GODS TOP SEVEN
"7 Principles About Giving"
Jerry A. Collins
Giving our money accomplishes a number of things and we are going to learn at least seven of them. It is interesting that even Jesus had a team of people who wanted to support his and the disciples’ ministry. In Luke 8:1-4 Jesus had a group of people who traveled with him consisting of (1) the 12 apostles (2) some women He healed and (3) some wealthy women. He did not need anyones financial support. Anyone who can turn water into wine, feed thousands of people from a few loaves and fishes does not need support. Yet He and the apostles received gifts from people contributing to their support out of their private means. In the book of Philippians Paul thanked them for their abundant gifts (1:5, 7; 4:15-18) which they sent him more than once while he was in Thessalonica. But they also sent him a gift while he was in Corinth which he says fully supplied my need (2 Cor 11:9). Paul had some substantial contributors in Macedonia whose gifts allowed him to be able to stop making tents and begin devoting himself completely to the Word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:3-5). In 3 John 5-11 the Apostle John wrote to his friend Gaius to encourage him and commend him for his support of itinerant missionaries. His gift was given over the objection of the group of believers he was associated with and the leader as well. His gift was a personal one and was appropriate according to John who told him so. So, giving to others is a biblical thing to do. As we focus on the topic of giving, what are the top seven biblical principles that should guide us in our ministry of giving.
1. WE GIVE FROM A PROFIT MOTIVE Phil 4:17
When we give we are giving to make a profit. In Philippians 4:17 we read about giving "Not that I seek the gift itself but I seek for the profit which increases to your account". In this case it was a group of believers in the city of Philippi that this is addressed too. Their involvement in his ministry was with the motive of participating with Paul in his work for the Lord and Paul told them that he desired that participation because of the profit they would receive from it. So giving has a profit motive--heavenly profit for financial participation in the Gospel (Matt 6:19). In 2 Cor 9:11-12 giving is to be done with a profit motive. The profit is that they will be enriched in such a way that it will produce thanksgiving to God. So the motive is increased righteousness and spiritual ministry. The profit for them is on the other side of the grave. If I do not give with this motive I will not give long, or often or much! I can give with me in mind but the giving is for investment on the other side of the grave. The issue is the motive for your giving because you will be accountable for that.
2. OUR GIVING IS TO OTHERS 2 Cor 8:1, 4
In 2 Cor 8 giving was demonstrated and praised from the groups of believers in the Macedonian region. This included areas like Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. These believers were characterized by their giving and their giving was to other believers for their support and ministry. Other examples include giving to support Jesus, the apostles, Paul and Timothy. Gaius supported an itinerant missionary. Giving was from people to people. Collective giving may be good for example, paying your teachers (1 Timothy 5:17-18) but is from persons to persons not an institution or organization deciding who will be supported. It is primarily a person to person thing not a collective spending issue into buildings, parking lots or salaries. That may or may not be good but it is always good to personally give to others in ministry and in need.
3. TITHING IS NOT GIVING 1 Cor 9:6-7
The word ‘tithe’ means ‘tenth part’. Tithing was a tax system in Israel. There was one tithe for the Levites (Lev 27:30-33), one tithe to be consumed in a banquet (Deut 12:5-18), and one tithe taken every third year, especially for the poor (Deut 14:28-29). The annual averages out to about 22.3%. In the New Testament only bad guys tithed (Matt 23:23, Luke 18:12). the only positive reference is to Abraham’s Old Testament tithe (Heb 7:1-10). Tithing may (1) tempt us to think that the 90% is yours. But none of it is. You are only a steward of it. You might say to God ‘don’t bother me about the other 90%’. (2) Tithing is not equitable. You may have $40000.00 to tithe from and someone else will have $100000.00 to tithe from. They will have a whole lot more left then you do. Tithing was a means of taxation in the nation under Gods law. So give 9% or 11 % but do not use 10. It will keep you out of a rut. And besides in the New Testament we are to give as we purpose in our hearts to give (2 Cor 9:7).
4. GIVING RESULTS IN GODS GIVING SO WE CAN GIVE MORE 2 Cor 8:10
Mal 3:10 and Luke 6:38 teach this same concept. In the Old Testament the tithe was brought to the temple and it was to be distributed by the priests of Israel. But remember today the individual believer is both the priest (1 Peter 2:5, 9) and the temple ( 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20). So today we do both the collecting and the distributing. Not so that we get more but so that we can give more. So that we can become channels of Gods giving now. It is all Gods and if I am keeping it than I am robbing God. Tithing robs God of the 90% if I believe it is mine! Today we view retirement as a way of congratulating ourselves so that we can go ahead and spend the money we have accumulated on ourselves. That is just another form of greed. We are to invest our money so that it returns a harvest of righteousness. Giving is one of the things we are rewarded for. So our giving will result in more of Gods giving to us so that we can give even more. Our giving then becomes a way we serve God in our lives for it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
5. GIVING EFFECTS MY WEALTH BUT NOT MY SUFFICIENCY 2 Cor 9:8-9
When I take on my responsibility to be a giver, it may mean I have less even though others who are giving may have more. God will make sure of your sufficiency. In other words, God takes care of givers! They always have enough even though their giving makes them poorer. Your obedience to be a giver may make you poorer but God makes it sufficient for you. In addition, your giving is invested in another persons ministry which you also will benefit from which increases your reward in heaven which gives you greater profit which motivates God to give you more so you can participate in even greater way in what He is doing and opportunity for you to benefit even more. You should not give because you cannot give. You do not have to have a lot to give (2 Cor 8:2). Never have the idea that when you have a lot of money then you will give. Give something from every dollar you make. God will see to it that you have a spirit of sufficiency. Giving is when you become poorer then you are that someone may become richer than you are through your poverty. This is what Jesus did for us when He saved us.
6. GIVING CAN BE DONE ONE OF TWO WAYS 2 Cor 9:6-7
(1) Sparingly, grudgingly, compulsively or (2) Bountifully, heartfelt purpose, cheerfully. When giving sparingly it does not touch, altar or effect your lifestyle. When giving bountifully it does effect the way you live. When giving grudgingly you do not have a personal interest. When giving heartfelt is when you have personally decided to give. You will give where your interest is (2 Cor 8:7-8). When you are personally aware of the need or ministry this is the best kind of giving. The closer you can get the better the giving. When giving compulsively is when you are tithing. When giving cheerfully is when you love to do it. Somehow we have to move toward this kind of spirit in our giving. What kind of spirit characterizes your giving?
7. OUR GIVING IS A WAY OF PARTICIPATING WITH GOD IN WHAT HE IS DOING
Giving in the Old Testament and the New Testament were ways people could participate with God in what He was doing. In the Old Testament it was His work through the nation as a witness to the world. Today it is through His people, the church, as a witness of the gospel to the world. The women who gave to Jesus and the apostles, Gaius who gave to the missionary and our giving according to these principles involves in what it is God is doing. I do not want to be doing what I am doing but what God is doing. My giving and your giving does just that. So give biblically. Make your giving count for eternity. Give profitibally, give personally, give purposefully, give proportionately, give passionately, give perspectivly, give participativiely.
(1) Give more of what you have.
(2) Give more often than you have.
(3) Give more to people than projects.
(4) Give more of what you get.
(5) Give more than you think you can.