Why should I give generously?
Giving generously is good for you. It flips the script where money controls you, and allows you to live in freedom. Most of us are captive to money, living in fear of loss and that there will never be enough. This fear leads us to become slaves of money. Yet when we give, we learn to trust that God will provide. The truth is that there is no amount of money that will make us feel safe, that will stave off our death, or will solve all of our problems. The super rich worry more about money than most people, and most of them aren’t happy (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Giving away 10% regularly will not make much difference in your wallet (okay, it might make a 10% difference), but it makes an enormous positive difference in your happiness and spiritual maturity. When we see that all wealth is God’s and that God provides freely, we can live the life of joy and freedom that our hearts desire.
Why should I give a tithe to the Church?
In the Old Covenant, God commanded Israel to bring in a tenth of everything as an offering to the Lord. This tenth of all income is called a tithe. Christians are not legally bound to this law anymore, but the principle of the tenth was upheld by Jesus, who said that it should be done (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42). Yet Jesus makes it clear that God is more interested in the heart of the giver, and that we should not neglect justice, mercy, and love. The tithe is a Christian principle, not a command, and its purpose is to serve the world by demonstrating God’s love, justice, and mercy. This is the work of the church. Even so, we are commanded to give generously and sacrificially, because it frees us from bondage to money, because God has been generous to us, and because it makes a real difference in the world.
While the New Covenant releases us from the legalistic demands of the Old Covenant tithe, Jesus is clear that we either serve God or money (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13), and that we should be willing to give everything to follow him (Luke 14:25-35). So while the tenth is not demanded of us, it is a base measure of a heart that is open to God’s live giving transformation — transformation in our individual lives and in our communities. You can measure your maturity, and your faith in God’s kingdom, by your generosity.
What should I remember about giving?
1. If you are just starting your generosity journey, it is okay to phase in the tithe over time. Start with a regular percentage, even if it is just 1%, and gradually increase it.
2. Giving 10% or more with a bad attitude misses the point. Giving should be done out of the joy to serve others and further the ministry of Jesus Christ. Scripture is clear that giving should not be done to gain praise from anyone, to gain position or privilege, or out of fear.
3. God doesn’t need your tithe. You can give nothing and God will be just fine. We give as an act of obedience, and because it is good for us, good for the Church, and good for the world.
4. God promises to bless us when we tithe (Malachi 3:8-11, 2 Corinthians 9:6-9). Does this mean that we will become rich? Not necessarily, but God does want to provide material and spiritual blessings to us. The more we give, the more we open ourselves up to receive God’s blessing.
5. God loves you unconditionally, regardless of how much you give. God loves you so much that he wants you become more like him — a joyful, generous giver.