Generous Giving and Tithing: 4 reasons to give
There are few things make us tense up like giving or reading the Bible’s commands about money and wealth. We struggle to believe that generous giving is obedient, missional, evangelistic, and good for us.
Generous giving is obedient
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
– 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
– Proverbs 3:9 ESV
The most straightforward commands can be the hardest to obey. In response to commands like these, we might give our “mandated” ten percent, check generosity off our list, and never give it another thought. Giving never becomes an act of joyful worship. It never goes above and beyond. We give God His 10% and we keep the rest of our money for ourselves (I mean… God’s money).
These commands directly assault our desire to manage our lives according to what we think. Commands about giving are reminders that we don’t own our money; God does. We can either obey, ignore, or rationalize the command away.
“That was written a long time ago to people in Corinth or Israel, not to me. Who defines ‘generous,’ anyway? I can’t give much, so why give at all?”
Do we actually sit down to study these questions biblically? Often, no. Do we use these questions to deflect responsibility? Yes.
It might get under our skin, but the Bible teaches on money clearly, and directly. We are commanded to give to God’s mission and worship. We are commanded to give to those in need. We are called to give cheerfully. We shouldn’t sit back and hope that others step up so that we don’t have to give. Christians are called to be the first to serve, go, love, and give. We are not left with other options.
Missional: Giving and tithing are your church’s resources for ministry
The local church is God’s primary means of making disciples in your community. Since the first century, God has been planting churches so that they might be disciple-making outposts of his kingdom. Discipling your community and your neighbors is primarily going to be accomplished through your local church. This means that all of the activity, and resources, of the local church and its members is to be aimed at discipleship–inside and outside of its walls.
Unfortunately, this takes resources to accomplish in several ways. It takes money to compensate pastors so that they can devote their time to shepherding the church body. It takes resources to make sure that staff can serve with their time undivided, and be empowered to be effective in that serving.
For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
– 1 Timothy 5:18 ESV
In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
– 1 Corinthians 9:14 ESV
It takes money for your church to buy food for the homeless or meet the needs of a struggling single mom in the church family. It takes resources to keep electricity running and sound systems functioning.
The reality is that your local church has no other means of “income” than the giving of its members. This leaves us with two huge implications that cannot be ignored.
First, local church leaders have the authority and responsibility to make sure that they are purposeful, God-centered, and wise in managing funds. The local church isn’t a pot where the members can hoard their collective wealth and buy fancy toys with which to play. The local church is a channel through which the collective resources of its members flow so that their resources might be multiplied for ministry.
Second, the members of the church have the authority and responsibility to make sure that their church has funds for ministry. Disciple-making is the goal of the local church, and that goal is resourced by the faithful giving of members. This is a clear precedent in scripture, particularly when we see the Apostle Paul writing to local churches, reminding them that their giving is being used on God’s mission.
Generous giving is a powerful witness
Christians ought to set the gold-standard for generosity as a powerful witness to the world around us. Collective giving as a church family is powerful, but individual generosity is powerful as well.
Our neighbors should know us as people ready to help those in need and to be hospitable. In contrast to the materialism around us, we ought to display an attitude that refuses to hold on too tightly to our money.
Generosity is good for our own hearts
Generous giving protects us from materialism. When we give generously the weeds of materialism in our hearts are uprooted.
Most of us have no idea how much of our contentment resides in bank accounts. Our hearts need to be freed from the love of money, so we can love God as we should. No one can serve two masters, and God’s commands to give are graciously saving us from serving the wrong king.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith…
– 1 Timothy 6:10 ESV
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
– Matthew 6:24 ESV
Christians should give: readily, generously, cheerfully. We should give to our local churches for the purpose of making disciples. We should seek out chances to show generosity to our neighbors. We must do this so that we can point to the truth that we have found all the riches we could ever desire in our Savior.
Christian Giving by Ligon Duncan
The Ultimate Disconnect by David Platt
The Message of Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for the successful by Mark Dever
All of Us Giving our All to God by David Appelt