Ask Steve: Financial Giving

Family Driven

 

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Family Driven Faith: Doing What it Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters who Walk with God

by Voddie Baucham Jr.

Category: Parenting / Christian Living

2007, Crossway

 

 

Question: Steve, explain your understanding of financial giving. What principles of giving will you teach to other believers (must they “tithe”?), and what principles will you follow as pastor?

Answer: Financial giving is one of the most important and blessed aspects of Christian living. It is a practice that is seen in the lives of saints in both the Old and the New Testament. Financial giving is important because it demonstrates a heart of gratitude towards God. It is also crucial in the survival of local churches and Christian organizations that participate in the Great Commission. Lastly, it is an expression of God’s love that aids fellow brethren, especially those who are poor. Giving is essentially a selfless act of generosity and sacrifice, in which we give our money for the glory of God, the propagation of kingdom work, and the further advantaging of other people. The more we sacrifice, the more we impact those around us. The more we sacrifice for the church, the more heavenly dividends we can expect to accrue and be rewarded to us at the Bema Seat Judgment (2 Cor 5:10).

The first general principle to remember about financial giving is the motivation. Why is it that we give of our money – bountifully and sacrificially? It is because Christ first gave to us. He gave His life by dying as our penal substitution (on the cross) so we can be forgiven of our sins and made righteous by faith in Him (Mk 10:45; 1 Tim 2:6). By the sacrifice of His very life, Christ served believers by saving them, canceling the believer’s eternal debt to God and affording them the undeserved privilege of eternal life. Not only did Christ give us the greatest gift of salvation, but also provides daily for the needs of Christians. Those who seek after His kingdom and His righteousness have access to the Father’s guaranteed commitment of supplying the Christian’s needs in this life (Matt 6:11-12; 6:25-34). This includes housing, job, clothing, food, and other basic necessities.

This is why Christians should give. It is in the Christian’s newfound nature to be express charity, especially as it regards money. Giving not only demonstrates our thankfulness and dependence on God, but also opens up opportunities to be more blessed and used by God for the kingdom. God gives onto Christians, sometimes quite extravagantly, so that they can, in turn, give onto others. Luke 6:38 states, “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.” The church should not construe this to be a formula that supports the health-and-wealth gospel or prosperity theology, but it is a biblically based assertion by our Lord Jesus Himself as a general rule of life concerning the outcome of generous giving. This text teaches that believers who give abundantly for the cause of Christ will always be supplied by God so they will never lack in their outstanding work of giving. It does not necessarily teach that believers will be rich, but that they will be sufficiently supplied and blessed for their work (Matt 6:3-4; 2 Cor 5:10).

Giving must be rooted in a proper attitude and commitment, which is for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). Although financial returns are not a perpetual guarantee in this world, other forms of blessings are (Proverbs 3:9, Malachi 3:10), most specifically the eternal blessings and honors. The Apostle Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 9:6 regarding the blessedness of financial giving: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” In other words, men reap what they sow, which is why abundant giving is extremely wise (Gal 6:7).

With these teachings in mind, the church should encourage congregants to give of their financial resources to the church every Lord’s Day, as well as any other time that might be pressing on their hearts. Believers should consider willfully supporting evangelism ministry, missionary fund, mercy ministry, building fund, and other church departments in need. Financial generosity can be directed toward online giving or in-person donations, which can be directed to a particular department or where most needed. The church’s guideline for giving, especially as it regards offerings in the local church, should be as follows:

  1. Give generously (Mark 14:9): Believers should have a desire to give abundantly of their resources and not be stingy towards the church.
  2. Give regularly (1 Corinthians 16:2): Believers should be committed to giving weekly as a continual act of not only support, but as an expression of worship onto God.
  3. Give voluntarily (Exodus 35:21, 2 Corinthians 8:4): Believers should give from their own desires, and not be forced and give out of compulsion.
  4. Give sacrificially (2 Samuel 24:24, 2 Corinthians 8:2-3): Believers should give in a manner that is challenging, and not constantly easy on their bank accounts.
  5. Give excellently (2 Corinthians 8:7): Believers should to foster Christian virtue, and not done in vice or shame.
  6. Give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7): Believers should give with a cheerful heart and not a heart full of resentment or guilt. God loves a cheerful, hilarious giver.
  7. Give worshipfully (Acts 10:1-4, Matthew 5:23-24): Believers should give as an act of worship to God, and not with selfish, self-glorifying, or impure motives.
  8. Give proportionally, not fixed (Acts 11:29, 1 Corinthians 16:2): Believers should give what is generously in proportion to their income, not in proportion to what society deems as impressive or lackluster.
  9. Give quietly (Matthew 6:1, 4): Believers should give in a manner that does not purposefully call attention to their act.
  10. Give deliberately, without hesitation (2 Corinthians 8:11): Believers should give intentionally, and not with any hesitation or resentment.

Concerning the debate about whether or not an offering should be at the Old Testament tithing rate of 10 percent, I believe the church should first and foremost teach congregants to go beyond this number and give wholeheartedly what they can sacrifice to God’s kingdom for the sake of their own blessings. However, there are no fixed percentages for a church gift. The 10 percent rate of giving in the Mosaic Covenant was a historically conditioned act that made up the government taxation system of Israel (Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21-26; Deut 14:22). It applied to national Israel. The New Testament does not explicitly teach any similar rate of giving, whether it involves the church or the secular government.

The one-tenth tithe principle can be suggested as a helpful tip for Sunday giving, but it should not be expressed as a set rule or demand. If Christians feel in their conscience that a 10 percent gift should be regularly honored, then the church must allow them to honor the voice of their conscience. The 10 percent rate is a recurring theme throughout the Old Testament (Genesis 14:10, Leviticus 27:30-32); therefore this number is an indicator of what God feels is manageable for the average believer to contribute to His kingdom work while still sustaining his everyday life outside of church. However, my motto is: If Israel can give much under Law, how much more should the church give under grace?

This is the principle I teach to other believers and follow myself. As a pastor, I must give in a manner that will be reflective of my view of God, the Great Commission, and my brethren in Christ. I must also give because it is a testimony. My giving should be able to inspire other congregants to see the importance, joy, and blessing of financial giving.

Recommended Resource: Money Possessions & Eternity by Randy Alcorn