Principles from the Bible
Below are some principles from the Bible to think about as you consider what God might be wanting you to give.
God already owns everything
‘The Earth is the Lords and everything in it’ (Psalm 24:1). As human beings created ‘in the image of God’ our role is to be stewards of the world God has given us. It is therefore very much true that ‘everything comes from God and of his own we give back to him.’
God has given everything for us
Not only has God given us charge over his wonderful creation but because of his great love for us, the Father gave up his Son for us on the cross. No greater sacrifice has ever been made. As Christians, we therefore give ourselves, our time, our energy and money in humble gratitude for the price that God was willing to pay for our salvation (Psalm 116:12; John 3:16).
Our heavenly Father looks after his children
Jesus taught us that our heavenly Father will provide for all our needs. Therefore we should not worry about having enough money for our basic necessities. Jesus commended the two women in the Gospels who gave all they had – the widow who gave her ‘mite’ (Mark 12: 41-44) and Mary, who poured all her outrageously expensive perfume over his feet (John 12:1-8). He had every confidence that they would not be left without the Father’s provision and therefore did not seek to dissuade them from giving their ‘all’, in favour of greater ‘prudence’.
We give what we can, not what we can’t
We are not expected to give what we haven’t got. The feeding of the 5,000 and the miracles of Elijah and Elisha are examples of people giving all they can and God multiplying the offering when there is faith in him (1 Kings 17:7-16, 2 Kings 4:1-7).
It’s the thought that counts
“Each person should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Both Cain and Abel made offerings to God. However while Abel’s offering was thoughtful, genuinely sacrificial and accompanied by faith, Cain’s was reluctant and without sincerity. God would rather we did not give anything if it is through gritted teeth. He’s much rather we waited until we were able to give with joy and peace in our heart so that we could then receive the wonderful spiritual blessings that flow to us when we give (Proverbs 11:24-25; Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35).
We are called to have no other gods
Jesus identified a spiritual force behind the worship of money – the god of Mammon. One very effective way in which we can dethrone the idol of money is through generous giving. Worship God rather than Mammon and we will find this liberating and life giving. But we have to make a choice. Jesus said that we cannot serve both God and Money (Luke 16:13).
Giving is a wise investment for Christians
Jesus’ parables of the rich fool, the shrewd manager and the rich man and Lazarus all warn against the folly of trying to build our security upon riches rather than the life to come (Luke 12: 13-21; 16:1-15; 16:19-31). Giving back to God is one of the ways that we store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20-21).
We’re encouraged to give both spontaneously and in a planned and regular way
In the Old Testament, the people of God were expected to give a tenth of their income regularly to God. Although we are no longer bound by these Old Testament regulation, many Christians still find this a helpful model for their giving. Regular, planned and proportional giving, however, is something definitely promoted by the New Testament (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). One of the reasons that regular standing orders are so helpful is that they can help the church in their financial planning. Planned, giving also helps us make sure that we give the ‘first-fruits’ to God rather than ‘leftovers’ and it also enables the tax to be reclaimed on this giving.
In the Old Testament, the people of God were also encouraged to make ‘freewill’ offerings on top of their regular tithes and this is again something that we are also called to do as Christians (2 Corinthians 9:8). The Free Will Offering Scheme that we use at Christ Church means that we can also reclaim the tax from these one off donations too. Not long ago, £300,000 was raised to reorder the interior of Christ Church with all this money raised quite separately from our members' regular giving.
If you would like to find out more about giving at Christ Church and how you can be part of it, please speak to Katy Loffman or Anna Larkin.