The Giving Disciple
AUTHOR: REV. KWEKU HAZEL
A Disciple of Jesus is anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior and has decided to follow Jesus for the purpose of becoming like Him.
Discipleship is a call by Jesus Himself to those who have come to faith in Him and have aligned themselves to His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, whilst they have purposed in their heart to obey and serve Him.
A disciple must first and foremost give his/her life to Jesus as a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1.
A disciple must also have a giving attitude of Jesus. After Pentecost, those who believed in Jesus were of one accord. Acts 4:32 proved that they were taught the principle of stewardship. They believed that everything belongs to God, or God has divine ownership of everything.
Psalm 24:1 says “the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness. The world and those who dwell there in.” The early believers had the understanding that what they had was to be sold according to needs of the community, not by compulsion but by understanding of necessity to help those who are needy. Acts 4: 34-35 reveals that attitude and the mentality of the believers so far on their personal possession are concerned. For many (not few) who were property owners sold them and brought the proceeds to the apostle’s feet and it was shared according to their needs.
This was the beginning of the New Testament giving, and one particular person mentioned in this giving aspect was Barnabas, who later partnered with Paul for missions.
The question is, how did these new disciples give to support the poor and the work of God? I do not think there was a highly changed fund-raising program by the Apostles but rather because of the Spirit-anointed teaching of the Apostles, they were able to see money, possession, property and belonging in the perspective of the word of God. They understood Christian stewardship and the blessing of helping the poor and the needy.
Acts 4:33, say, “great grace was upon them all.” And this grace caused that kind of giving and generosity. In the New Testament, teaching about giving by the followers of Jesus was elaborated by Jesus and Paul. Jesus in Mark 12:38-44 commended the widow who put in the offering box two pieces of coins which was her all against the giving of the others who gave out of their excess. In Matthew 10:8 Jesus told his disciples that freely they have received and freely they should give. He also taught that our giving should not be done in fanfare and for public show but be down quietly and privately.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:7 encourages the Church to excel in this grace of giving. This supports what happened in the Jerusalem Church where great grace was upon the believers and resulted in their selfless giving. Paul again in 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15 further reveals the disciples attitude towards giving. He said disciples should;
- Give generously
- Decide in the heart what he/she wants to give
- Not give grudgingly
- Giving should not be done under compulsion or cohesion
- God loves a cheerful giver
This scripture is not about the benefits of giving to God’s work, God’s servants and the poor, but it is important to note a statement made by Jesus but which was not recorded in the gospels but Paul might have heard it from Luke, the writer of the book of Acts.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Givers are happier, less stressed and are greatly blessed. Every disciple must seek to grow and excel in this grace of giving.