Why Should We Give to God?

Jonathan Griffiths
header for Why Should We Give to God?

The implications of God’s independence touch our giving. It is interesting to consider why we give to the work of the gospel. Have you ever paused to consider why God has set things up in this way—that His work in reaching the nations with the good news of Jesus should happen through the gifts of His people? If we know anything about God’s independence, we know He is not reliant upon us for anything, and this must, of course, include our giving. After all, the whole world is His.

Let us consider the words of the psalmist, “I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps. 50:9–10). Psalm 24 expresses the same thought: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers” (Ps. 24:1–2). We certainly do not give to the Lord and His work because He needs our money. There must, therefore, be something else going on, some other dynamic at play.

We are given a helpful insight into this dynamic in a wonderful passage in 1 Chronicles 29. The people of Israel have just given very generously to the work of building the temple, and King David is moved to cry out in praise to the Lord:

“David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.” (vv. 10–16)

If you believe that you are giving to the Lord because He needs it, your giving will only go so far. If any of us give in that way, we will only balance the Lord’s imagined needs with what we sense are our own needs (and maybe the desire for our next vacation or new car will win out). Similarly, if you give money that you believe belongs to you, you will give reluctantly, and when you do give, you will always be tempted to self-congratulate. But David modeled for us a different understanding and a different outlook. Everything in the world belongs to the Lord. All our assets are His. What a privilege it is, therefore, to be able to participate in the Lord’s work by giving back to Him what is already His. He has enabled us to give so that we might have an opportunity to declare and display something of His majesty and His worth.

Our giving, then, reflects the vision and comprehension we have of God Himself.

Our giving, then, reflects the vision and comprehension we have of God Himself. Rather than being about us, it is about understanding who He is, the glorious Creator and all-sufficient One. The Lord, wonderfully, gives us freedom in this, but our challenge is to pray over the question: What does our giving reveal of our understanding of God? Does our giving reflect the fact that He is worthy of all glory and honor? God does not need our money; but what we do with our money reveals a great deal of what we think of Him.

A lovely old hymn written by William Walsham How is not sung very often anymore, but it captures so well the truth we have been considering:

We give thee but thine own, whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee.

May we thy bounties thus
as stewards true receive
and gladly, as thou blessest us, to thee our first fruits give.[1]

[1] William Walsham How, “We Give Thee But Thine Own,” Hymnary .org, 1858, https://hymnary.org/text/we_give_thee_but_thine_own.

For Further Reading:

God Alone

by Jonathan Griffiths

Our constant danger is that we have a view of God that is too small. We are living in a me-focused, treat-yourself world—a world that...

book cover for God Alone