What Does the Bible Say About Giving? 6 Lessons From The Old Testament
Being generous is about more than just giving money away. The Bible has a lot to say about giving and generosity, but the account of Abram in Genesis 12-14 provides six examples of generosity that we can put into practice right now.
1. Care For Those In Need Around You
Abram cared for his orphaned nephew Lot and brought him with the rest of his family to Canaan (Genesis 12:5). God calls us to care for others, so we should be looking for people who need care. If you have trouble finding someone, pray for God to show you someone in your circle who is in need.
Philippians 2:3-4 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
2. Accept Less to Settle a Dispute
When the herdsmen of Abram and Lot began having conflicts, Abram settled it by letting Lot choose the best land (Genesis 13:5-11). If you’re involved in a dispute with someone, offer to accept less to settle it. And if you’ve ever been mistreated in a settlement, forgive those who took advantage of you.
1 Corinthians 6:7 – “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?”
3. Help Those Who Have Been Foolish
Lot foolishly chose to live in the wicked city of Sodom, and he was later taken prisoner from there. Despite Lot’s foolish behavior, Abram rescued him (Genesis 13:12-13, 14:12-16). This is symbolic of God’s love and faithfulness to us despite our foolishness.
If God has put you in a position to help people in need, do so even if their own foolish behavior has led to their poverty.
Acts 20:35 – “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
4. Give Generously to the Lord
Abram voluntarily tithed to Melchizedek, a king and priest of God, from all the goods he seized during his rescue of Lot (Genesis 14:18-20). Give to your church and Christian ministries in a way that demonstrates to others that supporting God’s Kingdom is your top priority, even during times of economic instability. This will be a witness that you honor God first.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8 – “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
5. Bless Those Who Work With You
Abram rewarded the men who had helped him rescue Lot (Genesis 14:24). Seek ways to bless those who help you. If you’re an employer, be generous to your workers and make sure they know your company couldn’t succeed without them.
Leviticus 19:13 – “Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.”
6. Have the Right Attitude About Money
After tithing and rewarding his men, Abram gave back everything he had seized while rescuing Lot. He didn’t keep any goods for himself. Abram didn’t want anyone to misunderstand his motives, and he didn’t want anything God had not given to him (Genesis 14:21-23).
Don’t let your top priority be about storing up money and possessions for yourself. Choose to be a giver first and trust the Lord to meet your needs.
Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
God is calling us to freely share His love, grace, and mercy and to be a blessing to our family, friends, co-workers, the poor – and even people who are suffering because of their foolish behavior. Whatever our current situation may be, we must remember Abram’s model of generosity and respond to God’s call.