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HomeSpiritual GrowthBusting New Testament Giving Myths

Busting New Testament Giving Myths

Giving should be from the heart not from obligation.

Do you struggle giving money as a Christian? Do you give out of obligation or guilt, based on Old Testament laws? Do you give based on believing you have to give “something” to appease God or to get His riches (prosperity gospel)? Do you pledge to give money you don’t have and expect God to cover it (faith-promise)? Do you give “cheerfully”, with joy in your worship experience with God?

Many today take the principles of New Testament giving out of context with manmade messages to generate guilt or to bilk believers. This article uses Scripture in context to help understand God’s desire for our worship as we practice the grace of giving.

Tithing is not taught in the New Testament. This does not give a believer license to not give while spending everything on his or her wants and desires. The Apostle Paul repeatedly taught that the New Testament era places believers under grace, not law, meaning the obligation of the law was fulfilled and we should now give out of gratitude. So, believers are not bound by the law to give 10%, nor 23%, as was later mandated. In the New Testament, grace is not about giving a percentage of first fruits back to God; it is about recognizing that God already owns everything He has given us and, out of gratitude, we give back to Him for His ministry and work. When that happens, giving becomes a form of worship and allows us to give freely, cheerfully, and without guilt or obligation.

It is important to note two premises: the believer is to be a responsible steward/manager of what God has given; and, when following God’s pattern of stewardship, God will abundantly pour out His blessings.

The New Testament principles of giving are:

1) God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

2) God wants believers to give based on how He has prospered/blessed them (1 Corinthians 16:2).

3) God wants believers to give based on what each believer has purposed/planned/committed in his/her heart (2 Corinthians 9:7).

4) God wants believers to excel in the grace* of giving (1 Corinthians 8:1–7).

5) God expects us to be good stewards/managers of what He has given us (1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:4. 9–10) because it all comes from Him (2 Peter 1:3)

6) Jesus taught that if someone cannot be trusted or found faithful with money, who will commit to that person any trust with or in true riches (Luke 16:10–12)?

7) Sow sparingly, reap sparingly; sow bountifully, reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6).

8) Everything a believer has is owned and provided by God (2 Peter 1:3).

9) Giving is a means to:

  • a. Demonstrate our love for God as He demonstrated His love for all (John 3:16)
  • b. Support the work of evangelization (Philippians 4:17)
  • c. Support the work of the local ministry and saints in need (1 Corinthians 16:2. Romans 12:13)
  • d. Support the preachers/shepherds of the flock (1 Corinthians 9:13–14. 1 Timothy 5:17–18)

God loves a cheerful giver. God does not want His children to give grudgingly, stressed, out of guilt, or out of necessity or obligation, but out of gratitude. When God said it is better to obey than to sacrifice, He reminds us that we are to follow good stewardship practices with everything He has given us in recognition that it all belongs to Him. He doesn’t “need” our “sacrifice.” We should be willing to give through gratitude and worship.

This is also not a means of competition. Ananias and Saphira could have given whatever they wanted through the sale of their property, but instead chose to lie to themselves, to God, and to the other believers. Had they given a purposed, set amount, cheerfully and out of worship for God’s ministry, the outcome would have been much different. God did not accept their lies as their “sacrifice;” He wanted them to give out of gratitude and truth.

How does a person give “cheerfully”? First, recognize that what He gives us is simply “borrowed” from His account and He expects us to be responsible with what He gives us.

Can a person give cheerfully? Yes, and with purpose. We are not talking about sacrificial giving, or the spiritual gift of giving, but basic giving through responsible stewardship that every believer should be practicing.

God has promised to supply all our needs, but we cannot waste what He gives on our wants, and then expect God to bail us out in covering our needs. Establish a budget if you do not have one, so you can measure, plan, and give with purpose and joy. There must be a budget, or you cannot know what is coming in and going out — which we control as stewards.

If you have no money to give because of how you manage it, something needs to change. Again, God gives us money to manage so we can give back cheerfully what He has given to us. The money is not ours — it all belongs to God. If we manage that money responsibly, we demonstrate to God that He can trust us and bless us with more.

Maybe you are already in a deep hole. Get into a ‘Dave Ramsey’ or similar program to begin getting out of drowning debt. Cancel cable. Buy a less expensive cell phone and monthly plan. Don’t buy the $60,000 truck with payments you cannot afford when you can purchase a certified-pre-owned vehicle for $20,000. Got a tax refund? Don’t spend it on a tattoo. Do you eat out eight times a week? Take that down to three times each week. Do you purchase $5 specialty coffee every day? Cut back to twice a week. Portion out a measured amount to give to God cheerfully, and be a responsible steward with the rest.

You do not have to eliminate social life or fun things to do. Choose what those things should be and remember you are not “entitled” to everything — manage what God gives to you. Once you realize where the money is going, you can establish a planned, purposeful, routine amount within your budget to give without guilt, obligation, or pressure, because you know you have it available for that purpose.

God asks believers to give based on how He has prospered them. He wants all believers to excel in the grace of giving so we all participate in caring for the work of the ministry and of the saints. Without a planned budget, you have no idea how much God has blessed or is blessing you. Without managing what you have, you have no means of knowing when you may begin cheerfully giving more. When you recognize God’s blessing and prosperity on your life, it will drive you to give more cheerfully because God is trusting you with more so you can give more.

God wants believers to manage giving. This does not negate spontaneous giving or following the lead of the Holy Spirit for special offerings to meet special needs. But, you also can’t respond to those needs if you don’t already have the cash to do so. God expects believers to have a planned routine of giving to meet the needs of ministry.

I have heard it said that if you need to start giving, start with 10%. I don’t believe that 10% is unreasonable; I also don’t believe it is unreasonable to give more, as God has prospered. We get ‘stuck’ on tithing, believing we have met our obligation to give while believing the other 90% is ours to do as we wish. That is not proper stewardship.

Every believer is to give. God wants us to worship Him in praise and in gratitude. We worship with our money when we give cheerfully, based on how God has prospered us and on how much we purpose in our hearts to routinely give as worship.

Jesus said if we cannot be trusted with money, how can we possibly be trusted with true riches (Luke 16:11; I Corinthians 4:2).

God wants us involved in evangelization; He wants us to support saints within our congregation who are in need. And God wants us to care for our shepherds, those who lead the flock (1 Timothy 5:17).

You cannot excel in the grace of giving if you are not giving. Do not give from guilt, obligation, or out of stress. You cannot give out of the heresy teachings that “God owes you” because you gave; it’s already His to start with. What you choose to purposefully give is between you and God, based on how He has prospered you and how you manage what He has given you. Give cheerfully — knowing you can give because of proper stewardship, and demonstrate your love for God while doing it.

 


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AuthorRandy DeVaul| BCWorldview.org 

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