If you would like to know more about the theology of giving, I’d like to invite you to listen to one of our mini-series of sermons about the Gospel & money: Priceless: The Value of God in a Devalued World or Abundance: The Overflow of God’s Blessings.
Giving as a Theological Principle
God is abundant and we have been created, redeemed and blessed abundantly by Him to be abundant like Him.
Christian giving is never a function of wealth but rather a function of a focus on God. Our giving is never a matter of absolute sums but is meant to be proportionate, according to our means. Indeed, like a young couple in love, when we fall in love with God, we tend to give to Him even beyond our means as a sign of our commitment to Him.
We are saved by God’s grace not our giving, but the way we respond to God financially is possibly the easiest way to find out how serious we are about our faith. Alarmingly, Paul even says that if our giving is not abundant like God’s then our faith might not even be genuine at all (2 Corinthians 8:8).
Although we could never give to God anything even approaching as abundantly as He has given to us, scripture does consistently stress the importance of finding an appropriate symbolic response.
In the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, this was consistently 10% of one’s income. In the New Testament Jesus affirmed this practice (Mt. 23:23) and Paul praised giving way beyond that (2 Cor. 8:7).
Giving 10% at the start of the month to church and other Christian work is a good place to begin. It might not be abundant but it is obedient.
What to do in practice:
- Commit to the theological principle of abundance
- Prayerfully examine your current levels of giving to church
- Consider reducing what you spend elsewhere if this is a barrier to obedience
- Commit to a biblically normative level of giving now or to work up to it as you mature in faith over several years
- Share your intention (a pre-estimate not a promise) with the Finance Manager
- Consider your legacy, including the work of the church in your will