MONEY ME AND GOD - Four guiding principles of giving
Introduction The second the discussion of God, Church and money arises there is naturally a number of reactions, “The Church just wants my money”, “I am just not sure I have enough finance to be generous”, “What about…” (reference some abuse of finance) Money has troubled people for millennia. For this reason, Jesus spoke about money all the time. 11 of his 40 parables were about or used money as a reference point. I say this to be clear, God, Church and money is not some sort of modern issue, but something anchored not in our pockets but in our hearts and visions. My experience over decades of leadership now is that the reason people have such an issue with money is because it is often our security.
It reflects what we worry about, ultimately, we worship that we perceive as giving us security.
Jesus told us that but more of that later. At the heart of talking about money is a talk about our hearts and faith. Over the next couple blogs, come with me on a journey about this topic. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them through to me.
In Matthew 6 we see Jesus talk about kingdom vision, glory and honour and unsurprisingly money, so lets listen to him as we start this journey. ‘Be careful not to practise your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 ‘So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matt 6:1 - 4
Go and read Matthew 6:19 – 34 for me so I don’t have to post it at length. The answer to worry? Knowing your value to him, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness in every area of life.
Too often we continue our journey with the obstacles in first sight rather than the kingdom, one shaped by faith and expectation.
The scriptures tell us that
"The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the world is His!" Psalm 24:1, TLB
“But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. ... (2 Cor 8:7)
2 Cor V13 continues…
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality ...” 2 Corinthians 8:7, 13-14
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6: 17
Giving is the antidote to greed. Giving is the catalyst to break the bonds to materialism, the door that leads to ‘taking hold of that which is truly life’
Four Guiding principles of giving
1. Give with Purpose (save with purpose as well)
“But generous people plan to do what is generous and they stand firm in their generosity.” (Isaiah 32:8)
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24
He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Proverbs 19:17
“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well after your herds.” Proverbs 27:23
Are you able to give an account for your use of the money God has given you?
One of the most practical Spiritual things you can do is have a budget.
Why? because you and I are stewards of that which is God’s.
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1Corinthians 4:1
What is the vision of God for this part of your life?
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
How are we going to enable church plants across the planet? Largely giving
How are we going to plant elsewhere in this City? Nation? World? Our giving is crucial
How are we able to sow into urgent matters of care and aide? The generous grace focused giving of you!
What does my giving say about my focus? Your budget shows your priorities.
2. Give with Priority
"Honor the Lord by giving Him the first part of all your income." Proverbs 3:9, TLB
What we do with the first portion of any part of our life defines the rest.
"Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income..." Proverbs 3:9
What does my giving say about my priority in life?
3. Give Proportionately
“...set aside some of what you have earned and give it as an offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you to earn.” 1 Corinthians 16:2
"Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you." Deuteronomy 16:17 NIV.
“Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:18
Does my giving reflect how God has blessed me?
Reasons I start with a tithe in my giving "You must tithe all of your crops every year. Bring this tithe to eat before the Lord your God at the place He shall choose as His sanctuary; this applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn of your flocks and herds. The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives." Deuteronomy 14:22-23, TLB. a. It teaches me to put God first (v 23) This is not a matter of covenant as such but a matter of learning to honour God in my finance. b. It is brought to his sanctuary ie. The place of the people of God, the believers. There is this weird 21st Century idea that I give where I want. That is not a biblical idea and frankly hardly existed a couple decades ago.
I believe that the proliferation of ‘not for profit’ para-Church organsations has created an unhealthy environment in the Kingdom but more of that later. Biblical giving is still as centred around the people of God as it was in the Old Covenant. I will write more about that later.
Tithing is a guiding principle in giving over all of scripture from Abraham tithing to Melchizedek to the Apostle Paul's encouragement to us to give in proportion to how we have been blessed.
Tithing is a life principle not simply a covenantal principle.
My giving is a clear indication of conviction over convenience in my life. Do I think that I must ‘tithe’ or I am in trouble with God?
No, but then again I think grace propels us into a level of life far more reflective of gratitude than the law ever could.
Giving ten percent, in proportion to my income is not so I am rewarded but to reflect the reality I am ALREADY blessed, and it ALL belongs to him (ps. I give more than 10 percent, it is only a principled 'floor')
I find it curious many who complain about the principle of the tithe have no problem with the principle of sabbath. Why do you think that is?
Can I suggest most opposition has nothing to do with deep reflection of covenantal order but insecurity and self-reliance.
We are bound by neither the Sabbath as law nor Tithing as law yet the principles established in God’s creative mandate are good for us, they teach us to honour God. They create platforms for growth.
4. Give Passionately
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on." Mark 12:41-44
It is only a passion for God that drives this sort of sacrifice
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6
"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts." Psalm 96:8, NIV
"Each man should give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." II Corinthians 9:7, NIV
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6: 17 MORE TO COME
Can I be rich and still Christian? How does the Church decide how money is spent? What about sowing and reaping? What about 'prosperity teaching'?