Why Should I “Give Back” if God Already Owns it All?

by GenerousChurch  |  November 12, 2013

Don’t you love rationalizations?  We all use them.  When we’re looking for an excuse to do the things that we want to do, we’ll find one.  Pastor Fred Luter once said, “If opportunity knocks, temptation leans on the doorbell.”  In other words, temptation has a way of hanging around until we figure out how to feel okay about giving in.

When it comes to the temptation toward greed, this question is a classic rationalization.  Why would I give to God if He already owns everything?  If He gave it to me, why should I give it back?  Was He just joking when He gave it the first time?

If you’re asking this questions facetiously, or as a way to rationalize greed, there may not be any good answers to this question.

But, for those who ask this question honestly, let’s look at some honest answers.

1. It is an imitation of God.
Ultimately, God wants us to think and act like Him.  This is not arrogance on God’s part…it’s just logical.  If He knows how to live the best, most enjoyable life possible, why would He want us to act otherwise?  It’s kind of like my relationship with my daughter.  At an early age, I taught her to wash her hands before she would eat.  I taught her this because I had information that she didn’t.  I knew that washing her hands would prevent some types of illnesses.  I knew that good health would ultimately increase her happiness.  So, I taught her to imitate my hand-washing…for her own health and happiness. 

God is a giver.  Regardless of how you read the Bible, you cannot honestly read Scripture without noticing the generosity of God.  It’s seen in His willingness to love those who are seemingly unlovable.  It’s seen in His decision to take on our flesh and die in our place.  It’s seen in every book of the Bible.  God is generous.  So, if for no other reason, we should give back to God in order to imitate His generous nature.

2. Generosity is the antidote for greed.
Granted, none of us think we are greedy.  But, let’s be honest.  Greed is a regular part of our lives.  Sometimes it is seen in the way we treat others.  We may not intend to be cruel to them, but we simple place “good time management” above helping someone else.  Think of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Two upstanding men passed by the injured traveler…not out of cruelty, but out of greed.  They decided their agendas were more important than his health, so they kept walking.

We all have a certain amount of this “greed-gene” in us.  It’s human nature.  And for all of you who just thought, “We can’t put others first all of the time…” you just validated my point.  

So, God asks us to give back in order to counteract our inherent greediness.  Generosity is the antidote for greed.

3. Generosity creates and sustains community.
In a recent article about the growth of an Athiest church, one point is radically apparent: We need community.  We need meaningful interaction with other people on a regular basis.  While greed extinguishes community, giving opens the door for community development.  Remarkable relationships often develop because one party was willing to stretch out their hand and offer help to a neighbor.  Generosity makes us feel good about ourselves and it also makes us feel better about the people around us.  It’s a natural way to create friendships and develop community.

Additionally, giving sustains community.  It’s through the give and take of life that we maintain healthy relationships.  So, go ahead…give back…and strengthen the world in the process.

4. Giving back teaches us to trust God.
Not only does giving teach us to trust in God as our provider (instead of income streams), but it teaches us to listen to the Holy Spirit.  In other words, as we trust the Holy Spirit to guide our giving, we learn to hear the voice of God and step out on faith.  Giving opens our spiritual ears and our spiritual eyes to ways that God wants to employ us in His mission.  And the better we recognize His voice, the more we trust Him.

What would you add to, or strike off of, this list?  Let us know in the comments below…and please…no rationalizations for greed Wink

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Good list. One interesting thing is that many times the command in the Bible is to "bring" the tithe -- the idea that I cannot give what is not mine in the first place. But, I can willfully bring it back and return it to the One that gives all things.

A second thought as well -- sometimes God will take what's given and multiply it before our eyes. Typically though, the blessing only comes after going through the hands of the Master. I know if God is going to ask me about what I did with my resources when I stand before Him in heaven, I want a better answer than "dug a hole and put it in the ground." Peace.
November 12, 2013 - 04:08:42 PM
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