The Foundation of Giving

by APC on November 20, 2014

The Foundation of Giving is the fourth and last segment in the Foundations for Growing series. This study has taken us to the Word of God to help us apply foundational concepts to our Christian walk so we all can be “…founded upon a rock” (Luke 6:48).

Statistics show:

  • 53% of Christians have not given to their church in the last month
  • On average 3% of Christians tithe (97% of Christians do not tithe)
  • 70% of people live paycheck-to-paycheck

Pastors find in counseling their Saints that people want to give or give more, but cannot financially.

Is Money Important?

Money is very important to God, but He doesn’t need money! He knows we think we need money; therefore, God uses money as a tool to teach us dependence on Him. In the Bible, there are over 800 scriptures that deal with money and possessions. Through God’s Word, we can understand the true purpose of what giving is all about.

Why Should We Give?

Christians should pay tithes and offerings because it is a Biblical commandment—God tells us to do so in His Word. These scriptures are just as God-breathed and inspired as the rest of the Word of God. We need to obey the Word in whole, not just in part.

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:8–11, KJV).

In Malachi 3, God commands His people to pay tithes and offerings. If we abide by His word, He will “open the windows of heaven, and pour [us] out a blessing” (Malachi 3:10, KJV). This is our only investment strategy that has all of heaven behind the return!

What Should I Give?

God commands that we give a tithe. A tithe means tenth. From our paychecks, the tithe (10%) belongs to God, and we live on the rest (90%) of our paycheck. In Malachi 3, God says He will bless us with more than we could ever do with the 10% if we give it to Him!

In addition to the tithe, God also commands in these scriptures to give offerings. Offerings are additional gifts that we give to God at our own discretion, without a specific value tied to it. Offerings are given at our own will. When we give to God, He will bless us with more than what we give. We should ask ourselves, How much blessing do I want from God? Luke 6:38 says:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (KJV).

We cannot out-give God! The more we give, the more God will bless us. God’s blessings will not always equate to monetary blessings, but He pours out His blessings in a currency the world cannot afford. We need more of God’s blessings than just dollars and cents—we need health, favor, and His presence!

Why Does God Ask for 10%?

Remember, tithing—and any form of giving—is not for God’s benefit. Tithing is for our benefit.

Tithing Teaches Us How to Keep God First in Our Lives and Be Unselfish People

Unselfish people make better parents, better Christians, better workers, etc. If we are unselfish, every area of our lives will drastically improve. We are better people when we give to others and when we give to God.

Tithing Teaches Us God’s Plan for Operating His Kingdom Here on Earth

If we don’t give, we won’t be able to support the financial needs of running a church facility (e.g., utilities, property taxes, maintenance, etc.). Every church has a financial need to keep the lights on and to keep activities ongoing!

Giving also goes beyond our own church walls! Churches give what comes in from the Saints to efforts and ministries outside the church—foreign missions, North American missions, men’s and ladies’ ministries, children’s ministries, etc. Giving impacts not only our local church, but the community, state, nation, and world!

Tithing Teaches Us How to Prosper Over Time

It is God’s will that His children are prosperous—He gives us unique gifts and talents so we can be successful. If we manage our gifts and talents well, He will give us more to oversee. However, God wants to ensure that we have a heart for His kingdom and not follow our own agenda. Proverbs 13:11 tells us that get-rich-quick schemes won’t work and are not God’s will for His children. We need to work hard for our money and He will bless us over time.

What are the Benefits to Giving?

Many Saints have observed that if they stop tithing and giving offerings, their financial situation gets worse. How is this possible? In Malachi 3:11, God said he would “rebuke the devourer for [our] sakes” if we obey Him in His command to tithe. There are circumstances and people in life that will try to come and take away our monetary blessings.

But, if we are faithful to God in our tithing, He will protect our finances! When we don’t give, not only do we run the risk of opening a floodgate of financial woes, but we remove God’s ability and desire to protect our finances. This is a greater blessing in itself—why keep 10% when we can have a greater blessing from God?

Financial Principles

If we cannot live off 90% of our income, then we cannot live off 100% of our income. An extra 10% isn’t going to cover our expenses if 90% won’t cover our expenses! We need to make sure that we are living within our means financially and evoke Godly principles when managing our finances. We need to have the pillars of finance in our life: tithes, home, clothes, food, utilities, transportation, etc. If we have expenses beyond these essentials in life, we don’t need them! When we follow the guidelines outlined in God’s Word for our finances, we can give the way God wants us to give and we can also give the way we want to give. To become better stewards of our money, we need to get faithful with God.

Steps to Giving

Settle the Issue of Giving in Our Heart

Our heart is where our treasure is (Luke 12:34), and our heart problems give us money problems. Misplaced priorities, envy, laziness, covetousness etc. are all not money problems, but heart problems. If we get our heart in the right place, we will start to hear God’s voice, which will influence our financial decisions.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19–20

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven…” (KJV). Earthy treasures will pass away, but we need to focus on an eternal treasure—making it to heaven and being forever with the Lord!

Get a Clear Understanding of Ownership

We don’t own anything—it all belongs to God. Psalms 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof…” (KJV). Our paycheck is not ours. The 90% is not ours. The 10% is not ours. All 100% of our paycheck and everything that we own belongs to God. God requires that we return a tithe (10%) to Him, and then He allows us to keep the rest of His money and manage it for our own wellbeing. When we manage our finances, we need to remember that we’re spending God’s money. We should ask ourselves, “How would Jesus spend this?” Too many times we don’t allow Jesus to be the Lord over our finances. God shows us in His word how to manage His money and how to be a good steward.

Be the Manager that God Has Called Us to Be

We are called to be good stewards of God’s resources. A steward is one that handles another’s affairs. We in turn are managers of the affairs (money) that God has placed into our hands. God will hold us accountable for what He has given us.

The parable in Matthew 25 explains how God puts different talents in people’s hands to take care of according to their abilities. If we manage the talents well, God will give us more to manage. In the parable, God calls one of the servants “wicked” for not managing his talent well. Stewardship is very important to God, and He expects us to manage our finances appropriately.

Financial Discipline

We need to be disciplined with our finances. When we don’t handle our money the right way, there can be utter chaos in our life. If we abide by the following disciplines from God’s Word, we will always be able to give like we want:

Remember Everyone Needs a Cushion

When we map out a financial budget, there are always unforeseen life circumstances that try to “break” our budget and make us spend more than what we planned. Disciplined financial planning accounts for these moments. Proverbs 21:20 notes that a foolish man spends everything and lives paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s scriptural to save and put money away! Proverbs 6:6–8 notes that an ant prepares for the winter by gathering and stockpiling food for a later time. Save for a rainy day!

Every Dollar Needs a Name

We all need to have a plan or a budget for our money. While we may not know the exact amount coming in each paycheck, weekly or monthly, we can estimate the amount and prepare a budget. Luke 14:28 says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (KJV). We need to have a budget to make sure we have adequate finances to cover our expenditures.

Every Debt Needs to Be Attacked Like an Enemy

We should attack out debts like an enemy—one at a time. We should start with the smallest debt and pay it off with every spare dollar we have. If we start with the smallest debt, when we pay it off we will have a small victory that will encourage us to attack the next debt. We take the money we used to pay off the smallest debt and start adding it to the next smallest debt to pay it off (this strategy is called a rolling debt snowball).

A New Mindset

When the children of Israel came out of Egypt and sent spies to scope out the promised land, 12 spies said the children couldn’t inhabit the land because of giants, but 2 said Israel could conquer them. Israel had come from 400 years of slavery and couldn’t get out of the mindset of bondage. The same is true for our finances—if we are in debt, we can’t think of ourselves ever being out of debt. If we don’t tithe and give offerings, we also can’t think of ourselves ever being able to tithe and give.

We can get out of debt and we can be the givers that God expects us to be. Just start today and take one day at a time. If we use God’s Word as a foundation for financial planning and giving, we will prosper. God tells us in His word (Malachi 3) that He will bless us, and God cannot lie. Go ahead a prove Him…test it out and see what happens.