Should You Give?
So you've read www.TithingDebate.com and realized that according to the Bible that tithing is not for Christians today. If you have been under the burden of this false teaching, often delivered from the pulpit with such vigor, then you will now be feeling very free. You know your money is yours to do with as you please.
So, should you give to Christian works at all? Does the exposing of "Christian Tithing" teaching as false mean that all giving is wrong? As Christians we know that it is important to do as God's Word instructs,
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." - 2 Corinthians 9:7
The answer is plain. You should give if you have decided in your heart to give. You should not give if you are reluctant or under compulsion. It is money the Lord has given you charge over, you get to decide what happens with it,
"Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? DIDN'T IT BELONG TO YOU BEFORE IT WAS SOLD? AND AFTER IT WAS SOLD, WASN'T THE MONEY AT YOUR DISPOSAL? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.'" - Acts 5:1-4
Ananias died because he lied to the Holy Spirit saying that he had given all the money from the land sale, not because he kept some for himself. As Peter points out the land and money was his to do with as he pleased, he could have kept all, some, or none of the money and done nothing wrong. But he should not have tried to deceive the Holy Spirit.
New Testament giving is God guided giving. Pray and ask the Lord what, when, and where to give, and be open to the possibility that He does not want you to give anything at all. Remember giving nothing is a valid decision if you are obeying the Lord. After praying decide in your heart what you will do and then follow through. Simple.
Here are a few comments about the what, when, and where:
What to give? Does it have to be money? Certainly money is the focus of many Pastors these days, but there is no Biblical evidence that gifts have to be money. Your time, other possessions, gifts you buy, gifts you make, the use of something you own, all these things and more are valid gifts. But remember that for most money is a conversion of their labor, in a way giving your money is a transference of labor, you can work for the Lord while at your day job! Brilliant! In the end follow the Lord's direction on what to give.
When to give? When ever you feel it is right to do so. Each week? Each month or year? Sure any of those are fine, or maybe just whenever the Holy Spirit prompts you. It's up to you to decide. But please do remember your responsibilities to your family first, don't let your children starve. Some loony Pastors actually push people to give to their church before worrying about their family, but the Bible says, "Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." - 1 Timothy 7-8
Where to give? Can I suggest you engage your brain on this one. Think about where to give based on the highest resulting benefit for God's Kingdom - meritorious giving. If it's a toss up between your church's fancy new building project and helping a Christian sister in need, then maybe our sister is more important than the building? Also don't be brainwashed into thinking that your gifts must go to your "local church" (the Bible does not teach this), after all a church is just one type of Christian ministry. Perhaps your gift should go to that other special ministry the Lord has put upon your heart: the Christian radio station, the Bible distribution program to the persecuted church, the aid agencies, the evangelism program to youth, etc. There are many works of God out there including your own church. My personal criteria for giving is based on how focused the ministry is on good teaching, helping the poor, and preaching the gospel. But ultimately follow the Holy Spirit's lead, He knows where your gift is best sent.
It is good to give! Read the text around 2 Corinthians 9:7 and you will see that the Lord rewards those who give from their own heart*.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
'He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.'
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" - 2 Corinthians 9:8-15**
New Testament giving is an excellent part of your Christian walk. So stop being compelled by mere men. Instead start praying and follow the Holy Spirit's lead.
*Caveat: Since 2 Corinthians 9:7 says "not reluctantly or under compulsion" there is a chance that pressure giving as practiced in Super Apostle churches actually negates any reward from the gift. Don't take the risk, give inside Biblical guidelines, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
**Caveat: Beware that the text "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." does not support the scripture twisting doctrine called "Have a need, plant a seed". With this false teaching it is said that if you "have a need" (say you need $10,000 for a new car) then you should "plant a seed" (send $1,000 to their ministry). This is a scam to get you to send them money. These scriptures do not mention giving if you have a need. It doesn't matter that the words "need" and "seed" rhyme. There is no implication of a magical spiritual gambling formula for Christians, God will reward you when and with what He sees fit, and the purpose of that is so you can give it away! "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."
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