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God's Money and You Part 7: Give It Away

By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted September 26, 2012

RELIGION – Last week we looked at the very dangerous and often undiagnosed disorder of Affleunza. I told you I was going to offer you a painful, but radically effective treatment option: giving. You read it right. Giving away money and resources has the ability to kill the selfish desire in your life! But sadly most people don’t ever really try this option. Unfortunately, most people do not honor God with their finances and suffer miserably because of it. So how can you honor God with your money?

First: Honor God by giving before you save or spend on yourself. What would you feed Jesus if He was coming over for dinner at your home? Mac and Cheese, hamburger, the best steak you could buy, what would you choose? You would not serve Him leftovers, you would not give him week old meatloaf and lima beans would you? Then even if you served the leftover meatloaf and lima’s then hopefully you would let Jesus eat his fill before you stuffed your face right?

Well sadly according to the leading research on Christian giving, 20 percent of all U.S. Christians give nothing to church, para-church, or nonreligious charities, and the vast majority give “very little.” (Christian Smith, Michael O. Emerson, and Patricia Snell, Passing the Plate) Most people spend what they want, then give out of what little they have left. But because many people live above their means they have nothing left to give. God asks for our best Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” Understand that giving is not just supporting ministry and church work, it is disconnecting you from an inherit love for money and wealth.

Second: Honor God by giving cheerfully. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about a church in Macedonia that loves to give. When a need in Jerusalem arose, the Macedonians began “begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.” (2Co 8:4)  Paul elaborated their joy by writing “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7) Money is a useful tool that God gives us to help others and spread the gospel. I am thankful to be a pastor of pretty giving and generous church.  On Monday’s at Parker and Tuesday’s at Wardlaw, I get to see money being well used. We sponsor GOOD NEWS CLUB’s (and so should your church, we still have two schools in our county that don’t have clubs, let me know if you want more details!) Anyways, due to the contributions of others we are able to see children be excited to sing about Jesus, memorize verses about Jesus and learn more about Jesus. Giving to that is a joy, the question is not how little should I give, but how much can I afford to give!

Third: Honor God by giving sacrificially. Paul also applauds the Macedonian congregation for giving beyond their means to help a church that was suffering to an even greater degree. Despite hardship, the Macedonians’ “abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity.”  (2 Cor 8:2) Paul draws a connection between this sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, who willingly sacrificed his life in order to serve and save sinners.

When it came time for me to get engaged I wanted to buy my then girlfriend (now wife) the best diamond I could. So I sold my rock climbing gear, mountain bikes, and even sold my plasma (it was just me and bunch of crack-heads in downtown Greenville). Why did I do all this? Because I wanted my love for her to be shown in the level of sacrifice I gave on her behalf (and she was real pretty and I needed all the help I could to get a yes!)

C.S. Lewis sums it up well: “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our [giving habits] do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our [giving] expenditure excludes them.”

Fourth: Honor God by giving regularly. The Bible does not mandate a specific frequency, day, or time for giving to the church. We have freedom to establish a regular plan that matches the rhythm of our life. For most people, this tends to be a monthly or twice-monthly contribution that aligns with pay schedule and budgeting practices.  However, the reason why I focus on giving regularly is because unless you plan to give and make giving a priority you won’t do it. You will be well intentioned, but you will continue down the path of giving God scraps. He is better than that! Regular giving requires us to live a disciplined life and also serves as a constant reminder that what we have does not truly belong to us. Irregular giving indicates poor stewardship: a reluctance to give, lack of planning, or laziness.

So for now, start making a plan to give! Give to your church; give to people who need help, just start holding your money loosely and you will notice your Affleunza will start to leave your system! Next we will look at how much God’s Word asks for us to give. Here is a helpful chart by Jamie Munson to help sum things up.  

Thankful I Was Taught Good Stewardship from Parents and That I Got a Yes from a good looking frugal gal!

Pastor Phillip

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