1. Giving is an expression of our gratitude to God.
It has been said that in the New Testament the doctrine is grace and the ethic—that is, the prescribed behavior—is gratitude. This gratitude is prompted by both the knowledge of the grace of Christ in one’s head and the power of that grace in one’s heart—with Christ as the center of attention at all times in both.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Giving should ever express unending gratitude for God’s almost unbelievable grace.
Giving should ever express unending gratitude for God’s almost unbelievable grace.
2. Giving is a way to be generous with our neighbor.
We may properly label grand-scale generosity to someone in trouble “Samaritanship,” in echo of Jesus’s parable. However, we should not forget that he told that story to answer the question: “Who is my neighbor?” His answer is: any and every person whom you meet.
The essence of Christian existence is, after all, a matter not of labeling, but of loving, and loving is a matter not of words but of action.
3. Giving is part of what it means to follow Jesus.
Some years back, a popular description of Jesus was "the man for others." More must be said about Jesus, but certainly not less. Self-giving, in the sense of devoting all his powers and resources to the service of others, was Jesus’s hallmark, and must be ours too.
We are to make good our claim to be Christ’s disciples, and avoid Ananias-and-Sapphira-type hypocrisy. We are called to give—and share fully, for Christ’s sake—whatever kind of wealth we have.
4. Giving is a means to glorify God.
Praise, honor, and thank God yourself for all he has given you. Plan, like Paul, to do and give in a way that will draw praise and thanks out of others. In doing so, we labor to evoke adoration and appreciation of our God.
Generous giving, in particular, will ordinarily give rise to this effect, as will all the forms of single-minded obedience and service to God that others see in us.
This article was adapted from Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength (excerpt) by J. I. Packer.
J. I. Packer reflects on this "undernourishment" that many Christians suffer from, challenging us to take our faith and God's Word seriously.
J.I. Packer, renowned theologian and author of the forthcoming Weakness is the Way, reflects on his experience of weakness, having been hit by a bread truck as a child and now facing the realities of aging.