To give or not to give? This is a reasonable question; however, I don’t see it as being ‘the’ question when it comes to our giving.
Why to give is another good question, although I think, still not ‘the’ question…I’ll get to that in a moment. The “why” points us to considering stewardship as part of our reason to give or not to give. We can give because the church or charity needs our gift and that is a good place to start when asking “why” should I give? We can give because we hope our giving will make a difference in the lives of others, be it giving time to God in praying for others, or serving the poor, or giving financial gifts to a cause we feel passionate about. Desiring to make a difference is a noble “why” to give.
Consider for a moment the familiar scripture story of the poor widow and her gift to the temple treasury. She gave just two small coins and Jesus said, “I tell you that this poor woman has put in more than all the others” (Luke 21:3). The ‘others’ of course being the rich people who were tossing their gifts into the treasury. Why did she give? I don’t think she gave because she felt the temple needed her gift. I don’t imagine she gave believing that her gift would have a huge impact. We know why she gave. Her love for God and gratitude inspired her to give all that she had. (Luke 21:4) This poor widow must have experienced much joy in making her gift because when love for God and gratitude are behind the gift joy naturally accompanies the act of giving.
As stewardship leaders, we do well to inspire a need to give in gratitude as the “why” for giving.
Stewardship is all about needed to give,
more than giving to a need.
Still, before we inspire the “why” to give, start with “whose is it” that we give. Stewardship reminds me that anything I can accumulate or accomplish in my life is not of my own doing, is not mine, and not for my glory. It all comes from and belongs to God, and is for his glory.
But why should we be happy that we have given you these gifts? They belong to you, and we have only given back what is already yours. But we are happy, because everyone has voluntarily given you these things. You know what is in everyone’s heart, and you are pleased when people are honest.
1 Chronicles 29:14,17
I would suggest that while good stewardship does indeed call us to carefully consider “what” we should give, or “where” we should give, and “why” we should give;