The measure of our giving should never be limited to money. All things are from God and for God, and spiritual abundance is a kingdom principle of multiplication. If we focus on Mammon, we cannot serve God and the full measure He desires to give us will always be limited.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
The issue of giving is often a sensitive one, especially in the light of the so-called prosperity gospels and those who preach manipulatively, i.e. to compel giving with false promises of ‘return’ that have no biblical basis. Many believers are left disappointed and disillusioned, or live in condemnation through false teaching. Today’s verse is most often used in terms of financial giving, which isn’t incorrect. But to limit it to this is to limit the full relevance of giving in the kingdom of God. It also excludes the full spiritual abundance God has for His people in every area of our lives in Christ. While I believe we should give our ‘first fruits’ or tithes to God, to restrict this only to money or income creates a false perception that this is all that is required or accepted and raises finance far above its rightful place in God’s kingdom.
Spiritual abundance and finances.
We live in a world that seems entirely focused on money. It’s a critical necessity for even the very basics of life and society seems divided between the haves and the don’t-haves. Success in life is measured by financial stability and better earnings. Our material possessions reflect our status in society, and financial contributions often determine the respect or advantages we receive. Money has, unfortunately, also become a yardstick to measure our faith or ‘success’ as Christians. Spiritual abundance is measured by our financial condition. Those who have enough are regarded as strong and effective Christians, and those who don’t are left with feelings of condemnation. The inference is that there is something wrong with their faith or their ‘right standing’ with God. But Jesus Himself made it very clear that this kind of focus on money is essentially trying to serve two masters – God and Mammon – which is impossible.
There seem to be three kinds of givers. The first is the ‘middle-road’ giver. They give their tithes and not much else – which includes finances and every other kind of giving. Their giving is limited to what is expected or defined as required in the Word. The second kind are those who throw money at everything and give nothing else. For them, giving financially is the solution to every need and requires no further commitment or investment on their part. There is little personal active engagement in the work of the kingdom outside of their wallets. The third group are those who have little or nothing to give financially and who are thrust into a place of condemnation because of it. The understanding is that unless they give financially, they will never enjoy spiritual abundance because this is determined by how much they give. All of these are incomplete giving.
Spiritual abundance is from God and for God.
The first thing every Christian needs to take hold of is that everything we have is both from God and for God. We may share in the eternal inheritance, but everything belongs to the Father. Our role is as servants and stewards to manage it according to His purposes. Every penny or possession we have belongs to God for His work. The principle of tithing is to equip the church. Thereafter, we are expected to give as the Spirit leads, holding nothing back. While money is important in this respect because it is essential in the natural world, it is simply one part of the relationship between giving and spiritual abundance. To understand this we need only look at the life of Christ on earth. To all intents and purposes, He owned nothing. Yet He lacked for nothing and His work for the kingdom was extraordinary.
He understood that the principle of giving covered every aspect of His life. Above all, He gave of Himself – everything that He was and had – and God responded with a spiritual abundance beyond measure. Included in this was provision for His every financial need. He was the perfect example of seeking first the kingdom of God and having everything else added thereafter. Today’s verse does not restrict this principle to finances. The measure mentioned isn’t money. It’s what we have from God – our gifts, talents, abilities, or anything else we may have to give. The measure mentioned is the amount we give of whatever we have to give. When we give what we have, God will in turn give what we need. The more we give of ourselves, the more He will give. Giving is intrinsically linked to His principle of multiplication, which is exactly what today’s verse teaches.
The cheerful giver and spiritual abundance.
The Bible tells us: So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). This includes but is not limited to money. Our time, prayer, support, encouragement, help, anything else we can think of is included in giving. The reality is that God knows exactly where we are in terms of finances. He doesn’t ask us to give what we don’t have but what we do have. The key principle is generosity – to be a cheerful giver in every aspect. For those who limit themselves to giving only what is required, that is the measure they will receive. When we give only of our finances and nothing else, that is the measure that God will use in response. By focusing only on money, we cut ourselves off from the full measure God intends for us.
The measure God uses is that of our hearts – how engaged and how cheerful we are in our giving. If, for example, He calls us to a ministry of financial giving, that is our primary focus. But the heart behind it is for the work of God’s kingdom and we’ll be open to any other kind of giving. If we simply give because we can and have no real heart for the kingdom, we limit our measure. This is a critical truth for those who struggle because they have not. Finances may be limited, but our other gifts are not. Jesus gave His time and compassion for the sick, the outcasts, and those marginalised by society. God has given each of His children something to give, even if it is only prayer or babysitting for the harassed single mom next door. All giving opens the door to spiritual abundance.
The meaning of spiritual abundance.
If we’re unemployed – and I speak from experience here – we can give the time not working to prayer for others who share our needs or who are enduring other trials or hardships. We can pray for the sick, for our government, for our church, and for the work of the kingdom. This is only one example of giving that opens the door to spiritual abundance. As believers, we need to take our eyes off money as the measure of God’s abundance. It’s an absolute truth that He knows our every need and has already made provision. Too many Christians are trapped in a place of lack because of incorrect teaching about finances and God’s spiritual measure. We have access to every spiritual blessing in Christ. Money is simply there to meet a need, not measure our success as Christians. God’s principle of multiplication covers our whole life in Christ.
What this means is that when we develop a giving heart that cheerfully yields all we have and are, we will find spiritual abundance in the most unexpected ways. The cheerful giver seeks first the kingdom of God and is willing to invest all we are in His purposes, whether we have money or not. When we start to see our finances as God does, we will see a release of this and so much more. First, it all belongs to God and second, it is entrusted to us for His purposes. I speak from experience here, having struggled financially for the better part of my life. The turning point was when I was able to yield all to God, trusting Him to do with it as He willed and for His purposes. What I have received is well beyond the measure I have given.
Growing into spiritual abundance.
My journey to spiritual abundance has been extraordinary. A deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Learning to hear His voice more clearly and to move in the power of the Spirit. A richer revelation of who He is. Opportunities to touch the lives of others He brings across my path. Joy and peace and a greater understanding of the full magnitude of salvation. Fullness of life in Christ and the discovery of His purpose for my life. These are blessings beyond measure. Yet they all came out of the simple truth that financially, I had nothing to give. It was a frightening moment, stepping over the ‘money line’ and into absolute faith. But from that moment, I can honestly say that He has blessed me financially as well as releasing spiritual abundance beyond measure. There is always enough and some left over to help others when prompted give.
Jesus overturning the moneychangers’ tables in the temple is a dramatic revelation of His attitude to money in the kingdom of God. Sadly, our churches are full of moneychangers, bringing condemnation and limiting real spiritual abundance. Money is a tool in the kingdom, nothing more. When we cheerfully yield what we have and even what we do not yet have to Him, He grows us into the full measure of His abundance. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. It has no limit because it is from the heart of the I AM who is limitless. When we give to others we give to God. We sow into His kingdom, and we reap what we need according to the measure we have sown, multiplied beyond our expectations. The greatest measure of giving is to come to the place where God’s will and purposes are all that matters.
Receiving the full measure of spiritual abundance.
Real spiritual abundance is available for every believer. It is part of the complete and perfect salvation purchased for us on the cross. The key lies in giving ourselves – the things we have and the things we don’t have but aspire to – as Jesus gave Himself at Calvary. We must make a conscious decision to break free of the money trap the devil uses to seduce God’s people into financial bondage. False doctrines like the ‘name it and claim it’ and prosperity gospels need to be rejected and our eyes fixed on the kingdom of God. What we focus on is what we serve, and if our focus is Mammon, then we aren’t serving God and cannot expect a full measure. We decide what we receive from God. When we give Him all, we make the way for the measureless measure of His abundance in every aspect of our lives.
Thank You, Lord, for Your abundant, measureless grace and provision. Forgive us for losing focus and looking to Mammon before Your kingdom. Help us to surrender, to give all cheerfully and willingly. Teach us Your ways of giving, not the world’s ways, and stir up a faith within us that knows Your care and provision in all things. Grant us spiritual abundance, Lord, so that the work of Your kingdom may abound and Your glory be revealed.