What’s the point of giving in a church? Sure there are building expenses and utilities, salaries for staff, ministry costs and such, but WHY should we give? Is there more at stake than just the idea of “financing the business of the church”? Absolutely! The Bible addresses our use of money and resources more than many other topics. Giving is a part of that use. As a follower of Jesus it’s important that we understand what He desires of us in the area of our finances and giving. Here are some principles you might find helpful:
God has entrusted many things to us. It’s critical that we remember He is the real owner. Whether it’s our health, our gifts and abilities, our opportunities, or our money… they are not really “ours” at all, they are simply “on loan” to us from God. And He expects us to use them intentionally, for His glory, as well as for the benefit of others. We want to be faithful in our stewardship, which includes how and
where we use the money we have been entrusted with.
Jesus said where your treasure is your heart will be also. What do you treasure? What do you really value? Stuff? Riches? Independence? One of the ways we can deepen our love for God is to invest (with our time, talents, and treasure) in the things that matter to Him. That means giving with eternity in mind (see Luke 16:1-13). It means valuing things that God values. Giving toward “ministry” includes treasuring eternal things and investing with eternity in mind.
KEEPING THE "DRAGONS" UNDER CONTROL
We live in a culture that breeds materialism and consumerism. Greed is rampant in our society. One of the best ways to “slay these dragons” is to learn to be generous, even sacrificial in our giving. Giving demonstrates that we trust God, not resources, and that we
don’t need to buy into the beliefs and values of our day.
RESPONDING TO A GENEROUS GOD
We have received freely from God. We should therefore freely give. Salvation is a free gift. His grace is abundantly available to us. He is constantly giving and providing for us in all kinds of ways. We can practice that same attitude with whatever resources we have. We then offer back to God through loving and serving others, and giving generously.
As you consider giving to the church, keep in mind these principles. Our true home is not here and now, but heaven for eternity. We have the opportunity now to invest our lives in eternal things. The way we spend money, use abilities, and take advantage of opportunities we have, can be eternal in consequence. They can impact our own experience in eternity if we will keep in mind what God has called us to.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)
For further learning in this, check out Randy Alcorn’s small but potent work, The Treasure Principle, or Dave Ramsey’s challenging training in Financial Peace University.