For many believers, giving to the church is a sensitive topic. While some people may want to give, perhaps their spouse does not. Or they’re worried about the church misusing the money donated. Perhaps someone had a bad experience with a church in the past which makes it difficult to give. Others may simply think that they do not have enough money, or have too much debt, to be able to give to the church.
I’m reminded as I read over this list and consider many other reasons people have for not giving, that even a valid excuse is still an excuse. The fact is that giving to the church is something Christians are expected to do. For some believers, in some cultures, this may not mean giving money. Many, many believers around the world are desperately poor. But they give the food they grow, the water they have that others don’t, their time to help repair a home, school, or church, and their hospitality. They give what they can.
However, in the United States – where I live – and other developed countries not having money to give is not an issue. The issue is how Christians choose to use their money. We all have bills, obligations, and unexpected expenses. There are as many reasons (excuses) not to give to the church as there are people making excuses.
Do I sound harsh? I don’t mean to – but I do hope to challenge you to ‘up your giving game’ from wherever it is to somewhere better. Because the bottom line is that God wants us to give. Not for His benefit, but for ours.
Biblical Reasons for Giving to the Church
Money and Possessions Can Become Idols
1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” How easy it is for us to think we ‘need’ to see the latest movie, have more clothes or shoes, buy a new car, or live in a house much bigger than our family size would indicate. These ‘needs’ reveal our love of luxury, of possessions, of presenting the ‘right’ impression. Is this love of money? I think it is – for it is only with money that we can attain these things. Love of money – and the things money buys – can take the place of our love for the Lord almost without us noticing.
Jesus Died for the Church.
Yes – Jesus died for you and me as individuals. But He never intended the Christian life to be a solitary journey. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us that Jesus died for the Church – to sanctify it, cleanse it, and present it holy and blameless to God. Acts 2 begins with the disciples waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit and ends with the amazing growth of the church. In Acts 2:41-47 there is no hint of the individuality of the believer, except for the faith leading to salvation. Otherwise, believers were together, working, learning, praying, eating, and giving.
My Giving Reflects My Commitment
God knows that my level of giving is a direct reflection of my commitment to Him – and He wants me to realize that fact as well. 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 says the believers in Macedonia gave freely, but “they first gave themselves to the Lord.” This is the model, the hope God has for His children. We are to give ourselves to Him and out of that relationship will grow the generosity that gives to the church.
Need help getting started? Check out this post on tithing.
God Has Given to Us
We should desire to give – freely, generously, and cheerfully – because that is how God has given to us. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” As Jesus said in Matthew 10:8, we are to give as we have received: “Freely you received, freely give.” God has generously given us, His children, all we need to live godly lives, as Peter states in 2 Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” We are to give as He gave.
God Blesses Those Who Give
God has divinely conditioned His blessings to us on our generosity. Luke 6:38 states this plainly, “Give, and it will be given to you.” However, probably the most well-known passage regarding this truth is in Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” We should not ‘give to get’ but the truth God has shared is that it matters to Him that we do give. He opens His hands when we open ours.
Believers Need to Support the Church
All believers are expected to support the work of the Lord done through the Church. Paul states in 1 Timothy 5:17-18, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’” Paul also commended believers in Philippi who gave to his ministry. “You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs” (Philippians 4:15-16).
A thoughtful reading of 2 Corinthians 8 should lead you to the same conclusion: God is pleased with believers who give to the work of the Church. While I do not want to quote the entire chapter here, I urge you to read it for yourself. However, for now, consider verses 3 and 4. “For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.” God has placed the Church in the world to impact the world with the message of grace and forgiveness through Jesus. That can only happen when believers open their wallets and purses and support the eternal work of the church. BTW – giving your time to this endeavor is equally important!
What Will You Choose to Do?
I could keep going. We should give because Jesus commends giving (Mark 12:41-44), because God knows our hearts follow our wealth (Matthew 6:21), and because others need it (Luke 10:30-37).
The point is that giving is a good thing and that believers should give to their church. That is where your ministry should focus and be launched from. The Church was established to spread the Good News throughout the world. This means sending missionaries (which takes giving), supporting domestic and international ministries (which takes giving), paying the pastor’s salary (which takes giving), providing courses on growing in faith and sharing our faith (which takes giving), and so much more. The job Jesus left for the Church to do cannot be accomplished without believers giving themselves to the Lord and their money and time to the Church.
Jesus gave all He had for us. We can never match His love and grace in giving to us. But we can give freely and cheerfully. How will you ‘up your giving game’ this week?