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Christian Finances 3 completes the Biblical money management principles with Christian Attitude About Money, Giving and Receiving.

Christian Finances-3

Christian Giving...and Receiving:

Much has been taught on this issue of giving.  In fact, it strikes me as self-serving (in the least), when ministers ignore the volumes of Scripture on money management and focus almost entirely on giving...and...of course...almost exclusively...on giving to them and their ministry.  You'll see from what's to come that giving to a particular ministry is only a small part of God's counsel on giving.  The reason God wants us to be givers is so we can receive His blessings, be they financial blessings or other kinds.  In giving, as in praying, God gives us the opportunity to participate in His generosity.  If we see giving as a law we must obey to keep Him happy, we miss the point...and the blessing.  We should give what we decide, happily, not because someone is pressuring us or out of duty (II Co 9:7).

a.  What should we give?  Many teach that giving 10% of your income is a required minimum for Christians, required for ministers or a sign of Spiritual maturity.  This is not true!   Don't blame them...they're just teaching what they've been taught.  As a Christian, you are not under the Jewish law (Ro 6:14, He 7).   In fact, the only three mentions in the New Testament about giving 10% were in reference to what followers of Judaism do...not what we Christians do (Mt 23:23, Lk 11:42, He 7:8).  So, what is our guideline?
    1)  As much as we can afford (II Co 8:12, Mk 12:41-44, I Ti 6:17-18).
    2)  As much as is needed (Acts 4:34-35).
    3)  While not required, giving 10% or more promises special blessings (Mal 3:10).

b.  How should we give?
    1)  Willingly (II Co 9:5).
    2)  Cheerfully (II Co 9:7).
    3)  Generously (Pr 11:25). Notice God promises to replenish what you give, here.
    4)  Privately (Mt 6:1-4).
    5)  First...before anything else in your budget (Pr 3:9).

c.  Where should we give?  As we learned in "investing" above, God wants what He gives us to be used in a profitable or 'fruitful' manner (Mt 25:14-30).  We are responsible to give in ways that support His purposes and honor Him.  So, we shouldn't just hand money over to a church or charity and assume it's being used to honor God.  It's better not to give where we see waste, secrecy about spending, or purposes that don't honor God.  Here are some Biblical examples of where giving honors God:
    1)  Visitors, widows & orphans (Dt 26:12)  
    2)  Needy (Mt 6:3, Acts 2:45)    Be careful, here, Christians are often taken advantage of because of our reputation for generosity.  If you don't know the person, it's better to give them food or clothes rather than money. Gifts of money can harm people addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling or spending.  If you do know them, make sure money is the solution.  Sometimes help finding work or setting a budget is what they need (Pr 16:26).
    3)  Servants of God/Ministers (Mt 10:10, I Ti 5:18, I Co 9:7-12).
    4)  Evangelistic and Missions ministries (Php 4:14-19).
    5)  Just to bless someone (Ec 11:1, Pr 11:25).  Some Ideas:  Tip between 15% and 50%.  Pay the toll of the car behind you.  Never pass a children's bake sale or lemon-aid stand...and give them 4 times what they ask.  If a child wants to sell you something you don't want...ask them what they like and buy one for them.  If someone is doing work for you, give them a meal or a muffin or something more than they earned.  If someone accidentally undercharges you or gives you too much change, give them what they're owed.  When you encounter a particularly nice person, write their boss and make sure they know about it.  I promise you, these things will bless you far more than they cost you.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Jesus (Lk 6:38)

As covered earlier, many teach that giving is a "law" we must obey or a "responsibility" we have to God to further His kingdom. We can ignore those teachings because the Bible doesn't teach that kind of giving for Christians. Instead, God wants to bless us beyond what we can possibly give. The Lord makes promises throughout His Word about the blessings (financial and otherwise) He lavishes on us if we would just be generous with what He's already given us. Here are a few more examples (II Co 9:6, Pr 3:9-10, II Co 9:11).  God's Word couldn't be clearer. He will bless us immeasurably if we just have the faith to honor Him with our money! 

A balanced attitude about money recognizes it's just a tool.  In the right hands, money can do a lot of feeding the starving hundreds of thousands after the recent Tsunami devastated many communities in Asia.  In the wrong hands, as with Saddam Hussein, money can be used to imprison and enslave a whole country and bribe people who could do something about it.  Both are examples of money being used.  If we Christians have the right attitude about money, we recognize that any wealth we might have comes from God, and we should honor Him with it (Pr 3:9, Dt 8:18, Mt 6:21, I Co 11:12).  With a healthy attitude, we understand that our use of the money God gives us reflects His importance in our lives and must bring Him glory and honor.   This brings us, finally, to the part you've been waiting for...Giving. 

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