ST. CHARLES, MO – Late last year I was having a discussion with a relative who was concerned about how much she owed to the church to meet her tithe. She was literally distraught over the situation not wanting to allow the end of the year to pass without meeting her obligation. While many pastors would be pleased to have such a congregant with this attitude, I submit it’s not the posture that would most honor the Lord. So, when is giving enough?
Jesus talked a lot in the Bible about money. He talked about our relationship to and stewardship of money. The truth is, everything we have, our money, our property, our time, talents and everything else, belongs to God. We have been entrusted with it for a purpose, some would conclude a divine purpose. We are to steward it, manage it for the One that owns it. Jesus used a parable to illustrate this truth and his pleasure with the one that got the most out of it.
The Apostle Paul said, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV.
I’ll leave the discussion of the tithe to others but it’s clear that God set the standard in giving. He so loved that he gave. We’ve all heard it said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. We’ve also heard our checkbook tells the story of what we love. But the bottom line is that generosity is a Godly characteristic and giving our money is one example of generosity and should be part of every believer’s life.
Consider these questions in relationship to your giving:
What should I do with it all? You see, as a steward we are responsible and accountable for everything God has entrusted to us, not just financially. How we treat the possessions he has entrusted us, and what we do with it all, is a question of stewardship. Similar to the question of how much to give we should be in constant contact with the Father, following His lead in sharing all we’ve been entrusted to whomever, whenever and however.
How much should I give? Actually, I think the answer to this question starts with the wrong perspective. It assumes the ownership of that which we’re giving. The question really should be, how much should I keep. How much of the owner’s (God) money would he want us to keep as our management fee? Since It is not ours to keep we should feel good about giving some away. It’s God’s money and he should be making the decision about how much is given and how much is kept.
If we start every conversation about our time, talent and resources with the concept that it belongs to God, it will change how we approach the conversation and it will change the outcome. The result will be investing the things he has given you and I for his glory differently. We will question a purchase before we make it and think about it differently. Our lives will be lived differently. We will be more motivated to use what he’s given us for his glory than for our comfort. Try it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bruce Scott is the Senior Vice President for Westfall Gold, the nation’s leading innovator and implementer of major donor events. Westfall Gold has raised nearly a billion dollars for their clients. In addition to serving as VP Bruce has previously served as Executive Director of Revenue for a major para-church ministry and as local pastor. He’s married and has one daughter who is also involved in major donor philanthropy with a Christian University.