“If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of the gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:” —Deuteronomy 15:7
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:1-4; 23:1-12; Exodus 36:1-7
True worship results from the desire to serve God. Worship spawned from any other motivation is idolatry. If we’re more concerned about being in man’s spotlight than in God’s, we’ve forsaken the call to seek the Kingdom first. This principle is especially true when it comes to our giving.
Money is one of the most talked-about subjects in the Bible and for good reason. Where and why we spend our money indicates the condition of our heart (Matthew 6:21). Therefore, it stands to reason that our perception and participation in giving also indicates our heart’s condition.
On a foundational level, there are only two sources we can seek to please through our giving—God and ourselves, if we’re striving to please God, then we’ll give in a way that glorifies Him. if we’re striving to please ourselves, then our giving will attract the attention of others. Regardless of the choice we make—pleasing self or pleasing God—our giving has eternal consequences.
Because giving has eternal consequences, we need to possess an eternal perspective toward giving. The fullness of God’s rewards aren’t available to us today. Even though our giving will have earthly blessings, the ultimate blessings lie in eternity. Also, to inherit eternal blessings, we’ve got to be willing to forsake the blessings of man.
Even more, God is looking for sacrificial giving—giving that actually costs us something. It’s one thing to give money to the poor, but it’s something totally different to give money to the poor that was saved for a family vacation. This isn’t to say that we’re never to spend money on ourselves, but that giving isn’t sacrificial until it cost us something.
- Why does Jesus condemn the desire to receive man’s glory, instead of the Father’s? Matthew 6:24; 20:24-29; 1 Corinthians 3:1-8, 18-23.
- In what ways can we “sound a trumpet” to bring attention to our giving (Matthew 6:2)? Does this make us a hypocrite? Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40.
- Is the reward of man and the reward of God mutually exclusive? Deuteronomy 16:19-20; Isaiah 1:23; Daniel 5:16-17; Matthew 6:2-4; Colossians 3:13.
Note: Those who seek man’s reward receive the rewards of men. God will add nothing to it because He gives His reward to those who have sought heavenly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21).
- What does the first phrase of Matthew 6:2-3 tell us about Christ’s expectation of giving? Explore the principles of Acts 2:42-45, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, Philippians 4:10-19, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, and Mark 12:41-44.
- What does Scripture say about giving from a pure heart and what attitude should accompany our giving? Luke 11:37-42; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Deuteronomy 15:7-11.
- What guidelines should we follow in our giving? Deuteronomy 16:17; Ecclesiastes 11:1; Romans 12:8; Malachi 3:8-10; Proverbs 21:14. Discuss ways of giving offerings in secret and in simplicity.
- What is our Christian obligation to the poor and needy? Leviticus 25:35-38; James 1:27. What are the consequences of ignoring this obligation? Proverbs 11:24, 28; 21:13; 28:27.
This week, give a sacrificial gift of money over and above your regular tithes and ask yourself three questions: “Am I giving as much as God wants me to give?” “Am I giving for the right reasons?” and “Am I bringing glory to God in every way?”