Having just come through the time of year when, more than ever, we have received a barrage of information on how to give more and have it cost us less, we could do well to review what the Scriptures teach on the topic.
Giving, we will remember, is the responsible privilege of all who acknowledge Christ as Savior. Scripture indicates that giving is to be:
• A demonstration of who/what has our heart (Luke 12:22_34).
• In gratitude and love (II Corinthians 8:1_8).
• In proportion to what we have received (II Corinthians 8:11_12).
• Done cheerfully (II Corinthians 9:7).
An exciting account of these principles has been preserved for us in
II Corinthians 8:1_5. Note, first, in verse 5 that the believers in Macedonia ". . . first gave their own selves to the Lord . . ."; then (v.2) "from their . . . great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality." Paul goes on to tell us that they gave "beyond their power" being first "willing of themselves." This resulted in a gift so far beyond what could humanly have been given that they (the believers in Macedonia) had to (v.4) plead with Paul to take it—Paul believing that this amount was too great a sacrifice.
The foregoing Scripture unmistakably teaches that the source of God-honoring giving comes from a willing and overflowing heart—not from tax considerations. However, let us not be hasty to condemn tax-wise giving lest we miss a significant stewardship opportunity. Giving from such a heart, then using available tax deductions to maximize one's giving is, I believe, one of the responsibilities/opportunities entrusted to a steward and one for which he or she can expect to hear "well done."