How Much Am I Supposed to Give?

Faithful Stewardship: Investing our God-given gifts and resources to further His eternal purposes
We opened 2018 by addressing the topic of financial giving (If you weren’t here Sunday, you can download the sermon here). This focus came from a desire to remind our congregation of one of our church’s Core Values: Faithful Stewardship. In the sermon, I addressed the debate on what the Bible says about how much a person is expected to give back to God. In fact, someone referred to the message as “The Sermon on the Amount.”

Often the question of giving has been answered by stating that God expects believers to give a “tithe.” A basic understanding of the tithe is giving back a tenth of one’s income to God.

Understanding the Tithe
The tithe was first mentioned in Genesis 14 in the account of Abraham and Melchizedek. It is mentioned again in the life of Jacob in Genesis 28. In both of these accounts, the tithe seemed to be voluntary rather than a requirement.

It wasn’t until the establishment of the Mosaic Law that the Israelites were required to give a tithe. We clarified on Sunday that during this time, Israel was a theocracy and the tithe was given to support both religious and social aspects of the nation. However, the tithe went well beyond 10%. At least three different tithes were required of the Israelites – two of them were annual tithes while the third was given every 3 years to assist in caring for the poor. This revealed that a faithful Jew was giving no less than 23% of his income to God.

Giving Under the New Covenant
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus inaugurated a New Covenant. As Paul mentions in Romans 7:4,

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

Paul goes on to say that we now serve God “not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” We know that as a result of the work of Jesus, many of the requirements of the Law are no longer binding on us. That is why we don’t continue to sacrifice lambs, and our diets are no longer restricted from certain foods.

In the New Testament, the tithe requirement is never mentioned again. Giving is now to be by the grace of God in response to His abundant goodness. It’s in the context of financial giving that Paul states,

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

In other words, the grace of God blows the top off the Old Covenant tithe. We are no longer limited to 10%, or even 23%. We are now called to give voluntarily, sacrificially, and generously to God’s work!

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One of the assumed ways in which this is to happen is within the context of your local church. Paul showed the Church at Corinth this in 1 Corinthians 9. Financial giving is our way of investing in a work that is eternal.

Many have jumped onto the bandwagon of investing in Bitcoin, but they constantly wonder whether they will receive a lasting return on their money. But when you make your investment with God, you don’t have to worry. It promises to bring back an everlasting return! As Jesus counseled in Luke 6:38,

Give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap, for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

In 2018, I trust that you will invest your finances wisely and generously in God’s work motivated by the grace and goodness of God in Christ Jesus.

Grace with you,
Pastor Brian

 

Thoughts on Grace Giving

“Giving is a response to the abundant grace we’ve been given.”

  • Giving to support those devoted God’s work is assumed (1 Corinthians 9:14)
  • Giving should always be motivated by love (1 Corinthians 13:3)
  • Giving is to meet a variety of needs (2 Corinthians 8:1-7)
  • Giving is to be planned (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Giving involves everyone in the church (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Giving is voluntary (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Giving is to be sacrificial (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
  • Giving is to be mindful of Jesus (2 Corinthians 8:9)
  • Giving is to be generous (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
  • Giving is to be cheerful (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Giving reaps incredible returns (2 Corinthians 9:5-6)

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

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