Another year has rolled around, and it is almost Commitment Sunday at my church again. I thought about pulling my post out from last year and re-posting it, but I realized I’ve grown by leaps and bounds in my understanding from last year. I decided I wanted, no, I needed, to write these words down so I would remember what God has taught me.
Over the last few weeks, the Bible class lessons and sermons at my church have been on stewardship. I’ve learned things I never knew before. One thing in particular startled me. There are several words we are used to seeing in Scripture. Words such as believe, pray, love, and give, along with many others. Out of those words, the word give appears the most times, 2,162 to be exact.
I would have thought some of those other words might be more important. Like believe, maybe. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This verse from Scripture is considered the go-to verse for those leading others to Christ, and it has the word believe in it. So, how many times does this word appear in Scripture? Only 272.
What about love? There are so many examples of this I hesitate to post examples for fear I would miss something, but here are just a few. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This example, of course, comes out of the famous love chapter in Scripture where the word appears many times. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” And finally, one of my favorites from 1 John 4:9. “We love because he first loved us.” There are many more examples. But, does this word appear in Scripture more than give? No, it appears 714 times.
Finally, here’s an example of the word pray in Scripture. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Prayer is something Jesus talks a lot about. It doesn’t appear more in Scripture though than give. It only appears 371 times.
So, what is it about that word give that is so important to God? I probably should give some examples from Scripture first. You’re familiar with the words from Matthew 6:11. “Give us today our daily bread.” Here’s another example from Luke 14:33. “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Proverbs 25:21 is another example that a lot of us cringe at. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” And finally, from 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
God means for us to give. He does not mean for us to be focused on ourselves. That is why the word appears so many times in Scripture. Let me repeat myself. God wants us to be focused on others. This is a hard thing to hear in today’s me focused society, and all of us who claim Christ face that challenge of where our focus should be each and every day. We should want to meet that challenge though and defeat it. We should want to show Whose we are to the world around us, and we can do that by what our giving priorities are whether that be money or time or a combination of both. Showing Whose I am by my giving priorities is the desire of my heart, and I pray that it is the desire of yours too.
I am going to quote some of what I wrote in last year’s blog post because I feel it even more strongly this year.
“Do we really want to win our world for Christ? Or is church and what we do at church just something to check off our list and not even the most important part of our list? I don’t want church or my faith to be something to check off a list. I want my life and my money to show what I really believe in. I want people to see Jesus in me. I might not be able to give as much money as someone else, but, from what I can give, money, as well as time, I want people to see what my priorities are. And my very first priority is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
God’s blessings on all of you today!