by James A. Fowler
Christian giving has both a divine side and a human side. We have been considering what God does, and now we turn to man's response.
Of the Macedonian Christians Paul writes, "they first gave themselves to the Lord" (II Cor. 8:5). In terms of human responsibility the first order of business for genuine Christian giving is that we give ourselves to the Lord. We must submit ourselves as available vessels to Christ's Lordship.
God is not interested in your gifts until He has you! Until we are available vessels of God's grace, having given ourselves at His disposal, then we cannot participate in Christian giving. In one sense, the only "offering" we have to give is the offering of ourselves to God.
Francis Havergal states in that familiar hymn,
"Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee..."
"Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold."
Major W. Ian Thomas writes:
"Godliness in action -- presenting all that you are -- nothing, to all that He is -- everything, you are committed to the Lord Jesus Christ exclusively, for all that to which He is committed in you; and you may be supremely confident that He who dwells in you...is gloriously adequate for all that to which He is committed!
...It is no longer necessary for me to ask you whether you are prepared to go to the mission field! It is now no longer necessary for me to ask you whether you are prepared to put your bank account at Christ's disposal, or your time, or your home...
If Christ is committed in me to use the very last dollar I possess, and every other dollar I shall ever earn, I am already committed to Him for this. ...There are no more issues for me to face -- only His instructions to obey! 5
Having "given ourselves to the Lord," then the Lord Jesus Christ can "call the shots" in our lives. This is the pre-requisite of Christian giving.
5 Thomas, W. Ian, Ibid., page 21.
©1999 by James A. Fowler
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