Means of Grace: Giving Sacrificially and Cheerfully
The Bible has much to say about how we view money, possessions and giving. I would like to focus on the last category: giving. The Bible not only commands us to give but also dictates the manner in which we give.
There are many bad reasons why people give money to a church: duty, guilt, tradition, trying to find favor with God or trying to get a return of physical blessing from God. But none of these reasons is biblical. God has created giving as a means of grace. That is, when giving is done properly, in terms of how and why, by faith we receive grace to grow in Christ. We do get something out of giving. We need to be careful here and not go to the extremes. On one extreme, many Christians falsely believe that giving a little seed faith money allows (or even obligates) God to give us more money or physical blessing in return. On the other extreme, in the desire to separate from the previous error, there is the belief that God will give no blessing in this lifetime. God has established giving as a gracious means to grow us in Christ, bless others and build our trust in Him. Without giving, we are missing out on tremendous ways for our faith to grow by increasing our understanding of God, Christ, the gospel, the church, loving others, and God’s grace in light of our sin.
Before I discuss some of the benefits, let’s consider how we should give. Of course, the question of how much frequently comes up first. The exact amount or percent in the New Testament is never brought up for the Christian believer. This is a heart matter and it is easy to get legalistic. With regards to how much, we are instructed, we should give not merely according to our riches but sacrificially (Mark. 12:41-44). Furthermore, in our sacrifice, we should give cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7); it should be done willingly, not reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Cor. 9:5, 7).
My challenge for us is to consider why we give and how much. Do we give sacrificially or only out of our abundance? While many in our church graciously and sacrificially give, always guard your heart; do we give cheerfully? Continually ask God to search and guard your heart. In future pastoral words, I will continue to consider the manner in which we give and the spiritual blessings we get from giving.