Summary: The purpose of giving was a matter of the heart and God wanted His people to give out of their love for Him. It did matter what percentage was given to God or how much was left over after giving to Him.
Giving In The New Testament
Luke 12:21 – “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
We have just completed a study of giving in the Old Testament. It may seem a bit unfair when we read about all the giving that was required of the Israelites. Why did God require so much from them?
The purpose of giving was a matter of the heart and God wanted His people to give out of their love for Him. It did matter what percentage was given to God or how much was left over after giving to Him. God promised His people that He would protect them from their enemies and provide all their needs.
This has not changed with the New Covenant. Jesus understood the power of money and the necessities of life, but He wanted us to learn to trust our Father to provide for our needs.
1 Timothy 5:8 - But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
If we are consumed with our ability to amass wealth and we become greedy with what God has given, we will suffer material and spiritual loss.
Many Christians struggle with giving and fail to see that giving to the Lord is a matter of faith and that God always honors one's faith. If we can overcome the problems we have with giving, we can make a great leap forward in spirituality and our relationship to the Lord.
Romans 1:17 - For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Giving is certainly a matter of faith. It is obeying God and putting one's trust in Him. Money is one of the most important things in our lives and God wants us to live by faith with our money. Living by faith refers to every area of our life and that includes giving. The lack of generosity in giving is almost a positive indication of one’s lack of spirituality and love for God.
Biblical giving is never done out of constraint, but always done willingly and cheerfully. Christian giving is a blessing to others and expresses our love for them and our love for the Lord.
The church has a clear need for monetary resources to do its work and has been given specific guidance concerning how to secure its financial necessities.
Giving is God’s way of providing for the needs of His people and is also a witness to the unbelieving world of the reality of the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:34-35 - Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
The early New Testament church gave generously to those who were in need. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need
This is a description of what was happening in the Jerusalem church, but not a command. Many members with a surplus of wealth contributed money into the treasury of the church, and the church leaders made distribution to individual members to meet their needs.
Types of giving in the New Testament
Matthew 6:21 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Tithe means one tenth, or a tenth part of the whole. In its broadest sense, it means a tenth of one’s income contributed to a local church.
It seems that there is a great misunderstanding of the concept of tithing in our generation. It is so important that the true church teaches the Biblical principle of tithing.
There are many Christians today who do not practice tithing because they believe tithing was established under the Old Covenant law and is not applicable today. They say that they are no longer under law and believe that grace has done away with tithing.
The first record of giving to the Lord is found in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 4:4-5 - Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?”
There are offerings that the Lord accepts, but also offerings that He rejects. Both Cain and Abel brought an offering to the Lord. God accepted one, and rejected the other. God accepted Abel’s offering because he brought the first fruits of his increase as an offering to the Lord. In this passage of Scripture, God established a very important principle of giving at the beginning of creation.