MinistryCPA Special Topic: God Considers All Acts of Generosity as His Own and as Directed From Him and to Him
Three Christian teens from a church youth group heard at school one morning that the Lance and Britney Kramer family in their community lost all their possessions in a fire the night before. They began talking about what they could do to help and by the afternoon had gained widespread support from their friends and even from many of the school teachers and staff. They agreed to give every hour of free time in the next seven days to pursuing odd jobs, selling stuff they really could do without, and soliciting donations from people in the community.
It worked! At the end of the week the three teens made a public presentation to the family of money, clothes and furnishings. A lot of people showed up to the apartment building that was the new home of the Kramers; even the local news people were on hand. Lance and Britney and their kids were overwhelmed. One of the teens gave a short speech: “It’s great that we could get so much stuff in so short a time, but we did a lot of work. I, for one, didn’t get much sleep. Fortunately, we can work fast and get others to see things our way. All three of us are glad it’s over, but we’re especially glad that the Kramers can get a big boost in their start to rebuild their lives.” Everyone clapped for the teens. One boy even gave the celebration dance that was his trademark cheer at the school’s athletic events! A lot of good was done, but what is wrong with this scene? What would you change?
Our detailed answer below falls into three categories:
- The three teens in our story are Christians who have the God-given ability to see and understand that He enabled them to gather the gifts that were presented to the Kramers. They did work hard, but God deserves the credit for even that! The opportunity to publicly present the fruits of their labors to others was also an opportunity to give glory and thanksgiving to God. Instead, the accolades were directed upon themselves.
- Were He to make the presentation, God would claim to have met the Kramers' needs Himself even though everyone in attendance would recognize the effort the teens gave.
- God would accept the gifts presented as if the teens had given them directly to Him.
Whether they be generous gifts to God’s work and His workers, or acts of benevolence toward families such as the Kramers, God considers the actions of His children as His own. As David prepared for the eventual building of the temple by his son, Solomon, both he and the people gave generously. David responded by leading the congregation of Israel in praise to God for His gifts that enable the responsive generosity demonstrated that day by God’s people.
Jesus communicated that acts of giving to others’ needs are interpreted by God as intended directly to meet His “needs.” Recorded in Matthew 25, Jesus spoke of a King—Himself at the judgment hall that all mankind will enter as defendants. The King welcomed some into His kingdom and cursed others to everlasting fire. He made His proclamation based on whether they did or did not minister to His personal needs. The King said to the righteous, “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.” The King said to the condemned, “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in.” In the parable, both the generous and the stingy defendants protested that they did not recall a time in their lives when they had opportunities to do these things. The King responded to them both, “Inasmuch as ye have done it (or “done it not”) unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it (or “ye did it not”) unto me.”
Solomon wrote the Proverb: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Proverbs 19.17). The “loan” is made to God; He promises to repay it!