Is it simply because God commands us to? Or
is there more to it? To be sure, the instruction and Word of God in the Bible
says we should give, and this is sufficient to encourage us to give (Luke 6:38;
Acts 20:35; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:7; Gal 6:6).
But there’s more to it than just obligation. We’re not just
trying to fulfill a work of the Law. We are bearing fruits of the Spirit given
to us by our Father in heaven through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. In other
words, we’re not just doing what our Father said, we’re also doing what He did.
Children emulate their parents. When they grow up they often
carry many of the same mannerisms and characteristics as their parents, but
there is more to it than that. Children copy their parents even on a more
mundane level. They watch how their parents cross their legs, how they fold
their hands, how they stand and sit and walk, how they do and say most everything.
And children try to copy it, which can be quite humorous
when parents wish they wouldn’t. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing if a
child copies or repeats something less than polite that they learned from a
parent. Sitcoms thrive on these situations. It only happens because children
emulate their parents because they want to be like them.
We are the children of God, by grace, through faith. In Holy
Baptism, God the Father declares of us what He declared of Jesus at His Baptism
in the Jordan: “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God the
Father claims us as His own. He takes away all our sins, and in exchange He
gives us His righteousness, His purity, His holiness, and His Spirit, by which
we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
We are born again, born from above, born of water and the
Spirit, to a new life in Christ as His children. We are sons of God in Christ,
through Baptism. And since we are sons, we are heirs – heirs who share in the
glory of the Son of God. The inheritance is ours because of the Father’s grace
and mercy, His generosity in sending His Son in time to save us for all
And this is why we give generously of our income to the work
of the church. We want to be like our heavenly Father. We want to emulate His
generosity by being generous ourselves. We give to the work of the Church
because we have witnessed the generous giving of our Father in heaven.
More than that, we are recipients of it. It is because we
have received God our Father’s gifts that we desire to give ourselves. And His
gifts are not just spiritual. They are temporal and earthly as well. As the
Small Catechism teaches in the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer:
“Give us this day our
daily bread.” What does this mean?
God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all
evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize
this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that
has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink,
clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or
wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good
government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good
friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.”
In other words, God gives us everything we need for the care
of both body and soul. His generosity knows no bounds. Therefore, we sit down
at the beginning of the year, the beginning of the month, or the beginning of
the week to set aside a generous portion of God’s daily bread for His work in
We don’t do this simply because He has commanded us so to
do; it is because we, as His children by grace, want to emulate His generosity in
our own lives. He is our Father; we are His children. And children want to be
like their parents.