A Biblical Perspective on Generosity
Giving Should Be In Significant Proportions.
In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income (tithe) to the support of the ministry and the needs of the poor. The New Testament does not specifically mention the tithe, but since we are far more blessed by God than Old Testament believers, we assume that we are held more responsible for generosity, not less. The guideline of sacrifice– Paul says about the Macedonians, “they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability” (II Corinthians 8:3). That means they gave until it hurt; until it meant a sacrifice in their lifestyle and then some. The guideline of responsibility – Christians are also to give “according to their ability” (Acts11:29). There are seasons to economic life. And there are economic responsibilities to our families and to our debts. In many cases, good planning over time will be necessary to move our giving into Biblical proportions without reneging on legal and personal financial obligations.
Giving Should Be A Joyful Response To God’s Grace.
Paul asked for money this way: “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich.” (II Corinthians 8:8-9). Paul says that the difference between legalists (those who think God accepts them because of their good works) and Christians (those who know they are sinners saved by grace) is that a Christian wants to give as generously as he or she received. You always give effortlessly to those things that give your life meaning, to your functional saviors, to your bottom-line “gods.” So, “giving sacrificially” somehow becomes “giving joyfully.”
Giving Should Be Systematic And Thoughtful.
Paul directed Corinthians to set asidea portion of their wealth each week until he could come and take it to famine victims in Palestine (I Corinthians 8:10-11). Usually “spontaneous” and unplanned giving, while perhaps joyful (principle #2) is not proportionate (principle #1). The actual tally of completely spontaneous giving usually shows little sacrifice involved. We must plan. We must allow the church to help with reminders and directions.
Simple giving plan:
- Evaluate your own heart with regard to money.
- What do you most enjoy spending money on?
- What percentage of your income is going to: a) God’s causes (church, Christian ministries), and b) to people inneed (Outside your family).
- ReadMatthew 6:19-34; I Timothy 6:6-10; II Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-15. Do you need to adjust your giving in light of eternal values? Evaluate the use of your “non-liquid” resources.
- Do you have a regular plan of giving? If not, then follow these three steps (families should do this together):Decide what percentage of your income you will give to the Lord’s work this year.
- Now ask two questions: Is this a sacrificial figure? On the other hand, is it a responsible figure?
- Now set aside the Lord’s portion first whenever the money is received. It is his, not yours.