure. (Luke 12:33)
You do not earn the kingdom (the treasure). You confirm that you are a person with this treasure by your generosity.
You confirm that God is your treasure, and you increase your treasure, and therefore your joy (Luke 6:38). In God’s economy, there is a correlation between our generosity and our joy.
Therefore, do not be afraid. Let’s sell what we need to in order to give all we can.

Luke 12:32–34, Part 2 // Seek the Treasure That Will Not Fail from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Sacrificial Giving

money8Vance Christie, in an article entitled William Booth delivered a stirring challenge at London’s Exeter Hall, encouraging support of the Salvation Army so it could expand its ministries around the globe. In the audience sat Salvation Army Major John Carleton, a one-time Irish textile executive. He was surrounded by wealthy “civilians” who jotted lavish sums on their “canaries,” the Army’s term for the yellow pledge cards individuals submitted.

Carleton was already living on a shoestring budget. Unlike the well-to-do people all around him, he had no discretionary funds with which to work. Suddenly he was struck with an idea of how he could contribute to this special offering. On his pledge card he wrote: “By going without pudding every day for a year, I calculate I can save 50 shillings. This I will do, and will remit the amount named as quickly as possible.”

This offer touched Booth more deeply than any of the generous pledges made that day. But the thought of one of his officers skimping on his meals for an entire year did not set well with him. The next morning he burst into the office where his son Bramwell and Major Carleton were working. He had come up with a unique plan of his own. No member of the Salvation Army should have to go without something for an entire year. Instead, they could all unite to deny themselves some normal expense for a week and donate the money saved to Army funds.

The first Self-Denial Week was confined to the United Kingdom and raised a whopping 4,820 pounds (equaling over $24,000). To Booth’s delight, the bulk of that amount came in pennies and halfpennies. His aides were troubled by the scarcity of gold coins but the General stated enthusiastically, “Never mind! There is plenty of copper.” He realized that many had given their coppers at greater sacrifice to themselves than when gold and silver coins were contributed by wealthier individuals.

Self-Denial Week became an annual event in the Salvation Army. It was observed wherever Salvationists ministered throughout the world and came to be held one week each spring. Booth always contributed ten pounds to the special offering. Despite his overwhelming schedule, he kept bees and invested the proceeds from the honey sales to the cause. Bramwell and his family lived on bread and water for a week to support the fund. Officers trimmed each other’s hair to save a sixpenny which could then be donated.

When the Salvation Army came to Zululand in South Africa’s eastern republic of Natal, an elderly, half-blind Zulu widow named Maria begged a local farmer for a single week’s work hoeing Indian corn. Touched by her strong faith and desire, he eventually consented, stipulating that this woman in her eighties could work in the fields for a week at the same rate as the village girls—sixpence a day and her food.

During the service at the Army hall the following Sunday morning, the presiding officer invited congregants to present their Self-Denial offering envelopes at the altar. Led by the hand by a young girl, Maria made her way to the altar with an envelope containing her week’s wages. Kneeling, she lifted her largely sightless eyes heavenward and prayed: “Lord Jesus, take my gift. I wish it were more, but it is all I have. May this help You to send light to people who are in greater darkness than I am.”