I remember getting my first paycheck ever, man what a rush! Then, sudden frustration towards a guy named FICA taking 7% of my paycheck! I was a busboy at a local restaurant and at 14 years of age I felt like I was on top of the world. Money changes you. In my family growing up I had watched both my parents and my brother practice giving to my local church. 10% first to God’s work, no questions asked. It was just what we did, and man am I thankful my family taught me the foundations of a lifestyle of giving. I think most ALL of us reading this post would agree that we should all be GIVERS. I mean c’mon! Especially if you claim to follow the teachings of Jesus there is almost no possible way to claim the lifestyle of a disciple and not be a financial giver. Now let me be clear. I am not just talking about giving to a local church. But for anyone who wants to fully follow Jesus, the money under your care MUST point to a acknowledgement and dependance on Jesus. How you handle money is a way you prove your faith in God.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.“ 2 Corinthians 9:7
There have been so many incredible stories I have experienced both personally and church wide, of people listening to God and giving. They are too numerous to list here. Last year over 400 family units gave a financial gift to our church. Easily, that is over 5,000 acts of worship through financial giving. This is the church in action fulfilling the vision! Your giving and your handling of the money God has entrusted you with IS a spiritual issue. But many of us have lived with guilt, frustration and even abstaining from talking about giving habits because of pain, debt, mistrust and let’s be honest, a hard heart. If this is you the enemy is ripping you off! So what do I do?
How MUCH Should I Give?
1. Start Somewhere – Maybe the one “thing” holding back your faith is a reliance on things. Once you think you rely on things and more of them, your trust in God goes down. Giving proves you aren’t self sufficient. If you have never made a gift or it has been a very long time. It is time to take the first step and make and offering to God. Ask him to bless it, use it. be bold and ask God to show you more fully his plan for His money, remember it’s not really yours, you cant take it with you. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20
WHAT YOU GIVE THE ENEMY CAN’T STEAL.
2. What God Tells You – What? Am I listening for the audible voice of God? Maybe, but for most of us, it won’t happen that way. The above verse frees us from guilt and compulsion motivations. Does this mean if someone is tithing it’s wrong? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What matters is the heart of the giver, not the percentage of the gift. Our motivation should be to give AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN! Now, that’s probably not something you have prayed lately. Once we reduce giving to a check box or a legalistic matter, our heart will become corrupted. We may even think we are better than someone else because we give and they don’t. Be careful though, comparison is NEVER the pathway to spiritual maturity. Also, don’t let this one be an excuse to rationalize giving less and don’t let the enemy sneak into your budget and steal your blessings with material things!
WHEN YOU GIVE THERE IS GREAT JOY AND ANTICIPATION.
3. In Rhythm – Often giving in rhythm helps you determine the amount to give. Did you get paid this week, there is your answer. Now, talk to God, your wife, your kids, Give first. Is 10% your percentage? I would suggest you are never going to go wrong with that. In Malachi 3 God says “test me.” However often you get paid there should be a moment of reverence when you set aside your gift before the Lord to acknowledge his provision in your life. You see, every time you get paid is an opportunity for spiritual growth. Give by cash, Give by check, Give online, Give by text, It really doesn’t matter how, but give in rhythm. Give as a BOLD declaration of your trust in God to give you more. You should love getting paid because it means you can NOW give! “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
WHEN YOUR GIVING IS CONSISTENT IT IS A SOURCE OF CLARITY IN YOUR LIFE.
4. In Faith – Some of us have been tithing for a very long time. This is a very commendable thing. Continue to excel in this discipline! Keep going! It’s incredible what you have done by faith. Over $3 Million over the life of 217church in the past 5 years! Now, I have heard of Christ followers upset at others for not “doing their part” You may even feel this way in your heart. Never make your giving based on what others have given. Tithing 10% is like training wheels on a bike. It’s there to teach us the discipline and we weren’t meant to stop there but simply start there. Once you ride on training wheels you will want to take them off and ride like a big boy, of course! So let me ask you a question…Who feels like Barnabas today? “Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:36-37 I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a tithe but a gift of faith. When you give, something wonderful happens, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Maybe you have heard… ‘Mo money, mo problems.’
DON’T JUST GIVE WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS GIVEN, BUT GIVE WHAT CHALLENGES YOUR FAITH.
There is a little known verse in Proverbs that may be the best wisdom on giving you will ever here. Try praying this and let me know how this changes you. You won’t be the same if you implement this…
“give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.”
This Sunday at 217church
February 8th – Joy & Generosity – Rediscovering Your JOY – Declaring your dependence deepens your Joy!
Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 10:15. Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.