Paul tells about the people in the Macedonian church who even though they were tested by many troubles and were very poor, gave not only what they could afford but far more. They gave sacrificially and generously to help other poor believers in Jerusalem.
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to be sacrificial too. He says, “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God” (Hebrews 13:16).
If you want to please God with your giving, then you need to sacrificially give to those who are poor or in need. Sometimes you may have to delay purchasing an item or go without something else. Sacrificial means it will cost you something.
Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a man who was lost in the desert and was weak from lack of water. He was literally dying of thirst. He stumbled upon a shack and went in to find shade from the blistering sun. He found a pump, grabbed the handle, and began to furiously pump up and down, up and down. Nothing came out.
Disappointed, he staggered back and noticed an old bottle off to the side. He wiped away the dirt and dust and read the message beside the bottle. “You have to prime the pump with the water in this bottle. P.S. Be sure to fill the bottle again before you leave.”
He popped the cork, and sure enough the bottle was full of water. Suddenly he was faced with a life-changing decision. If he drank the water, he could live, but there would be no more water for another drink, and the bottle would be empty for the next desperate traveler. If he poured all the water into the old rusty pump, maybe it would yield an abundant amount of fresh, cool water from deep in the well – or maybe it wouldn’t! He thought about his two options. He could drink the water in the bottle and live, or he could pour it all into the pump, hoping it would provide a generous supply for him to enjoy.
Reluctantly he poured the water into the pump. Then he grabbed the handle and began to pump…squeak, squeak, squeak. Nothing came out. Squeak, squeak, squeak… a little bit began to dribble, then a small stream, and finally it gushed. To his great relief fresh, cool water poured out of the pump. He filled the bottle and drank from it. He filled it again and drank its refreshing contents. Then he filled the bottle for the next traveler. He filled it to the top, stuck the cork back in, and added this to the note, “Believe me, it really works. You have to give it all away before you get anything back.1”
This principle holds true so often in life. When you give sacrificially, God wonderfully gives back to you. You can never outgive God. He sees your sacrificial generosity and pours back many blessings into your life.