For some, it doesn’t matter what a church actually does, all they hear is “We want your money.” Sad but true; many view the church as one big money grab. I don’t know if it was a few mega-rich-pastors or some ostentatious church campus that gave people that impression, but wallets are no closer guarded than in a church on Sunday morning. Consequently, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there as to why and what exactly we are expected to give?
To my embarrassment, giving of my finances took me a few years to get my head (or more truthfully – my heart) around. I thought (like many others maybe?), that my “giving” was not simply of my financial gifts. Which is true, it is not. However, that did not mean I could shirk my responsibility to give of my finances. There is no “service only” option. The widow in Mark 12 did not elect to only serve God because she had little, but to sacrificially give to him and Jesus noticed. It should come as no surprise, that as Kimberley and I purposed to trust him with our giving, He has never let us down. Have you committed to financially supporting your local church and kingdom missionaries in a biblical way?
Over the next few days, we’ll address several of the top questions we receive and you can see how it fits with your understanding:
Do I have to give 10%?
The answer is “no.” Now if that strikes you as good news, you have missed the point of supporting your church and really should continue reading. Way back in Genesis 14 when Abraham met Melchizedek the priest of God Most High, Abraham “gave him a tenth of everything.” In Genesis 28, after Abraham’s grandson Jacob meets God, Jacob declares, “of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” It should come as no surprise then that God requires the Israelites to give a tenth (or a “tithe”) to him too (Leviticus 27:30, 32).
Now, Mr. Greedy-Pants will be more than happy to tell you that, “In the New Testament we are never commanded to give 10%.” This is true. Rather, we are told that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) who sacrificially (Mark 12:42-44) supports their church (1 Timothy 5:17-18) and those in need (James 2:15-17). Given that our God, the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) thought it appropriate for his followers to give him a tenth in the Old Testament, it would seem to me that the cheerful and sacrificial response of the redeemed follower of Jesus in the New Testament was not thinking any less.
For more information on biblical stewardship, see our sermon series The Wise Steward or for answers to specific questions email email@example.com.