Daily Discipline #123
By Colleen Donahue
We can afford to be the most generous people in the world when we're related to the King of the universe. God gives to us that we might be the provider for others. Our giving (of time, talents, and money) is God's pipeline to the world and reflects his own generous heart. But like every good and Godly act, it can be abused. Jesus included some clear instruction for us as we pursue a life long habit of giving.
God Gives To Us So We Can Provide For Others - Matthew 6:1-4 / 19-21
Day 1- This section on giving starts with a warning.
Giving -- as good as it is -- is an activity that can have many motives behind it. When we give to be seen by men we are giving to glorify ourselves. We want to feel important or honored as a benevolent citizen or friend. When we give like this, the world sees our generosity and honors us for it. We get an instant reward here and now and we feel good.
But, the warning in this verse is that giving of this kind will have no credence with our Father in Heaven. We have our reward on earth and therefore there will be nothing more for us after this. The reward which God has for every generous act will be put aside because we have already accepted a temporal reward.
We are an instant society that likes to see the fruit of our giving -- NOW. But to be openly honored for it on earth negates it in Heaven.
Day 2- Is giving optional for a child of God? The answer lies in the short phrase repeated twice in these verses.
Notice it says "when you give" not "if you give."
Day 3- Giving for a child of God is a natural outpouring of the love of God within us. As God blesses us we are to bless others.
Deuteronomy 15:14 / Deuteronomy 16:17
Day 4- WHO does Jesus direct us to give to?
Matthew 6:2-3 / Luke 12:33 / Proverbs 21:13 / Proverbs 28:27
Note: The poor and the needy are people that won't be able to pay us back. If we give just to receive back, then our giving is only a business transaction.
Day 5- Finally, Jesus addresses HOW we are to give. He first warns us NOT to be like the hypocrites. How did they do their giving? Reread:
Day 6- How is our giving to be done?
Matthew 6: 3-4
A secret is something that nobody knows but you. The power of giving can even be leaked away when we tell one or two others about it. Just the telling of a few people can give us the satisfaction that we crave and hence the warning -- be careful!
NOTE: The example given of not having our right hand know what our left is doing shows that even within ourselves there is danger of taking God's glory out of the giving.
Day 7- Now here is a wonderful "secret" in verse 4 to remember. Our Father knows all things. He alone sees all the secret things in this world. He knows all about your giving and WILL REWARD YOU -- not "might" reward you or possibly have a reward for you. He WILL DO IT. God always keeps his word!
Psalm 145:13b / Numbers 23:19
We can be free to give our our time, talents, and money if we take hold of this important teaching on....
Treasures on Earth vs. Heaven -- Matthew 6: 19-21
Day 8- In these three verses Jesus gives us two commands. What is the first one?
Notice He is not saying that we cannot use the treasures and good things of this earth. Second, He isn't saying we can't store up "treasure" to give to others. What is the problem that Jesus is addressing here?
Day 9- When we are busy saving up things for ourselves (because "we might need them"), what false thinking are we likely to fall into?
Luke 12: 19-20
Selfishness and greed is at the bottom of storing up earthly things and is a symptom of lack of trust in God. We want our own "back up system" in case God fails. But what is the result of trusting in our own riches?
Day 10- As God's children, we are meant to look to him for all that we need. That means we are dependent upon HIM and not on our own efforts. It's just like a child depends upon his parent. What is promised us by God?
1 Timothy 6:17 / Luke 12: 29-32
Day 11- Now reread these verses for clarification of what is meant by treasures on earth.
Therefore anything that wears out, erodes, spoils, or can get stolen will be treasures that won't last.
Day 12- The Lord's second comment is the opposite of the first. We are now encouraged to store up treasures in Heaven AND this is something we can only do for ourselves. We can't store up treasures for anyone else, so how do WE store up treasure in Heaven?
Matthew 19:21 / Luke 12:33 / 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Day 13- And how do we know what our treasure or inheritance actually is?
A) It is discovered by spiritual vision
Ephesians 1: 8-9
B) It is given in answer to prayer
2 Kings 6:17
C) It's revealed to believers by the Holy Spirit
Day 14- How can we tell whether this world or the Kingdom of God is most important to a man?
In this verse the word for heart is from the Greek word "chanah" meaning to encamp, dwell, or to rest in a tent.
We either live as though our home was in Heaven, or we live on this earth and are completely occupied with it.
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