By God’s grace, it’s not only others who benefit when we give. Here are just four of the many benefits we receive when we choose generosity:
1. We become more Christ-like.
My friend Dixie Fraley told me, “We’re most like God when we’re giving.” Gaze upon Christ long enough, and you’ll become more of a giver. Give long enough, and you’ll become more like Christ.
Our giving is a reflexive response to the grace of God in our lives. It doesn’t come out of our altruism or philanthropy—it comes out of the transforming work of Christ in us. This grace is the action; our giving is the reaction. We give because He first gave to us. The greatest passage on giving in all Scripture ends not with “Congratulations for your generosity,” but “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
2. We gain freedom from materialism.
Another benefit of giving is freedom. It’s a matter of basic physics. The greater the mass, the greater the hold that mass exerts. The more things we own—the greater their total mass, and the more they grip us, setting us in orbit around them. Finally, like a black hole, they suck us in.
Giving changes all that. It breaks us out of orbit around our possessions. We escape their gravity, entering a new orbit around our treasures in Heaven.
3. We are infused with joy.
When I speak on giving at conferences, donor gatherings and churches, I repeatedly see people with joy in their eyes telling how God has touched their lives through helping the needy, in hands-on ways as well as through their giving.
When Jesus spoke of the man who found the treasure in the field, he emphasized how "in his joy" the man went and sold all that he had to gain the treasure (Matthew 13:44). We're not supposed to feel sorry for the man because it cost him everything. Rather, we're supposed to imitate him. It cost him, yes, but it gained him everything he wanted! It filled him with joy. The benefits vastly outweighed the costs.
The more we give, the more we delight in our giving—and the more God delights in us. Our giving pleases us. But more importantly, it pleases God: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
God delights in our cheerfulness in giving. He wants us to find joy. He even commands us to rejoice (Philippians 4:4). What command could be a greater pleasure to obey than that one? But if we don’t give, we’re robbed of the source of joy God instructs us to seek!
4. We store up eternal rewards in Heaven.
We are given these eternal rewards for doing good works (Ephesians 6:8; Romans 2:6, 10), persevering under persecution (Luke 6:22–23), showing compassion to the needy (Luke 14:13–14), and treating our enemies kindly (Luke 6:35).
God also grants us rewards for generous giving: “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). It can’t be wrong to do that or He wouldn't have commanded it! Our job is to follow Christ and leave the rewarding to Him. But our job is also not to disbelieve or minimize what He said about rewards.
We are to want rewards because it pleases Him to give them to us... and what pleases our Father should give us delight.
So, I invite you to transfer your assets from earth to Heaven, and to give humbly, generously, and frequently to God’s work. Excel in giving so that you may please God, serve others, and enjoy treasures in Heaven. When you do, you’ll feel the freedom, experience the joy, and sense the smile of God.
"I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity." —David Livingstone