Navigating financial generosity.
This may sound odd, but I’m always excited when I hear of someone who is struggling with what the Bible says about giving. Why? Because the majority of Christians either don’t think about financial generosity often, or if they do it is a quick and often legalistic decision.
Recently I have had a good friend ask me about giving. He is a mature Christian and even understands what the Bible says about tithing and the fact that the Israelites actually gave much more than ten percent. He is wrestling with how he and his family should make decisions and give to the church and other Kingdom-minded organizations.
The problem I see is that we often hear a preacher or writer give his or her thoughts on giving and we take it as fact without studying for ourselves. In reality, giving is a complex subject and can’t be summed up in a sentence or two.
Yes, tithing is a Biblical subject. It was in place for the Israelites and likely those Jewish people who then put their faith in Jesus continued the tradition. But we also know that new converts to Christianity in the New Testament weren’t subject to the same “rules” the Jewish people were as we see from the controversy over circumcision in Galatians.
However, Jesus never set a lower standard than what the Jewish people were asked to do. The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 shows that Christians were to go above and beyond simply following the law because the new covenant was more about living worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1).
Generous Church released a document a few years ago called, “Wrestling with the Tithe”. It was incredibly helpful to me in studying how my family should give. (Feel free to e-mail me for a copy to the document) In the introduction to the article, the writers say, “God defines His chosen people (Israel) with the name that means ‘those who wrestle with, or strive with God.’ That’s an important name! That’s a name that defines how we relate to and understand the Living God. We wrestle with Him; striving for more of the Truth; grasping for more of Him.”
So don’t take my word for it, or even your pastor’s word for it without wrestling with God yourself on the topic. The struggle will bring you closer to Him, and that alone will make your offering pleasing.