What comes to your mind when you hear Sarah McLachlan’s song, Angel? If you’re like me, all you can think of is a sad, wet dog walking down a muddy road, and a guilt trip. Why? Because guilt motivates people…at least for a little while.
Many people don’t like hearing about giving in churches, and rightly so. Many have been financially used and abused by pastors, churches and ministries. When we talk about giving at Awaken, our goal is to steer clear of guilt trips. Love motivates far better than guilt, and its effects last far longer. As a pastor, my job is not to guilt or force anyone into anything. Instead, my job is to lead by example and present the truth from God’s Word. How people respond is up to them.
We talk about giving every weekend at Awaken because in addition to singing, serving, and studying God’s Word, giving is another way that we worship. In fact, Jesus said that how we spend our money is an indicator of spiritual health (“Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”). Jesus wasn’t scared to talk about it, so we shouldn’t be either.
Here are a couple things to think about on the topic of giving…
Grace is a bad argument against giving.
Under the Old Covenant, Jews were required to give close to 25% of their income (10% Lord’s Tithe + 10% Festival Tithe + 10% every 3 years Poor Tithe)! However, many people who argue against tithing will say that Jesus never said to give 10%, so we can just give what we want. Most of the people that I’ve heard that argument from aren’t studious of God’s Word, they’re stingy with God’s money.
Using grace to justify a lack of giving seems like flawed logic to me. If Old Testament Jews who still had to slaughter lambs and goats to cover their sins could give 25% of their income, New Testament Christians who have the cross of Christ can (and should) give generously as well!
I can’t turn you to a New Testament verse that says to give 10%, but I believe that’s a great starting line for us all.
People who have received grace should give graciously.
It all belongs to God anyway.
When you realize that God is the giver of all good things and that we are simply stewards of His gifts, it changes everything. The question is no longer, “How much of my money will I give away?” but “How much of God’s money will I keep?”
When you stand before Christ one day, will you be able to say that you were faithful with God’s money?
Cutting off generosity cuts off God’s provision.
Most people don’t give because they’re trying to hold onto and hoard as much money as they can. The problem with that is that as they cut off giving so they can save, they also cut off God’s provision. You’re shooting yourself in the foot!
The one time in all of Scripture that God says to test Him is in Malachi 3 concerning tithing. He tells His people to test His ability and willingness to provide. He promises that if they will be faithful with their finances, He will be faithful to their finances. A similar promise is made in the New Testament within the context of giving generously:
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT) – And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
Written across our coins and cash is the slogan “In God We Trust.” That’s a great slogan, but how you invest your money will prove whether or not you really believe it.
If you’d like to listen to an entire teaching on this subject, check the Awaken teaching archive.