“There are two ways in which a Christian may view his money,” opined Bible expositor and author W. Graham Scroggie. How much of my money shall I use for God?” or “How much of God’s money shall I use for myself?”
Scroggie’s observation reminds us of Jehovah’s statement through the prophet Haggai, “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine” (2:8) Indeed, as the Psalmist penned, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Ps 24:1).
Therefore, the Bible command to monetarily give of our prosperity to the Lord is actually just returning what already belongs to Him. Today’s Bible reading reminds us of this responsibility.
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:6-7).
I know from both personal experience and observation that preachers are very hesitant to preach on the topic of giving. Some will accuse the preacher of hinting for a raise. Others will charge the church leaders of being more concerned about the members’ money than their welfare. I’ve had the experience of having a visitor attend the Sunday I preached on giving and hearing the criticism, “Every time I come to church all they talk about is money!” Apparently, that person doesn’t attend very often.
The reality is that money is necessary for the work of the church to continue. We all know that it takes money to live. To raise a family. To buy a car. To get groceries. To purchase a home. To receive medical attention. And to send kids to college.
The church is no different. Whether the church owns its own meeting house or rents a facility, there is a cost. Teaching materials are not free. Local preachers must be supported with a fair living wage. Missionaries in other countries need our financial assistance. Benevolent needs arise due to natural disasters, economic downturns, or individual financial problems due to loss of a job, sickness, or death within a family. The church has a responsibility to provide for needy saints. Paul made that clear to the Corinthians in this epistle.
Furthermore, the Lord’s church doesn’t acquire money through business endeavors, raffles, or secular fundraisers. The only scriptural means of the church obtaining money is through the giving of its members. The Bible offers some guidelines concerning our giving.
#1 Giving glorifies God.
Giving is a part of our worship on the Lord’s day (1 Cor 16:1). And we are returning a portion of what is His in the first place. When we fail to give, we’re not shortchanging the church, but robbing God (Mal. 8:3-10).
#2 Giving is based on Personal Prosperity.
You can’t give what you don’t have. And it’s not the amount you give, but the intent of your heart. We’re commanded, “in keeping with our income” (1 Cor. 16:1). Not everyone has the same ability or resources.
#3 Giving should be a priority.
Our contribution should not be an afterthought but should involve forethought. The keyword in this text is “purpose.” Giving is intentional. Planned. And deliberate.
#4 Giving should be voluntary.
Reluctant, half-hearted, begrudging giving is not pleasing to the Lord. Giving shouldn’t be done under pressure or compulsion.
#5 Giving should be cheerful.
This is the positive side. Giving ought to be done joyfully and enthusiastically.
#6 Giving blesses the giver.
Like the farmer who sows seed in the Spring and reaps a harvest in the Fall, gracious, generous givers will reap what they sow. In fact, giving is more like an investment. It will abound with more fruit to our account (Phil. 4:14-19). “God loves a cheerful giver.”
#7 Giving must be predicated on the right motives.
All of this underscores the importance of our intentions. We don’t give to get. Or give out of disgruntled duty. Or to receive the praise of people. We give because we love God. Because we care about others. Because we can. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because it’s a way to share our blessings.
Finally, in the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman