King David knew that God had prospered him and given him rest from all his enemies. One day he looked around at his comfortable home and said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains” (2 Sam. 7:2). He wanted to build a temple for God—no small undertaking.
But God had a much bigger gift in mind for David. He said, “The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you . . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever” (2 Sam. 7:11, 16).
This story powerfully reminds us that we can never outgive God. While He invites our gifts and offerings, He will always give us far more than we could possibly give Him. He will never be a debtor to anyone.
Jesus declared that anybody who gave one of His followers even a cup of water in His name would be lavishly rewarded (Mark 9:41). He once illustrated God’s generosity by describing how a wealthy “Lord” rewarded servants with multiple cities in return for their doubling the little bit of money he had given them. Peter once boasted to the Lord, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed you” (Luke 18:28). He probably expected a pat on the back. Instead, Jesus told him, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life” (vv. 29, 30).
In one of the clearest examples of this principle in Scripture, Jesus tells us, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38).
It’s just a fact: you can never outgive God.
The Old Testament prophet Malachi certainly believed this principle. Through him, God instructed the people to bring Him the full tithe and said, “‘Test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’ ” (Mal. 3:10).
To tithe is to give ten percent of our income to God for His work. All that we have is a gift from God; therefore, a tithe is a mere portion of what He has already given to us. If we obey God’s Word and cheerfully give the portion He has requested of us, He will bless us and the work of His kingdom.
Years ago, God led us to purchase property for the expansion of First Baptist Atlanta. We began to pray that He would provide the funds we needed.
I also prayed specifically that He would show me what He wanted me to give. I had given financially but sensed there was something more that He was requiring.
It wasn’t long before He began to impress upon me to give my camera equipment to the building fund. I love photography. It is my favorite hobby. However, God’s conviction was strong and to the point. There was no way I wanted to avoid making the right decision. I knew that my obedience would lead to blessing. If He wanted my cameras, I wanted to give them to Him. After all, He owned them anyway.
A few days later, I sold my equipment and gave the money to the building fund. Many of the other members of our congregation also gave personal possessions and treasures. It was a great time in our fellowship for seeking God’s will with our finances and also allowing Him to prove His faithfulness to each one of us. When it came time to sign the paperwork for our new property, we had the money we needed and did not have to borrow a single, copper penny.
Several months later, a woman rang my doorbell. When I opened it, I noticed she had two very large shopping bags. She asked, “Are you Charles Stanley?” I didn’t know what to think but I replied, “Yes, I am.”
Then she said, “This is for you.” She set the bags down and turned and walked away. I looked inside of one of them and immediately recognized my camera equipment. God had returned every lens and every camera body to me. Is this the way He works? I believe it is. Many times, He tests us to see where our true devotion is located. Is it in “things” or is it in Him?
He challenges us to give Him the privilege to prove Himself and has promised to bless us in return (Prov. 3:9, 10). When we obey, He will protect our finances, just as He protected His obedient people in the Old Testament from the insects that otherwise would have devoured their crops.
The psalmist asked, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” (Ps. 116:12). The question could be translated, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness toward me?”
The answer is, we can’t. No one can because nobody can outgive the Lord.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.