And He says love me, love me with your whole heart
He wants it all today
Serve me, serve me with your life now
He wants it all today
Bow down, let go of your idols
He wants it all today
Forever Jones, He Wants It All
When the members of the body of Christ generously contribute to the mission of the Church, we grow together and become more like the Giver of our gifts, and we contribute to God’s plan to reach those in need. Paul explains the purpose of our gifts in Ephesians 4:
. . . so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:9-13)
Our maturity occurs when we “reach unity in the faith” by contributing to each other’s growth. Generously investing our time, talent, and treasure in the local church context matures you and others. Jesus distributed various gifts and abilities to each believer in the church so that when we exercise them in the local church, each member matures.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
It takes time to grow with others so that we benefit from who they are. Our presence is an effective way to bless others. The writer of Hebrews encourages his audience to lift each other up, increasingly. Spending time with others in the local church, whether that time is structured or not, allows us to benefit from the diversity of gifts and backgrounds of each member. We enrich ourselves and others when we give our time.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:12)
Christ gave spiritual gifts, through the Holy Spirit, for the Church. We receive these gifts when we begin a new life with Jesus. We are born with natural abilities. On a track and field team, athletes have various natural abilities and body types which make certain events come naturally, while others are difficult. Regardless of their particular talents, they exert their energies to contribute points for their team to win. You may be skilled in counseling, accounting, architecture or teaching. Your particular talent is essential for the church to grow. Spiritual gifts empower the church to bring out all of the dimensions that we see Jesus demonstrates in his ministry. Spiritual gifts include: teaching, healing, praying, preaching, serving, helping, prophesying, demonstrating wisdom, discernment and a host of other supernaturally empowered abilities (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11-12)
The local church gathers believers and mobilizes them to exercise their gifts in an organized and dynamic way that reaches the lost, encourages the saints, and meets needs for both. Your unique natural talents and supernatural gifts combine to make you an indispensable contributor to God’s kingdom. When we invest our talents and gifts for eternal purposes, it also enhances a personal sense of fulfillment and meaning for our lives. The various ministries of the church cultivate opportunities to put your abilities to use. You are equipped to build up the body, and to be built up by it.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)
Because God enjoys giving gifts, we can enjoy giving as well. God provides for our needs so we can provide the needs of others. Seeing God as a good giver, who entrusts us with the privilege to contribute to his work in the world, transforms our perspective on giving. Jesus teaches:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Expressing generosity with our finances affords us the opportunity to invest in ways that will grant spiritual dividends in the life to come. tweet
When we give to our local church, the congregation has more capacity to reach, heal, and help more people. Our checking and saving accounts become the resource of spiritual renewal in our congregations, neighborhoods, and nations. Giving also transplants our hopes and affections from temporal concerns to eternal ones.
Paul writes, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) When we trust God in our generosity, he entrusts us with more to give. Fear of not having what we need can hold us back from being generous. Faith that God provides for us is the remedy to fear of not having enough.
A few things to keep in mind about giving:
- Generosity starts with a joyful attitude. We have the honor and privilege to invest in God’s kingdom. Giving is an act of worship that declares, “God has blessed me, and will do it again!”
- Intentionality informs our giving. Paul instructs us to give “what you have decided in your heart … not under compulsion.” Identifying a faith goal to give is an ideal starting place.
- Generosity involves consistency. Throughout the Bible, people gave “as God blessed them.” The habit of generosity involves giving what we have regularly and proportionally.
Generous fellowship begins with the meditation that God gives his people gifts to build up his church. When we invest our time, talents, and treasures in the church, everyone grows in maturity. God gave us our gifts so we could serve our communities and display the grace and truth of Jesus. We have the choice to be faithful managers who generously offer our gifts in service to others.
- If unity and maturity in the local church require that everyone contributes something, how does that inform the importance of your contribution to the local church?
- Which aspect of generosity comes easiest to you: time, talent, or treasure?
- Which aspect might God be calling you to grow in: time, talent or treasure?
- Make a specific commitment to increase in giving your time, talent and treasure right now for 30 days.
Written by: Rasool Berry
Edited by: Christina Utley