10 principals of biblical generosity

Fantastic article by Sheila Dolinger, philanthropy specialist at National Christian Foundation, that explains the biblical truths behind generosity and giving. It's a great reminder of what it means to have enough, be thankful in our abundance, and what to do with the excess...from a spiritual perspective.

  /  Biblical truths and principles

There are more than 2,300 verses in the Bible that reference the concept of giving, money, and possessions. That’s more than twice as many as any other subject. Clearly, from a biblical perspective, the way we approach these topics plays a central role in our faith.

At NCF, we believe biblical generosity is much more than a financial transaction. It’s a spiritual practice that has the power to transform every major area of our lives. When our giving is rooted in Scripture and responsive to God, we draw closer to his purpose for our life: bearing the image of Christ.

As we help givers establish a biblical foundation for their Giving Strategy, we encourage them to reflect on these 10 principles from Scripture that illustrate how our abundant God uses generosity to transform us and shape us into who he is calling us to be:

1. God is absolutely good | Genesis 1 & 2, John 3:16, 2 Peter 1:3

The care that God took in creation – to give us exactly what we needed and the ability to enjoy it – communicates unimaginable love and generosity. And after we mishandled that first gift, he gave his Son, the greatest gift history has ever witnessed. Beyond love and generosity, that gift also demonstrated God’s justice, mercy, and enduring trustworthiness to provide everything we need for life and godliness. When we trust this to be true, it is counted to us as righteousness.

2. God owns everything | Psalm 24:1-2, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

As Founder and Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, God holds the rights to all of it. That includes even us – our bodies, our minds, and our lives. Even when we had become slaves to sin, he redeemed us, paying with his Son’s life. We are doubly owned.

3. God created us to bear his image | Genesis 1:26-27, Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18

We are God’s children, made in his image and called to increasingly bear his likeness, to reflect his nature for the world to see. When we give to what matters most to God, we bring him glory and become more fully alive to the purposes he has for us.

4. Giving brings transformation | Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Timothy 6:17-19

We are called to be transformed, to allow God to shape our minds to the mind of Christ, to accept his view of the world, and to make our own thoughts obedient to his purposes. Giving is a supernatural, transformative, step-by-step process of learning and agreeing to trust God’s ways over our own and to take hold of the life that is truly life.

5. Jesus is enough | Psalm 23:1, Matthew 19:16-30 1, Timothy 6:6-10, Philippians 4:19

In Christ, we have salvation and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, the fullness of God, and a family – the church. Material possessions can never bring us the security and contentment that can only be found in Jesus, and having too many other things can distract us from finding our contentment in him.

6. God is our never-ending supply | Deuteronomy 8:11-20, Malachi 3:10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Deuteronomy 8 reminds us that we must not forget why we have life, why we experience success and the ability to produce wealth. God has a never-ending supply of resources, and he is our provider. When we give generously, we’re reminded that the one who enabled us to give is perfectly capable of doing it again.

7. Giving is a form of worship | 1 Chronicles 29:1-20, Matthew 26: 6-1 3, Acts 17:25

When we give generously and sacrificially, it’s not because God needs anything, but because we want to show our love for him. Giving is an expression of obedience, yes, but also of gratitude, trust, and increasing joy. God seeks out and recognizes those who worship him.

8. Motives matter more than money | 1 Samuel 16:7, Micah 6: 6-8, Mark 12:41-44, Acts 20: 35

Giving is a measure of our hearts, which God sees clearly. Jesus said there is more blessing in giving than getting, but we will only know this as truth when we experience the joy of it for ourselves.

9. What we do now is of eternal importance | Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 25:14-30, Philippians 3:20

Giving is preparation for our role in eternity, shaping us into who God wants us to be. For now, we are stewards of his possessions, and how we manage them either stores treasure in heaven or will be lost or destroyed. When we invest what we have in God’s kingdom and God’s people, we send something ahead that will last forever.

10. Time is of the essence | Psalm 90:12, 1 Timothy 6:17, James 4:13-15

Though we’re promised eternity, we’re not promised a single day more on this earth – or even that what we have today we will still have tomorrow. There is a time for everything, and it’s never too late to start. But the Bible communicates a clear sense of urgency, and we are called to wisely number our days.


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