"Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me." ~ Jesus Christ

"But there are those who are conscious before God that they are rich. And, doubtless, some among you are of the number. You have more of the goods of this world than is needful either for yourself or your family. Let each consider for himself. Do your riches increase? Do you not understand that plain expression? Have you not more money, or more of money's worth, than you had ten or twenty years ago, or at this time last year?" ~ John Wesley

"Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God." ~ Brennan Manning

There are very many forms of giving from the heart. Financial giving is one of them.

I am privileged know some poor and struggling brethren in foreign lands who have devoted their lives to sharing Jesus with the lost, and I have been blessed with an opportunity to give direct financial support to one who works to spread the Gospel and lead the lost to Christ in an very underprivileged third-world country where the harvest is ripe and plentiful.

However, in their service to Christ they live with their sweet families in dirt-poor homes, struggling each day for their basic needs, their loved ones sharing the affliction of their poverty as the price of their devotion to lead the lost to Jesus.

"The next best thing to being a missionary in a foreign land is to help support one who is." This is a truth I've held in my heart for many years. The harvest is plenty, but the workers are so few.

I believe that the truth about the requirements of our giving today can be found in the New Testament which applies to all of us believers as much now as it was then, and the two commandments Jesus gave us upon which hang all the law and the prophets - the spirit of the law:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

In studying the New Testament, I see the evidence of the believers in the early Church (which I firmly believe is the exact model we should be following today as well) beginning in the book of Acts, when they gathered each week to give of their abundance to distribute "to the needs of the saints". They cheerfully gave of their abundance. Many, I'm sure, cheerfully gave ALL of their excess above their own basic needs (which God has promised us He will always supply).

Ten percent tithes given to wealthy church organizations and purely out of a sense of obligation and a fear of "robbing God", in my opinion, is actually nothing more than a clanging cymbal, and may even be an abomination to God.

Whatever we give cheerfully and abundantly out of love, rather than giving out of fear, we cannot possibly out-give our loving Father in Heaven! I believe He will always give us more in the richness of blessings and joy than we can cheerfully give away in love.

God loves a cheerful giver. Jesus commanded us to "Love your neighbor as yourself." Wouldn't that mean to bless the underprivileged needy with the financial blessings we ourselves enjoy in abundance?

He lovingly gave us many more ordinances to follow for the sake of our own abundant joy in this life on earth, one of which is "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brethren, that you do unto me."

Does that mean that whatever I give to the needy out of love, I give directly to Him? Yes, it does! It is a miracle immediately available to every one of us that is beyond our own imaginations!

It is nothing short of amazing to think that I am actually able to bless Jesus Himself personally with my own abundance, the abundance I've originally received through His blessings to me!

We have the examples in the New Testament of the life of Jesus Himself, and of Paul and the other apostles (the greatest examples of love the world has ever known) who purposely had nothing in terms of earthly riches for themselves, and trusted our Father completely to always meet their needs daily, which He never failed to do.

I am convinced that if every believer in America alone gave only half of the excess they enjoy, excess past having their needs met, there could be enough orphanages built and funded to house, protect, and provide for all the innocent and terribly exploited orphan children not only in our own country, but also in the whole rest of the world!

I pray our Father in Heaven that the eyes of all the financially blessed and privileged members of Christ's Body here in America and around the world be fully opened to these truths, and that they will forsake their own earthly riches and give plenty of their excesses to the needy through Christ's true servants, for His name's sake and for the sake of the poor and lost (especially innocent children), however they may be prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so.

I pray this even for the sake of the givers, knowing that those who give lovingly, cheerfully and abundantly will not only experience the lasting and fulfilling joy of giving, but will also one day receive the eternal treasure house of riches that will be "stored up for them in heaven where moths, rust, and thieves can never destroy."

Can you imagine how Jesus must have felt to be able to heal the blind, sick and crippled, and free people from demonic possession, and even raise loved ones from the dead on the spot with only a spoken word? Have you ever wished you could do that? Can you imagine what pure joy that must have given Him?

We members of the Body of Christ are His hands and feet in the world. Can you imagine what pure joy is immediately available to us in relieving others of their financial afflictions, even if only temporarily?

These are the last days, the end times. Soon, our opportunities to minister to others, both financially and otherwise, for His name's sake will be closed forever.

And I know that saving my excesses to ensure my own financial security now and in my old age, only displays my lack of trust in my Father to always amply meet my needs. Yet, I haven't quite found the courage and abandon to "sell all you have and give it to the poor, and come follow me" as Jesus told the wealthy young man.

However, lately I've been trying to trust and honor Jesus more in my giving. I have found that in giving to those much less fortunate than me, I immediately receive back a hundredfold, not only in eternal treasures which moths, rust, and thieves cannot destroy, but also in the riches of joy in my heart right now, knowing how much more the money means to them than it does to me! Even a mere hundred dollars that, though it is still very significant to me I can comfortably do without, can be an immeasurable blessing to one who has nothing above their most essential needs barely being met!

This, I'm sure, is why God's Word says that "It is more blessed to give than to receive." And yet, my own needs are still more than amply provided by my Father. I've never once since my salvation had to wonder what I will eat or what I will wear today, even when I've been at my "poorest" financially, no matter how much I've given away in His name.

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ that the poor and needy (especially children) around the world would have their needs amply met. I also pray that all our impoverished brothers and sisters spreading the Gospel abroad will persevere in the truth for His name's sake, and that God will richly bless their service to Him out of the abundance of cheerful givers!