Why It's Important to Give Away the Good Stuff
When the original command was given to offer the first 10%, it was called a "sacrifice".
God's specific instruction to the Israelites was to give Him the BEST of their wine, flocks and grain. He told them that the sacrifices had to be "unblemished" and their "first fruits".
(Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:16–17; Num. 28:26)
In the New Testament, we see the term "first fruit" applied to Jesus as He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23) We no longer offer sacrifices to make ourselves right with God. Jesus did that for us. Now, we give as an expression of gratitude for all we've been given and confidence in God's continued provision.
When we give away something valuable, we show God we trust Him.
Abraham modeled how to be faithful with the things that matter most when he put the life of his promised son in God's hands. He knew that God had vowed to make future nations out of Isaac, so he didn't need to hold Isaac's life with a closed hand. If Abraham can have that kind of confidence with the life of his child, I can surely trust God with my car, my home, my refrigerator full of fresh food, my finances and my time.
We live in a time and space where most of what we are willing to give away can hardly be defined as "sacrifice". Ouch...just typing that feels convicting.
Leftovers can be useful and there's nothing wrong with passing along something you're done with, but laying down our very best requires a level of faith that most people just don't reach for. When we don't pursue the deeper, more challenging commands of God, we simply won't find the intimacy that results from difficult obedience.
Furthermore, when we are in a position to give of our excess, we tend to make judgements about how much the people receiving our gifts "deserve". I was utterly convicted of this when I offered to make a meal for a group of homeless families in my town. I offered to bring lasagna and salad and mentioned to the director that they, "Probably don't need dessert, huh?" Her response was perfect: "Well, I don't know, do YOU eat dessert? Is that something you offer YOUR family?" How foolish and selfish of me. Jesus says that when we are serving others, we are serving HIM. If Jesus were in front of me right now, I would offer Him dessert without question. I'd spend hours preparing it and every last dime in my bank account. I'm embarrassed to admit how selfish and arrogant I can be.
Part of living a generous life is simply sharing what I have. Do I have extra? I do. It is a lovely practice to bless others in the overflow.
We would also do well to follow His example to give away that which has great value - that which is difficult to part with.
My suggestion is this: In addition to giving the things you don't need, try giving away the best things in your life. Make a beautiful meal. Give your most energetic hour of the day. Write your FIRST check of the month in generosity. Use the best materials at your disposal. Part with something that is hard to trust God to replace. He always finds a way to put it back in our cups, a good measure, pressed down, overflowing into our laps. When you give the good stuff, you'll be astonished how He shows up.