Giving In The Local Church
"The last part of the person to convert is the wallet." - Herbert Kane.
God wants us to have dominion over our finances. He wants you to have more than enough and one of the ways that we can win the battle over our finances is to apply His principles for financial blessings.
Reasons to give to God
1. Giving is a command
In both the Old and New Testaments, God’s people are commanded to give continuously and failing to give when one is able is therefore an act of disobedience.
2. Giving is a privilege
The churches of Macedonia were models of generosity in giving, even though they were poor. They gladly gave out of gratitude towards God and love for their brethren. Jesus teaches in the Word that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
3. Giving is one dimension of our stewardship
Very often Jesus spoke of the stewardship of His people in terms of money. Our faithfulness as stewards has a bearing on what other responsibilities we will be given.
4. Giving is an act of worship
The Old Testament saints could only approach God in worship with a sacrifice, and this sacrifice was a contribution, whether whole or in part. In the New Testament, contributions are also described as sacrifices offered up in worship.
5. Giving is an investment
Investing earthly money in the advancement of the Kingdom of God is one way in which we can lay up spiritual treasure in heaven.
6. Giving is an act of self-sacrifice
The Word teaches us that all Christian service should be a sacrifice. In giving, we should not seek man's praise, but God's.
7. Giving is an expression of brotherly love
Giving is an expression of brotherly love and of Christian unity.
2 Corinthians 9:8-14 - And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
Paul identifies four beneficiaries of charitable giving:
* the giver
* the recipients
* the church
The verb "to abound" (perisseuo) refers to the giver's unmerited favor from God.
Set the right priories
Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
This is a spiritual law and it actually pertains to every area of our lives including money. When we sow our time and effort into God’s Kingdom, God adds the things that are missing in our lives so that we can enjoy an abundance of all things.
We are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and only then will God add the blessings. This means that there are things that could be missing in our lives and God wants us to ensure that these things are added. This could be healing, possessions, and blessings.
When we place the things of God as a high priority in our lives, God blesses with things. Whatever God adds into your life is always a blessing. The more we seek the things of the Spirit, the less material things mean to us. We still use them and enjoy them, but we recognize who has given them to us.
Righteousness speaks about doing things that are right in the eyes of God. If you do things that please God, then that is righteousness.
Where your heart is
Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This is so true and we therefore need to form deep Biblical convictions about giving in our Christian lives.
God wants us to enjoy a full, abundant life free from the cares and stresses that confidence in money and other material possessions brings. Since everything we possess actually belongs to God and He has made us temporary stewards, we do not leave our money behind when we die, but God's money.
Many Christians work hard and leave their estates to heirs who are unfaithful to their trust, but after providing for the present and future needs of our family, we should invest in God's work during our lifetime.
The world views true treasure in terms of bank accounts, houses, stocks, cars, boats, businesses, etc. In the world’s eyes, the accumulation of these treasures is significant.
The importance of people is measured by how much of this treasure they own and control. This is what happens when possessions become the possessor. We should adopt a mind-set which keeps the possessions from possessing us.
God has called us to something higher. We are to flee from the love of money and to pursue righteousness.
All of us know that the subject of money is a very personal and touchy subject today, because money and materialism are so interwoven into the fabric of our lives.
Although money should not be everything to us, it does take a vital place in all of our lives. The Bible affirms this fact and it goes on to show that money is, in fact, an issue of the heart and not of the pocketbook.
One out of every ten verses in the Gospels deals with the issue of money. Jesus said more about money than any other single thing because money is of first importance when it comes to a person’s true character.
Some people think that money is the root of all evil. But the Bible does not say that. The Bible teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. Wealth is a blessing from God and it is a good thing. You can do nothing without money. The Bible promises that riches and honor follow those who follow God. God does not have a problem with us having lots of money. He only has a problem when we love money.
Money is what makes this world operate. A person will have an extremely hard time finding food, shelter, clothing, entertainment, and many other things, without having money. An individual without money knows very well how hard it can be to do even the simplest tasks without having money.
In this world, money rules and it is what makes the world work. In fact, money is actually loved by most people in this world and is widely viewed as the most important thing an individual could possibly have. However, for God's people, money should not be viewed as the most important thing to have and it should definitely not be loved.
Money in the Bible is a very important subject and God has clearly explained to us over and over again how we need to view money in order to be His people. True people of God will obey only Him and will serve only Him. Corrupt people will ignore what He has told us about money and will actually serve and love their money.
The Bible is filled with Scriptures showing us how we need to view money and how to act in regards to it.
Love of money has always caused countless arguments, fights, and murders around the world since the beginning of time. This love of money causes hunger, homelessness, and death throughout our world every day. It causes people to deceive, steal, and rob from one another.
The entertainment industry produces materials that promote violence, bloodshed, sex, and drugs for one reason only and that is to make more money.
We should clearly know and understand how God feels about serving and loving money.
He does not want us to love money, because He wants us to love Him more than any earthly thing. All our love and devotion must be reserved for Him. That will open the floodgates of heaven over our lives.
God does not want earthly things to rule us or to consume us.
Treasure is about more than material wealth or possessions. It is about what we value and desire. Having treasures or treasuring something is not wrong but it is learning to treasure the right things. When we place our desires in things that are fleeting, our hearts and lives become fleeting as well.
Jesus teaches us to stop focusing on attaining and protecting those things that are empty. He invites people to shift their desires to things that are heavenly and eternal. Unreserved commitment to the things of God results in unrestrained blessing. When you hold nothing back from God He holds nothing back from you.
The danger for us who live in a materialistic society is that we will value material things more than spiritual things. In the world’s eyes, the accumulation of these treasures is significant.
Giving will release the hold we have over our money and possessions and will begin to free us from the slavery of greed and materialism.
If we want to avoid becoming enmeshed in materialism, we need to cultivate a godly manner of dealing with our money and material possessions.
We own nothing. Everything we have belongs to God and we are mere managers of that which belongs to Him. We are required to be good stewards or managers of those things which belong to God.
Psalm 50:10 - For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
Psalms 24:1 - The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
Haggai 2:8 - 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' says the LORD of hosts.
Everything we own is on loan from God. That means, even if you are debt free, you are still indebted to God. We come into the world with nothing and leave with nothing. Everything we have has been entrusted to us and when we die it is all gone.
The most important principle to keep firmly in mind is to understand whose money we are talking about. It's not ours. Everything belongs to God. God's ownership of everything is a foreign concept to most of us. We like to think of our money and our possessions.
If God owns everything then He is in charge of everything and has the final say over everything. When we allow God to be in charge of our lives He blesses us. When we exclude God from our lives we will not be blessed.
When we become successful in the work place or in business, it is because God has allowed us to be successful. The money we make is actually His and we have to be careful how we spend His money.
Most Christians have a distorted view of money. They feel that the money they have is theirs and that God’s money is the portion that they give to the church. God has a different view. He owns everything and that includes the money that we claim as our own. He has clear ideas of how He wants His people to function and to make use of His possessions and these ideas result in financial freedom if they are followed step by step.
When we operate from the understanding that our tithes, time, and talents all belong to the Lord Jesus Christ we can be assured that He is pleased with how we are spending His money, His time, and His gifts that He has given us.
The Scriptures identify several essential principles of financial stewardship:
* giving is a spiritual matter, not just a financial one
* failure to give money to God is a personal affront to Him
* God will withhold many blessings from His people if they do not give to Him
Stewardship is all management and not ownership. A steward is someone who manages another person’s property, finances, and household. The steward owns nothing, but is in a position of authority as if he or she is the owner of it.
We are simply stewards or managers of what God has placed in our trust. Stewardship is a call of God for His people to assist in managing the affairs of the earth with Him. That has always been His plan from the beginning of creation and it has never changed. We are God’s stewards and we are responsible for managing His property in a way that will please Him. Performance is measured against what God would want that person to produce.
A steward is someone who does not do anything for himself or herself but does that for another. If you are doing things for yourself you have missed what God wants for your life.
God will not force His will on us, but if we realize our responsibility and transfer everything to Him, He will keep His promise and provide for each and every need.
It is unbiblical to relegate personal stewardship to merely the religious portion of our lives such as tithing, using our talents for the church, or giving a percentage of our income to the Lord’s work. We belong to God and stewardship concerns every part of our life, which includes our time as well. How we utilize our time is of great concern to God. The devil is a time thief and he will do everything in his power to make sure we waste this valuable resource and produce nothing for the Kingdom.
We exercise stewardship of time in our daily occupations fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. We also invest time wisely when we enjoy our families or build relationships with our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Stewardship is a thermometer of our spirituality and discipleship. Good stewards do not abuse or waste what is given to them. God has given us these precious resources and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of those things He has entrusted to us. We have to answer to God for our stewardship.
Stewardship means you have to make choices. There are things you have to change in your life. The Lord has given us responsibilities and those who are responsible will be blessed and will receive a reward but those that are not responsible will suffer the negative consequences.
Our stewardship consists of making responsible decisions about our time, health, talents, relationships, property, and all that makes up our lives. We need to be good stewards of God’s property regardless of our situation.
God will assess how well we have done with those things that have been entrusted to us and He will then determine our reward.
God wants us to be blessed
I am so amazed when I hear Christians say that God does not want them blessed. This is not supported by Scripture.
Proverbs 10:22 - The blessing of the Lord makes one rich and He adds no sorrow with it.
Psalm 35:27 - Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.
God desires to bless each and every one of His children. Blessings can mean spiritual things, but it also includes physical things such as money and possessions.
Give your best
Being a good steward is finding out what is God’s plan for your life and fulfilling your destiny. Jesus discovered who He was and fulfilled the will of His Father.
We give our best to God when we discover our Godly purpose and follow it faithfully. Believers who do not know God’s plans for their lives live an aimless life.
When you obey God’s call for your life, you give Him everything and best that you have and He will make sure you have the finances for your life’s purpose.
Give out of love for God
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
True loves prompts a desire to give. We often assume that money exists for our own benefit, rather than for God or others.
We should give because it is a reasonable response to all God has done. Because God has shown such great mercy to his people by sending Christ to suffer in our place, it is fitting that we should offer ourselves as sacrifices to him and specifically in part by giving our money.
We should not give to God to receive anything in return we should always give to God because He is our Father. When you love someone, you will give them gifts without expecting anything in return.
This is the same reason that we should give to God, because we love him and want to express our love to him with gifts.
The way we give is an indication of our love for God. God has given us everything by giving us His Son and we should be anxious to give back to Him.
Our love for God can be seen as genuine when we give out of love, obedience, and sacrifice.
Give to receive
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
We should give because God promises to reward us for doing so.
Many of us do not give because we are afraid of losing the little resources we have. However, Jesus assures us that whatever we have belongs to Him anyway and if we give it away He will replace it with everything that we need.
When we give we receive and what we receive is much more than what we gave in the first place. Givers always receive. Those who do not give live in poverty and lack.
Proverbs 11:24 - There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.
Give it or lose it
Matthew 25:28 - So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
If we do not give, what we have to give will be lost.
Jesus taught that the person who had one talent and buried it had it taken from him because he refused to give it away.
Give with the right attitude
2 Corinthians 9:7 - Let each one give just as he has decided beforehand in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Attitude is everything. We cannot expect our situations to improve unless we learn how to improve our attitude about giving. Giving involves far more than money.
When we give, we should give with a good attitude. We should not give because we feel compelled or forced to do so and we should not give grudgingly.
It is a privilege to give to God and we should always be looking for ways to give to Him and to look forward to any opportunity to give.
Blessing proportional to our giving
2 Corinthians 9:6 - But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
A man there was and they called him mad; the m ore he gave, the more he had." - John Bunyan.
We receive in proportion to our giving. If we apply this principle, we can plan our blessings in advance by giving. From this passage of Scripture it is clear that poverty is a choice.
When we give, we must give bountifully. The more we give, the more we will receive from God.
Giving is for everyone
2 Corinthians 9:7 - So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Giving is for each one. Every Christian should be a giver. Some, because of small resources, cannot give much. But it is still important that they give, and that they give with the right kind of heart. God gives everyone an opportunity to give so that they can receive.
2 Corinthians 8:1-3 - Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing.
These Christians gave more than they were able, which means they gave sacrificially. They did not give out of their abundance. They literally took food off their table to give to others that were in need.
To give sacrificially means to give everything. Sacrificial giving is the kind that is done at great personal cost to the giver. Jesus is our example of sacrificial giving.
Giving is not determined by a particular amount
Mark 12:42-44 - Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
To Jesus, it was not a question of amount. It was a question of value and worship. Remember that God needs nothing and He is not enriched by the offerings of the wealthy. Strictly speaking, when people give from their abundance they may be sacrificing nothing.
This widowed woman sacrificed everything she had for God’s glory. She gave from the depths of her extreme poverty. She had little to give, but she gave it all. No one can give more than that.
Giving is monitored in heaven
Mark 12:41 - Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
When we give, it attracts God’s attention.
Here we see Jesus observing how much people were giving and commented on what He thought about the offering.
When we give to God, He does not consider what it is worth to Him but what it is worth to the giver.
Proverbs 22:9 - He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.
2 Corinthians 9:5 - Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
God does not want us to be stingy but generous givers. If it is of no value to us then it is of no value to Him.
Jesus measures generosity by the condition of the giver’s heart.
A generous giver experiences the joy of giving. To them, giving is not a burden but a pleasure and offers gifts as an act of worship.
Matthew 6:1-4 - "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
We must understand that the Bible speaks about public giving as well as private giving. Both are important. Not everything we give should be announced to others.
Giving without telling others about it is a true test of our love for God and others. We should never try to impress other people with our giving.
Plan your giving
2 Corinthians 9:7 - So let each one give as he purposes in his heart….
God expects us to decide in our heart to do the right thing. Chaos can erupt around us when we do not plan.
Spend time during the week praying and asking God what you should give so that when you come to church, you have your offering ready.
Give to advance God’s work
1 Timothy 5:17 - Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
We are to give to support the ministry of the local church we attend. Pastors should be paid well. According to the Word, a person who has been taught the Word of God is to share their material goods with the one who taught them. Paul stated this principle boldly and unequivocally.
Paul reminded his readers that the Levitical priests who served in the temple were provided for by the offerings and sacrifices of Israel. They were nourished from the sacrificial animals, drink offerings and grain offerings. Even their clothing and housing was provided. The priests were required to serve in the temple and God equally required all Israel to provide for their livelihood. Paul drew a New Covenant principle from this:
1 Corinthians 9:14 - Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
Giving by scattering or casting away
Proverbs 11:24 - There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 - Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.
When you cast something that is precious to you and walk away from it, the water is going to take it away. You cannot take it back.
It seems unthinkable that something we scatter or cast away can bring back a return. There are times when we give to people or causes and it seems that our money is wasted. Nothing that is cast away Gods way is ever lost. Anything that you have cast away will always last. Casting means you give it away.
There are things we have to walk away from. Give it to God and when He is ready to bring it back, it will come back in a different form and it will be better and be a blessing and not a burden.