Lesson 10: Giving

"What is the Meaning of Giving, and What Are My Responsibilities in this Area?"

Giving is an extremely controversial subject in Christianity, largely due to the severe pressures exerted on God's people to give to son many worthy causes. This is perhaps one of the most misunderstood subjects in Christianity. This lesson deals with the Christian's responsibility in stewardship of his life as well as his resources.

Before you can properly understand the nature of New Testament giving, you must understand on e fact: God doesn't need your money. "The earth is the Lord's .. " (Psalms 24:1).

We will explore why we should give, the purpose of giving, what God would have us to give, how much we should give, and what our attitudes toward giving should be.

Why Should I Give?

    1. Christians should give to honor God through obedience (Proverbs 3:9-10).
    2. We should give because we are thankful for what God has first done for us (2 Corinthians 9:15).
    3. We should give to acknowledge God's ownership of all things (Psalms 50:10-12; 104:24; 115:15-16; Job 41:11).
    4. Giving proves the sincerity of our love for God (2 Corinthians 8:8),
    5. Giving develops in us some attributes of God.
        1. Giving (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9)
        2. Grace (2 Corinthians 8:6-7; 9-8; 1 Peter 4:10).
    6. Giving affords us the opportunity to make eternal investments (Philippians 4:17; Matthew 6:19-21; Revelation 3:18).
    7. Giving procures God's blessings on our personal finances. We cannot "out give" God (Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:10).

What is the Purpose for Giving?

    1. Faithful giving of the saints through a local church supports missions. Not every believer will go, but all can send (Philippians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 11:9).
    2. Giving supports those within the church body who are unable to support themselves.
        1. Those who are faithful to the church (Acts 6:1).
        2. Those who do not have family to help them (1 Timothy 5:16)
    3. Giving supports the leaders of the local church (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
    4. Giving supports the "nuts and bolts" operation of the local church; utilities, materials, maintenance, etc ... (2 Corinthians 8:4).

You should have confidence in the way your church leaders handle God's money. Although not necessary, an annual financial report and question to an administrative manager or deacon, would certainly build member confidence. If you are curious or have good reason to believe that the church's resources are not being used scripturally, then speak to the individuals with that responsibility (2 Corinthians 8:20-21).

What Should I Give?

Before we consider giving anything, we must remember that we ourselves have been purchased by God with Christ's blood and we belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

    1. Give ourselves wholly to the things of God (1 Timothy 4:15; 2 Corinthians 8:3-5, 12; Romans 12:1).
    2. Give attendance to the reading of God's Word (1 Timothy 4:13).
    3. Give earnest heed to what we have heard (Hebrews 2:1).
    4. Give ourselves continually to prayer (Acts 6:4).
    5. Give thanks for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
    6. Give voluntarily of the three resources God has given you:
        1. Time
        2. Talent
        3. Treasure

How Much should I Give?

    1. Give Tithes
        1. Before the Law was instituted, Abraham gave tithes (Genesis 14:20; Hebrew 7:1-7).
        2. Under the Law, a person gave a tithe - 10% of their gross income to God (Malachi 3:10-12).
        3. The tithe was holy unto the Lord, and did not belong to the person (Leviticus 27:30).
        4. The promise in Malachi 3 is that God will prosper the remaining 90% more than the original 100% (Proverbs 11:24; 13:7; Matthew 6:19-21).
        5. Jesus commended tithing (Matthew 23:23).
    2. Give to Missions
        1. Where tithes may be seen or interpreted as our obligation, missions giving is an extension of our heart-felt desire to see souls saved.
        2. Our support of missions at home and abroad is the extension and outreach of our local church. Some of God's greatest blessings have come through missions giving (Philippians 4:13-19; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2).
    3. C. Give to Others
        1. God channels His provisions through other people (Luke 6:38).
        2. One man's abundance is another man's need. Allow God to use you to supply other men's needs. Paul specifically mentions taking offerings for others "... collection for the saints" (1 Corinthians 16:1).
        3. Although the money may not go to the church, your giving to others is still for the Lord. Jesus said in Matthew 25:45, "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
    4. D. Give Sacrificially
        1. They gave out of their deep poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-2).
        2. The widow gave two mites, which was all her living (Mark 12:41-44).
        3. God measures gifts by how much is left, not by how much we give.
        4. god sees the heart of the giver rather than the size of the gift.
        5. Any offerings given to missions or other causes should not be deducted from your tithe. The tithe is for your church and its work; offerings are above and beyond the tithe. Malachi 3:8- Notice that "tithes" and "offerings" are not the same, they are listed separately.

How Am I to Give?

    1. Faithfully (1 Corinthians 16:2)
        1. God will reward your honesty and faithfulness.
    2. Cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7)
        1. Even more important that the quantity of our giving is its quality, for God loves a cheerful giver.
        2. "There's that collection plate! Do I have to give something again?" We ought to count it a great privilege and joy to be able to give something back to Him who gave so much for us. As an individual grows in the Lord, his attitude toward giving will more closely follow the principles summarized in 2 Corinthians 9:7.
    3. Willingly (2 Corinthians 8:3-5, 11-12)
    4. Individually (1 Corinthians 16:2)
        1. Not only the head of the home, but mother and children, too.
        2. Giving is not only for the rich. It is for the poor also.

Money and Possessions: You Do Not Have to be Poor to Please God!

    1. This is very important to understand. spirituality is not measured by either the abundance or lack or material goods. Nowhere in the Bible does God specifically condemn anyone simply for having money. Instead, he deals with their attitude.
    2. The bible does not say that money is the root of all evil. It says " ... the love of money is the root of all evil ... " (1 Timothy 6:10).
    3. Many godly Bible examples were wealthy.
        1. Solomon was the wealthiest man in history, yet observe his conclusion of this matter (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
        2. Job was the wealthiest man of his day (Job 1:3), yet when all his wealth was gone, observe his attitude (Job 1:20-22).
        3. Even the Lord Jesus Christ was accompanied by a group of wealthy women who provided for Him Materially (Luke 8:1-3; John 12:3).

At What Point Does Money Interfere with My Relationship with God?

    1. When you trust in it rather than trusting in God (Mark 10:23-27; Proverbs 11:4, 28).
    2. When your affections are set on your earthly possessions instead of your heavenly possessions (Matthew 6:19-21; Colossians 3:1-4).
    3. When you think your own spirituality, another man's spirituality, of god's blessings can be measured by material possessions (Luke 12:15; 1 Samuel 16:7).
    4. When your objective in life becomes to earn as much money as possible (Proverbs 23:4; Ecclesiastes 5:10-12).
    5. When you think that you provide for your own needs instead of God providing them (Philippians 4:19; Deuteronomy 8:10-18).

What Are The Proper Attitudes I Should Develop toward Physical Possessions?

    1. First and foremost, be content with what you have. Understand - - to be content is not to grudgingly resign yourself to accept your state, but to rest satisfied in god's provision, realizing whatever you have been given is a blessing.
        1. We are to be content with our possessions (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:8).
        2. We are to be content in whatever state we find ourselves, resting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:11: Note that Paul wrote these words while in jail!).
    2. B. Realize that there are many things which are far more important than money, which money cannot buy.
        1. Wisdom (Proverbs 16:16)
        2. A righteous life (Proverbs 16:8; 28:6; Psalms 37:16)
        3. A good night's sleep (Ecclesiastes 5:12)
        4. God's Word (Psalms 119:14, 72,127)
        5. Good health (Luke 8:43-48)
        6. Quietness and peace (Ecclesiastes 4:6; Proverbs 15:16; 17:1)
    3. If and when God blesses you physically, don't forget Hem (Deuteronomy 6:10-12; Proverbs 30:7-9; Revelation 3:17).
    4. Realize that if God takes all your wealth away, it should not affect your relationship with Him (Job1:20-22).
    5. Don't be envious of someone else's wealth (Psalms 49:16-17; Exodus 20:17).
    6. Stay away for "get rich quick" Schemes (Proverbs 20:21; 28:20, 22).
    7. Finally, realize that our culture, through the media and advertising, has a tremendously negative materialistic influence on you. Guard yourself. Make sure your major desires are spiritual instead of physical.

You Must Strike a Proper Balance in Your Attitude Toward Money and Possessions

    1. Proverbs 11:1 says, "A false balance is abomination to the LORD ... "
        1. The same Bible that says not to worry about your physical provisions in Matthew 6:25-34 also says that if a man doesn't provide for his family he is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8).
        2. The same bible that says "...the love of money is the root of all evil ..." (1 Timothy 5:18).
    2. These are not contradictory statements, but principles of balance to show you haw to handle physical possessions.

Key Memory Verses

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7)

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21)

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" (Philippians 4:11)

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19)

Additional Thoughts

Some common attitudes about giving are:

    1. Tithing is only for those who can afford to.
    2. Financial giving is the only giving that matters.
    3. Money is the root of all evil.
    4. Missions and other giving can come out of the tithe.

From the Bible principles taught in the lesson, you should understand that these teachings are false, and why.