Why Give

It is part of our daily stewardship and it is a good way of saying thanks for all the good things that we obtain through the glory of God. For believers and churchgoers, giving is an important part of our lives. It is a way of ensuring the life and growth of our church for generations to come.

There is considerable information in the Bible on this subject. The Mosaic law of the Old Testament was quite clear on tithing and commands that all followers should give 10 percent of all their income to God. While, there is little mention of tithing in the New Testament, there is considerable mention of giving. This does not mean that commandments of the Old Testament can be discarded.  Jesus said: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)

Consider the passage in Acts 2:42-47, which is describing the life of the first  Christians:

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

It should be no surprise that the power of the Holy Spirit made a difference in how these early Christians dealt with material possessions. When they came to Christ, they were utterly transformed in heart, mind, and lifestyle. That is what we see here in these verses. We see people who had been possessed by God.

Here we see a mark of a great church. A great church is a generous church. They were so committed that they sold everything they had. They were so overpowered by a spirit of generosity and giving that even their possessions were no longer important to them. They were concerned that in their church no one would suffer need. But what they provided was not merely spare change. It wasn’t even a few thousand dollars sitting in the bank drawing interest. It was their houses, their land, all their material possessions. What an unselfish spirit existed among these early Christians! They were a generous church.

Scripture teaches that where a person puts his money, is where he puts his allegiance and love. Jesus said, "But where your treasure is there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). In reality many people reverse that process. They think that if a church gets a man’s heart to love God, it will get his money. Jesus did not say this. He said where a man puts his money, there is his love and allegiance. Therefore, when God is receiving the money from church members, it means they love and are obeying Him.

Look what God gave us: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) It is strange, that considering God’s gift to us, we can quibble over how much we give to the church or to charities.

When questioned on the subject, General Eva Burrows, past leader of the Salvation Army, replied, “Well, you could give until it hurts.”

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment of the law, He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

If anyone wants to know how they are following these greatest of commandments, all they have to do is look in their own cheque books. God can see in them anytime he wants.

Rather than excuse us from following the Old Testament law on tithing, the New Testament encourages us to do much more.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-4), Christ was very specific about how not to give. “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But, when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Jesus was speaking against having a prideful and boastful heart when you give offerings. We respect these verses in our church. We do not pass the plate and we do not publish or acknowledge publicly offerings of any size. Whether you make offerings at all and the size of your offerings are clearly subjects that are between you and God.

"As surely as the compass needle follows north, your heart will follow your treasure. Money leads; hearts follow". … Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle

 
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