What if we made our giving a habit of joy and fulfillment in the Lord? What if we invested in the Kingdom of God according to the Spirit of God?
Recently, we celebrated the birth of Jesus during the Christmas holiday season. Traditionally, a primary focus of this special time is the gift of giving. Whether this includes giving gifts of food, friendship, finances, or service—giving is invaluable. Yet, why do we so often wait until the holiday season to embrace the joy of giving when we can give year-round?
Vision and Investment
“Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10
Giving is an integral part of our Christian lives. God has blessed each of us with different talents and abilities. He desires our gratitude and honorable stewardship with all that He has given us. When we consider the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, it is important to recognize that the gift given back to the good stewards was multiplied in Kingdom reward. It’s not about us, but about others knowing God through our tangible love.
No person is closer to the heart of God than one who is a true “giver.” These individuals recognize that what they have is not their own. Just as Jesus cares so deeply for each and every soul, we must prioritize others, esteeming them higher than ourselves for the sake of the Gospel. People are worth our investment, and we must give out of abundance rather than hoarding away the riches we’ve been so generously given by the Father.
“They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NLT
Giving Increases Joy
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
We have all heard the phrase, “It’s better to give than to receive,” (maybe without realizing its biblical roots) and interestingly, this tends to be true for those who give; the joy of giving frequently outweighs the gratification of receiving gifts. In fact, according to an American Psychological Association article, studies have shown the following:
“Gift-giving activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a ‘warm glow’ effect.”
In consideration of our own feelings around giving, we might simply ponder how we’ve felt when we gave someone something; has giving made us happy, stressed, indifferent, or something else? In a recent interview on NPR, Dr. Michael Norton also noted that acts of giving “increase happiness” and are “fundamental for good relationships.”
Perhaps this is a reason we experience so much joy and warmth around Christmas time; we are releasing oxytocin, a ‘happy hormone,’ through our extra giving. But what if we focused more on that experience year-round with a lifelong vision in mind, rather than only during the Christmas season? What if we made our giving a habit of joy and fulfillment in the Lord? What if we invested in the Kingdom of God according to the Spirit of God?
What should we give?
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.’” 2 Corinthians 9:7
While giving often looks different for every person, we are called to give in abundance and joy, creating a unique Kingdom richness that is transformative and irrevocable. Through our time, our talents, and our treasures – our gifts to others from the Lord matter.
Earthly time, our most valuable asset, is finite, yet holds a much weightier meaning in light of an infinite heavenly perspective. This is something we often disregard because we believe that we give others adequate amounts of our time; we might check the boxes of going to church, being kind to others, and doing our jobs honorably. And while these are all good things, they are still all too often missing the gift of intentional time—and the ability to be interrupted.
Jesus was the most interruptible person; he offered others the abundance of His time. Wherever he was going, no matter the task, he allowed himself to pause, be interrupted, listen, and serve. This is the heart of the Father; He always has time for us. Likewise, we should open our hearts toward others through our time and attention.
What treasures we have for others through our God-given gifts! Whether an anointing in song, encouragement, missions, teaching or evangelism—each talent is important for the Kingdom. The Body of Christ is made up of these beautiful gifts among God’s people, made to work together in synergy and created to be lavished upon others for the glory of God.
May we embrace our talents in the Lord, not for our own praise, but for Jesus, that we will always bless others for the sake of their salvation and sanctification. Unto the Lord, our gifts are uniquely beautiful, blessed, and created for those around us.
Monetary giving is a wonderful way to supply the Kingdom, especially due to the fact that not everyone can serve in full-time missions or ministry. Nevertheless, the benefit of the Body of Christ is that those who are not called to these roles can invest their gift of financial support to the individuals who are. It is a great reassurance to know that faithful donors support Kingdom work and share the same vision and satisfaction knowing that the Lord is being honored through their gift.
As for those who give more of their time and talent because their financial circumstances make it difficult to give monetarily, options exist for planned giving and legacy giving. Whether through a planned portion of each paycheck, or a legacy of accumulated funds to a missions organization written into a will, every dollar toward the Great Commission matters. It should not be our goal to be the richest person buried in the cemetery.
Take Action: Give in Abundance
Humanitarian and evangelistic ministries have ongoing needs throughout the year. Let’s not wait until another year rolls around for Christmas or year-end giving before providing our support. Rather, let's put on the garment of faithfulness, stewardship, and generosity now—embracing the joy of giving in all aspects, starting today and lasting throughout our lives.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Thitaree Sarmkasat
Bob Burckle is the President of EEM, which has been delivering God’s Word to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 25 languages. In 2023, EEM provided nearly 2 million Bibles and other biblical materials in multiple languages throughout the region. Learn how you can help at eem.org.