Just want to post up a few pointers before I head to bed.
There are two points:
i) For myself
A while ago I was doing a paper on Christian Ethics. I was studying on the Rich man and Lazarus. It is the commentaries of many great theologians that struck me that the Lazarus is outside of the door of rich man. Yet the rich man did not show concern about Lazarus. Even Jesus plays with the names of the character. As Lazarus, poor, would often in our world be nameless. Any one with wealth and status will have a title. Jesus, in his story, reverse this. (Upside down Kingdom, indeed!).
Jesus once said, you either love God or love money. Either love one master or despise the other. You cannot serve both. (Matthew 6:19-24)
When I give, it is for my soul. It is a way for me to focus on the Lord. I will not choose to serve money by following it, hungering it and have it choke my life and bring temporary satisfaction that leave me starving for more.
ii) For my Lord
In Luke 3 John the Baptist came out of the wilderness and told people to repent and to produce fruits, people started to ask John what to do.
This is John's response (Luke 3:11-13)
To the crowd - "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
To the tax collectors -"Don't collect any more than you are required to"
To the solders - "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay."
Shouldn't John be telling the people to tithe more or make an offering to God in the temple? Rather John's response is to share to those who need it, to be fair and just.
Looking at Isaiah 1:13-17, we see that God does not just want offerings. Rather He wants the people to do right, to act just, to plead for the case of the widow. This is the character of God. To share, to act just and to do right is not an add on. Rather it is coherent in WHO He is.
Also in Micah 6:8, He already showed me what's good. Christ already shown that in His life. He came down and humbly died on the cross. By His Mercy, I, a sinner far away from God, was saved.
The last point I like to make which I have been thinking more about is how much do I believe in salvation. Sure we know Christians we will be with Christ when we died. My career and all my achievements in the end will fade away? That this life is nothing more than foreshadow of another life. That I am an exile and my real resident is not on this world?
In August when I went to Australia and backpack, I was travelling light. Afterall, why do I need to worry about anything. I won't be there for long. Three weeks here and there. I just get what I needed and move on.
If I am a merely a passerby of this world, should I be hunkering down like this is my permanent home?
So should Christian give? Yes. Because Christ give freely of His life so we can be reconcile to God and men.
What if we don't give? Perhaps our hearts are hardened and the grip of Satan's lie that this world and all its extravagance is still holding us from seeing the truth?
The devil led him (Jesus) up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours."Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'