Financial Giving – Supporting God’s Plans
Tithing is Trust in God’s Will
We would encourage you to look at giving as an investment in eternity. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). You have the exciting privilege and opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the world. The world and peoples lives can actually be changed by your investments in God’s work.
The following Scriptures and comments should give you some thoughts for reflection as you think about the privilege and opportunity you have to be partners with God in the building of His kingdom.
Tithing should be looked on as the “bare bones” of our giving. As we look at the Scriptures we find that the tithe is not a law but rather a principle. It is a principle that if followed will do two things for us. First, it is a physical, measurable evidence of our belief in God’s ownership of all we have. In Deuteronomy 14:23 God instructs His people to tithe, “…that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.”
Secondly, tithing gives God some seed to multiply. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 says, “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” You need to give back to God some seed for Him to multiply (see also 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 and Galatians 6:7-9).
God is not only concerned about how much we give but also about our attitude and desire to give. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
To him who much has been given, much is required. (Luke 12:48) And this applies also to giving. We find in 2 Corinthians 8:12 that we are to give in accordance with how we have been prospered.
Are You Giving God What’s His to Begin With?
Are you returning a portion of your increase on investments to the Lord? This includes interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.
- “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10).
- Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
- Deuteronomy 15:10, 11– “Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”
Giving can provide a wonderful opportunity to teach your children the principle of stewardship and also to show them your devotion to God. Why not have a family meeting and discuss where to give some of your surplus? Have your children give some input. It will be a tremendous growing and learning time for them.
We have found that most people give where they have a relationship. In other words, you will most likely give to your church and various parachurch organizations that have ministered to you. A recommendation for your consideration would be that you take a vision trip to see firsthand what your church and/or parachurch organizations are doing here and abroad. We have discovered that a trip like this is a tremendous means of expanding one’s vision as well as being motivational and causing one to give cheerfully and abundantly. You will have the opportunity to see firsthand the return of your contribution investment. “…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).
The following criteria may be helpful as you evaluate where to give the surplus with which God had blessed you. (Taken from “Your Finances in Changing Times” by Larry Burkett.)
“Today in our society Christians are besieged by charitable requests from every side. From every corner of the earth, organizations come. Many are deserving, but some are poorly managed, unfruitful and even dishonest. Seek God’s wisdom before giving. Get literature from them that thoroughly describes the organization and its doctrine. Talk to others who have invested. Require references if you have never heard of the group before. Let the organization know why you are questioning them. Be discerning; be a good steward of God’s resources.
Checklist for Choosing Ministry Partners
- Is the organization communicating the true message of Jesus Christ? If they are not, do not get involved with them. This refers to organizations that come In the name of Christ. There are other charitable organizations that do great work through secular channels.
- Are people responding to the organization positively? Are lives being changed as a result of their input?
- Is the organization seeking and accomplishing goals? If so, they should be able to explain their goals to you.
- Are the lives of those in leadership positions consistent with Scriptural principles that God outlines for Christian organizations?
- Is the organization multiplying itself, or is it dying out? (This is not always an absolute standard because you may find new leadership in an organization that is seeking to expand previous boundaries.) Ask around and be discerning. Pay a visit to them personally, particularly if the decision involves a large amount of money.
- Is there a standard of excellence along with a freedom from lavishness and waste? how much money do they spend raising money? If you find an organization spending half or more of its finances in order to raise more money, I would question their effectiveness. Can you invest elsewhere and get better return from God’ s money?
Check them out with other Christian organizations. If you know other Christian organizations that you trust, ask them. Tell them you are looking for an honest answer.
In summary, share willingly according to God’s plan but be discerning and cautious as a steward. Accept nothing less than excellence for the Lord’s money.”
As you give you should ask God to make your motives pure (Psalms 139:23-24). Are you giving out of pride? Are you giving just for the tax benefits? (The United States is one of only a few countries where you get a tax deduction for giving.) God knows the motive of your heart (Proverbs 16:2).
Where is Your Money Going?
When we look at this area, we think primarily of lifestyle and priorities. The world has made us believe that our success in life is directly proportional to how much money we make and how much we spend on ourselves in the form of houses, cars, boats, furs, jewelry, etc. But, as we are reminded in Scripture, “…what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:25) Since our eternal souls is what is important, our lifestyle as Christians should be depicted by our level of spiritual maturity, not our level of materialism.
There is no better place to tell of one’s priorities in life than in the area of cash flow. What would your life story read like if it were written through the eyes of your checkbook? One could quickly tell what your priorities were, what type of house you lived in, how much you gave, where you shopped, how much you entertained, etc.
You have stated various goals and priorities in your plan. Are these goals and priorities reflected through your checkbook? “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon [riches]” (Matthew 6:24). If an independent observer were to look at your checkbook, would he conclude that God was your master?
We find several principles in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The most vivid principle, however, is the principle of stewardship. Stewardship is the use of God-given goals. God is not so much concerned about the amount we have as He is about our use and management of that amount. Are you managing wisely the money coming to you each year? Do you know what God’s plan for you is in the area of your finances? Do you have a spending plan, or giving plan that is commensurate with the way God has blessed you in your income and present situation? Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth…”
Bible Verses on Giving Freely
Some of these questions are hard ones to ask ourselves, but if we are serious about being good stewards, we need to evaluate our present lifestyle in light of the answers to these questions.
The following verse and thoughts give you some insight into the area of lifestyle and priorities.
- Proverbs 3:9,10-“Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
- 1 John 2:15-17–“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
- Colossians 3:1,2–“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on the things on the earth.”
- Romans 12:2–“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6–“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all the ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.”
- Luke 14:28-30–“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”
- Proverbs 16:3,9-“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established… A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Have you set faith goals?
- Why do you believe that God has given you the cash flow margin that you have?
- Would you feel comfortable in making an account before the Lord of the funds He has entrusted to you the past year and how you have used them?
- Consider establishing a maximum accumulation amount and giving everything above that amount. (Luke 3:11)