November 21, 2023
Church Contributions—Give Generously
We are called to give generously, and our attitude when giving is important to God. The text says Jesus “watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.” Jesus watched the worshipers in the Temple as they gave their offerings. And he watches us today as we give our time and our treasure. Our offering loses its value if we give to be seen by men or with a stingy heart toward God. Jesus is more interested and impressed by how we give than what we give. More than our offerings, God wants a contrite heart.
When we give, we acknowledge that God is the Lord of our lives. It is also an expression of thankfulness and praise to God that comes from a heart of worship. All that we have came from God, and now we are giving a small portion of that back to Him. I have always believed you can do more with ninety percent of your income than with one hundred percent. A heart of generous giving makes more room and more opportunities.
The New Testament (NT) does not expressly say how much of a percentage to give like the Old Testament (OT). The OT suggests a tithe of ten percent. And we know that the actual giving required by the Mosaic law was nearly thirty percent. Another example is the giving of first fruits. Almost all of those instructions are about produce, grain, and livestock (see Leviticus 27:30-32).
The purpose of tithes in the OT was to provide for people who had difficulty providing for themselves. This was God’s way of making provisions for them: the priests, the poor, the widow, and the orphan. Since the priestly Levites had “no portion” of land like the other tribes, they were to be cared for by tithes and offerings to the Tabernacle and later the Temple. It was a type of sacrifice that supported the ministry of the Levites.
Lifting up offerings is an excellent opportunity to teach your children about the importance of giving. By giving your children allowances, they can practice generosity and learn how to use money. You can teach them the importance of saving for long-term and short-term goals, impulse purchases, and self-control by rendering at least a tenth to the Lord at church.
It’s God’s Money
The main message is that all the money we have is God’s money. How you use or spend it should be pleasing to God. The principle of giving in the NT involves providing for those in need and those in ministry. A ten percent model is not mandated in the NT. The scriptures ask us to give generously (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). The Apostle Paul draws a connection in his first letter to the Corinthians by comparing the Levites with those who preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13-14).
Paul is explicitly saying that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel and should not be concerned with seeking income from other sources. Preachers, pastors, and ministers expect to live on what the church body provides them through their ministry as taught in the scriptures. Those who labor in teaching the Word of God are worthy of their wages (1 Timothy 5:18). John, in his third letter, says those who support the ministry become partners in that ministry (3 John 1:8). Furthermore, John asks in his first letter (1 John 3:17), that if you shut your heart to a brother in need, how does the love of God abide in you?
The church is not the only institution you can financially support or volunteer your time. If you know of a widow in need, help her. Find a ministry that cares for orphans, then back that ministry or adopt an orphan. The possibilities are endless. The NT gives us much more freedom and creativity as to how we can support different ministries. I challenge you to give generously and see what happens. God can do more with your ten percent than you could with one hundred percent. You cannot out-give God.
Author: Jon-Roy Sloan is the Chief Communications Officer for NationsUniversity and the author of Anastasia Smiles: Love Needs No Translation. Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives and do not necessarily reflect the views of NationsUniversity®.