Our faith should impact every aspect of our lives, including our finances. Because this area is so inconvenient, requiring self-sacrifice, we often choose to hold it tightly and do as we please with our money without prayerfully considering how to use it. However, it is essential to remember that everything we have is God’s, and we must not take lightly the charge to steward His wealth well. A huge part of our stewardship involves faithful giving, no matter our income. Although this can be hard, there are so many blessings to giving, including obeying, trusting and focusing on God.
Giving obediently fulfills a calling of God. To begin on a direct note, giving is not a suggestion from God. It is a calling that is clearly demonstrated all throughout the Bible. Just as we are to love our neighbors, we are to give to God and others a portion of what He has given us to steward. While this may seem like a minor spiritual discipline that you could let slide at tight times, the Bible makes it clear that giving is a very important calling.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings” (Mal. 3:8). God has asked that we give a portion of our wealth back to Him. In the Old Testament, this portion was a minimum tithe of 10%. Whether or not you believe the tithe still applies, every example of giving in the New Testament far exceeds the tithe; it never falls short. Jesus raised the spiritual bar (Matt. 5:27-28). Tithing is the floor of giving, the training wheels. In light of this truth, I encourage you to start with tithing 10% and expand your grace giving from there. Surrender willingly to God His wealth as an act of obedience and love. God called the poorest Israelites to give regularly; He surely does not expect us, a comparatively wealthy generation, to give less.
Giving humbly develops our trust in God. When you hold back your money because you don’t think you have enough to live and also give, you underestimate God and bereave yourself of a chance to see His care and provision. God calls us to give not only as an act of obedience but also of faith.
When speaking to his disciples, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44). God loves when we give with faith and trust Him to provide for us.
His desire for our trust is clearly expressed in Matt. 6:28-30 when Jesus asks why we worry about our clothing when God dresses even the wildflowers in finery. “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field… will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” If you wait until you think you have “enough” money to tithe and give, you will miss out on the amazing experience of His provision.
Giving generously helps us maintain an eternal mindset. One of my favorite illustrations regarding the value of heavenly and earthly treasures is explained in The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, a book I highly recommend. Alcorn notes that if you were a confederate who knew the North was about to win the Civil War, you would cash in your confederate money because it would soon do you no good. The confederate money is not bad, but it will be worthless shortly. Similarly, earth’s money and possessions are not inherently evil as long as you understand their limits and temporary standing. Earth’s currency is useless at the coming of God’s kingdom.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Therefore, consider carefully Matthew’s counsel: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (6:21). Don’t store earthly treasures not because they are bad but because they don’t last. Giving helps keep our eyes on the end goal and reminds us that we are making short term sacrifices for long term rewards (Matt. 13:44-46).
Five minutes after you die, you will be able to look back and know exactly how you should have lived, including how you could have given more generously to better obey, trust and focus on God. Don’t miss out on this small window of opportunity that you have to willingly honor God with your finances.