The best decisions in life are made when we live by the right principles. While emotions often mislead us, right principles never will.
In Acts 20 we find a great life principle:
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. ’” — Acts 20:35 (NIV)
In these verses Paul reminded us of a life principle given to us by Jesus.
Again, a life principle is a truth that is to guide the way we live — a truth that should direct us in all our decisions.
Here we're taught the “giving principle.”
This life principle has been studied, researched and proven to be true. According to numerous studies, people who give generously and regularly are happier, healthier and less stressed. They report a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life. And they also make a difference with their lives — they live more impacting lives.
This, I believe, is a major reason God gave us the commandment of tithing. His command to return the first ten percent of what He has provided to us gets us started on the pathway of giving. He commands us to do this so that we can't excuse ourselves from the giving act. He knows that once we get started giving, we'll forever be hooked on it and blessed by it.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. — Malachi 3:10 (NIV)
It's true, tithing brings blessings. I recently read a research study that compared people who tithed to those who don't on nine financial health measurements. The tithing group was heathier and stronger in every area.
Giving truly is a blessing. There's great joy in giving!
So how do we experience the joy of giving? Here are 5 things to think about:
1. Believe in the life principle of giving.
Accept it as fact. It's not just a nice statement, it's a true life principle. It is “more blessed to give than to receive.”
2. Personally obey it.
Let it become a practice and guiding principle in your life. It's interesting how many people talk about faith and about doing something great for God, and yet fail to practice this basics of giving. CONSISTENT GIVING PROVES REAL FAITH MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE!
3. Give for the right reasons.
Give to honor God, to advance His church and Kingdom, and to be a blessing.
4. Give wholeheartedly and holistically.
Be cheerful when you give. Don't give grudgingly or in part. Embrace the principle in all areas of your life. Give of your time, treasure and talents.
5. Keep growing as a giver.
Don't continue to live at the same giving level. Enlarge and increase your faith by expanding your giving.
WE ARE NEVER MORE LIKE GOD THAN WHEN WE GIVE!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16 (NIV)
Learn the joy of giving!