Why We Give
Randy Alcorn said it very well:
When I grasp that I’m a steward, not an owner, it totally changes my perspective. It’s the ultimate paradigm shift. Suddenly, I’m not asking, “How much of my money shall I, out of the goodness of my heart, give to God?” Rather, I’m asking, ‘Since all of ‘my’ money is really yours, Lord, how would you like me to invest it today?’… When I take to heart the truth that God has a claim, not merely on a few dollars to throw in an offering plate, not on 10% or 50%, but 100% of “my” money, it’s revolutionary. Suddenly, I’m not God. I’m simply God’s money manager. Money isn’t God. God is God. He is in His place; I am in mine, and money is in its place too.”
We feel the same way, God has entrusted us with gifts – both financial gifts and gifts of talent we can share with the world. How we share these gifts is up to us and there are 4 guide posts we can use to ensure we are using our gifts in the most fitting way. When we give, we should do so responsibly, porportionately, sacrificially and regularly.
What does it mean to Give Responsibly?
Christians are to give “according to their ability” (Acts 11:29). There are seasons to economic life. And there are economic responsibilities to our families and to our debts. In many cases, good planning over time will be necessary to move our giving into proportions that reflect our eternal priorities without reneging on legal and personal financial obligations.
What does it mean to Give Proportionately?
We are to give out of what we have, not out of what we do not have. Each of us needs to prayerfully determine what generous giving is for each of our families… for some people, 10% is too low a starting point. For others, giving even 5% is a sacrifice. The goal is to increase one’s commitment up to and above 10% so that it models Christ’s love to our communities.
What does it mean to Give Sacrificially?
Paul says about the Macedonians, “they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability” (II Cor. 8:3). That means they gave until it meant a sacrifice in their lifestyle.
What does it mean to Give Regularly?
Paul encouraged the Corinthian church that, “On the first day of every week, each one should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Regular giving cultivates a lifestyle of generosity in the hearts of God’s people. Usually spontaneous or unplanned giving, while perhaps joyful, is not proportionate. The actual tally of completely spontaneous giving usually shows little sacrifice involved. We must plan. We must allow the church to help with reminders and directions.
How can I evaluate my own heart with regard to money?
What do you most enjoy spending money on? What percentage of your income is going to:
a) God’s causes (church, Christian ministries)
b) to people in need (outside your family)
How close is it to 10% of your income? Read Matthew 6:19-34; I Timothy 6:6-10; II Cor. 8:1-15; 9:6-15. Do you need to adjust your giving in light of eternal values? Remember though, it’s not all about money – keep reading about “non-liquid” resources (or the article on ways to give) for other ways you can share the gifts God has provided.
How do I evaluate the use of my “non-liquid” resources?
Are there resources besides your money that you should use for Christ and others.
- Do you have time?
- Emotional or relational resources?
- Are you able to be a host to others?
- Provide transportation?
- Assist shut ins or provide community support?
- Volunteer to teach Sunday school or classes at church?
There are many ways – besides giving our money – we can give to the work and Kingdom of Christ.
How can I establish a regular plan of giving?
Follow these three steps (families should do these together):
- Decide what percentage of your income you will give to the Lord’s work this year.
- Now ask two questions: On one hand, is this a sacrificial figure? On the other hand, is it a responsible figure?
- Now set aside the Lord’s portion first whenever the money is received. It is His, not yours. Remember — the more you trust God with your material treasure, the more He will entrust you with his spiritual treasure (Luke 16:9-12; II Cor. 9:10-12).
You can read more on the Stewardship page, but we cannot stress enough stewardship is not simply about the money. If you have any questions, please arrange to speak with an elder, a member of the stewardship team or a fellow member. We’re here to help, and want you to be successful so please reach if you want to discuss any details of your plan.