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Could you live in this world without money? Possibly, but it would certainly be difficult! It seems we need money for almost everything — for food, shelter, clothing and lots of other things. We need money just to be able to function in our society. It can be a good thing, but it can also be bad sometimes, causing anxiety, stress, or other problems. The Bible talks a lot about money, too, in both good and bad ways. It even talks about money as a part of our worship, in the form of our offering. In order to understand the principles of giving, let’s look at the Scriptures for application to our lives. Here are four points to consider:
GIVE BECAUSE YOU ARE A STEWARD
Jesus considered all things to be the property of God and pointed out that we are simply stewards (meaning administrators, managers) for God. In Matthew 25:14-30, how did Jesus reward the two men who used their talents well? According to Matthew 16:24-27, Luke 6:38 and 16:10-13, what is required to be a faithful servant?
The discipline of stewardship was also taught by the apostles. Peter wrote, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10). Look also at what is said in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; Acts 4:32; or in Ephesians 4:28 about a disciple’s stewardship. The point is, we must be good managers with the blessings God has given us! This requires a lot of discipline and faith! We must handle our money well in order to please God.
GIVE AS YOU HAVE PROSPERED
This principle is found in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Everyone’s offering will be different according to what he/she has received. If God provided abundantly for you, then you must give abundantly. We must all give diligently and generously! Notice also that our ability to give is not limited to just money, but also includes our skills and talents that we have, according to 2 Corinthians 8:5. What did those Christians first give to the Lord?
Does this mean tithing? Are we supposed to give 10%? Nowhere in the New Testament do we find a commandment to give a tenth of our income. That was something that the Jews had to do in the Old Testament. Even then, it had a specific purpose: to provide sustenance for the priests. Since we no longer live under a Levite priesthood today, then the tithing commandment does not apply to the church. But, just because we are no longer under the old law (Col. 2:14; Rom. 6:14; Eph. 2:15) does not mean that we have no mandates on how to give. Nor does it mean we can give much less than the Hebrews did.
GIVE WITH JOY
The Bible says we should give “not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7). It’s a problem many have – we will give, but we don’t really like to give up our money. We must be careful with this attitude! It’s called covetousness, or greed. Covetousness is not only wanting someone else’s things, but can also be an excessive desire for one’s own things. The fact is, we will all have to give an account for our sins. Greed is a sin … and how many sins does it take (un-repented of) to prevent making it into heaven? Only one! So, a miser is just as far from Christ as any other sinner. In fact, according to 2 Corinthians 8:9, a miser has an attitude that is contrary to that of Christ.
If one gives, but thinks in their heart, “I prefer to keep this,” then their offering is in vain, since it is not done with joy and generosity. Read and learn from the story Jesus taught in Luke 12:13-21 about greed and the rich fool. Consider also what Christ teaches in Matthew 6:19-24,33. Where does joy come from? It comes from giving. Where does greed come from? It comes from selfishness. We must give from our hearts with joy if we want to be pleasing in God’s eyes!
No one should be overly burdened with their offering to the church while another person refuses to give (2 Cor 8:13-15). Is it necessary that each member contributes financially to the church, in some amount and/or manner. No one can give more than the Lord deserves and no one who gives generously has ever been forgotten by God. The Lord knows what we have offered and has promised to provide for us if we’re faithful to Him (Matthew 10:29-31).
Remember the widow of Mark 12:41-44? The Bible says that the poor widow “put in everything she had, all her livelihood.” Why? Because of faith! The lesson is simple, Jesus judges your offering by what is left over, not by what you put in the plate. Our offering is an act of worship, which is yet another way of expressing our faith, hope, and trust in Him. Giving is something personal between an individual and God that can also serve as a “proof” of your faith and love (2 Cor 8:24). God bless! – TS