The way we handle our money accurately reflects our faith – it’s an outward indicator of what’s going on in our spiritual lives.
Unfortunately, for years many of us have bought into what our consumer-oriented culture has encouraged us to do, overspend by using routine marketing messages such as:
- Get it – you deserve it.
- No money? No problem! Borrow to get what you “need.”
- If it’s too expensive for your income, so what?
- Be successful, stretch yourself – borrow.
Following suggestions like these has played a major role in getting individuals, our nation and much of the world into the current economic mess.
So, how can Christians even be expected to give when we’re under such economic pressure? The main reason we should give to God is really for our own sakes. When we give, we confess that He’s the owner of all we have. We’re only managers.
Keeping what we have to ourselves reveals a serious problem in our spiritual perspective. The Lord cautions us to guard our hearts against greed, covetousness, ego and pride – tools Satan uses to control and manipulate us.
“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15 NASB).
Governments and marketers may want us to believe that the best way to get out of debt is to spend more, but God certainly tells us different. And the way we handle our money reveals whether we trust God and are willing to be good stewards – obedient managers of the blessings that He provides.
Get the Connection
Managing what belongs to God. Stewardship – God, money and faith – do you get the connection?
When Psalm 24:1 declares: “The earth is the Lords, and all it contains,” it means God owns everything and all blessings come from Him. We are to manage well those many blessings, and that includes money. It isn’t our possession; it’s Gods and we hold it in trust.
Giving is an external testimony of Gods ownership of everything in our lives, and tithing is one of the first principles of giving found in the Bible. But, the tithe is not to be understood as a limit. Keep in mind that God doesn’t own just 10 percent of our money; the other 90 percent belongs to Him too.
We should tithe and give with a willing attitude, and be sure our children and grandchildren witness our joyful giving so they’ll learn the importance of commitment.
Once a good steward establishes the tithe as the basic indication of Gods ownership, three progressive steps follow in God’s giving plan, each building on the previous. We are to give:
- Obediently – Sharing out of respect to God’s Word, to help with genuine needs of others.
- Abundantly – Sharing out of love from an abundance God may provide.
- Sacrificially – Surrendering individual wants in order to meet the needs of others.
Yes, the first 10 percent belongs to God, and what remains belongs to Him as well.
That Other 90 Percent
Giving expresses the spiritual commitment of a willing and obedient heart. When giving beyond the tithe, we give out of our abundance, according to the principle taught in 2 Corinthians 8:14.
- Faith promise – A commitment to give a certain amount if God provides it. It’s understood that if God doesn’t provide the funds, you’re not obligated to give them.
- Pledge – An absolute commitment to pay something. This type of giving is presumptuous, but a faith promise is scriptural.
- Non-cash – Time, service, or gifts such as food, furniture and clothing. This may also include assets you bought at a low price that are now worth much more, stocks, bonds, real estate – anything that grows in value.
- Never borrow in order to give. The Bible never shows God revealing His will in the lives of His people by using a loan.
We can honor God with our sacrificial giving, but this should only be the result of a heart attitude and not a desire to impress others. God is more concerned about the attitude of our hearts in giving than the percentage or the amount given.
Why Give?Giving to God reminds us who He is, who we are, and what our relationship should be to those things He has allowed us to manage in His name.
God returns and multiplies to those who give freely. And even though He is under no obligation to multiply our gifts, He does so because He loves us.
It isn’t the amount of money given that concerns God, after all it’s all His. But, how the money is used is very important:
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed”(2 Corinthians 9:8 NASB).