The actual stimulus of giving to others must come from a good relationship with the Lord Jesus and our complete surrender to Him. That is the basis that leads to sincere service, to being a servant the way God’s Word shows us.
In 2 Corinthians 9:1 the Bible speaks of service to the saints (fellow believers). Our giving proves our love for God, but also for our fellow believers. The needy in our church should not be ignored, which would be contrary to God’s justice (2 Corinthians 9:11). Giving is a matter of the heart!
Pure and undefiled religion for God
Today, as a church fellowship, we are confronted with many people who are in need in this world. Now pure and undefiled religion for God, the Father, is this: “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). God makes it clear to us that He wants us, as an expression of His heart, to take care of orphans and widows. We are to be socially concerned and connected with people in need; those who are nearby, but also those geographically further away.
Both in the Old and New Testaments we see that God promises special grace to people who show compassion with the poor. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17).
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus says to His disciples: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven“. How do we let our light shine? By the good works as acts of grace, for “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
The unlimited grace of God
For children of God it is about living out of the unlimited grace that He gives us. His grace that enables us to be abundant in every good work. That is why God makes His abundance available to us. It is not for selfish and worldly pleasure, but for doing good works.
Note that social compassion is not separate from spiritual care and compassion. The closer these two are practically integrated, the more wholesome the effect will be. If we are confronted with people with distressing needs, in particular those at distance from us, we can ask ourselves to what extent we can take responsibility for them and how can we really help? How we can provide practically, by collaborating with local churches and believers? By personally going or by making it possible for others to go? In this way we can also invest in God’s Kingdom.
Following the example of Paul
Paul gave himself completely, he says: “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8). Following his example, we could reach many more people if we resist waiting for perceived abundance but allow ourselves to be used where we are now as channels through which His abundant grace can flow. He gives us EVERYTHING we need if we first seek His Kingdom: “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Building on this promise, we may function as a co-laborer in His Kingdom. If we ask Him for advice, He will show us the way and teach us how to invest in the way He intends (Psalm 32:8).