Living as If We Trust HimDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So often—more often than I care to admit—I struggle with giving to my church. In so many ways, it makes no sense. I know what the money goes toward the folks on the church staff are dear friends and colleagues, people that I love and respect and know deeply. I’ve seen our budget, and I know where the dollars go. Yet it’s still hard for me to willingly give my money away. There’s an ugly truth to the matter: I cling to my money with a vice-like grip. I’m not an overly controlling person. Most of my life, I try to hold with an open hand and an understanding of God’s greatness and sovereignty. But when it comes to my money, stay away. Nobody has dominion over my banking account but me, thank-you-very-much. At the heart of my discomfort with giving away my money is a fundamental question: Do I trust God with my finances? Given my actions and my posture, the true answer is no, even though I desperately want to say yes.
When it comes to tithing, I think we all have some basic questions, some concerns we want answered before we open up the checkbook or set up the automatic payment plan. These are good questions, worthy of consideration and discussion. We’ll be tackling some of these questions throughout the week. But beneath these questions is still another question, and I think it more concretely addresses the true heart of the matter:
When it comes to money, tithing, and sacrifice, what is God’s desire?
Looking through the totality of the Scriptures, it’s clear the Lord desires to be in full relationship with his people. He is working in and through the world, regardless of our desire to participate in that work alongside him. God invites us into the work, and a majority percentage of this kingdom work is being done through the local church.
Knowing this and understanding the heart and character of God, we are given a grid through which to view tithing, giving, and offering to the church. We should be giving our time, talents, and treasure to the building and forward movement of the kingdom being fully realized, and part of that treasure includes our finances. Scripture gives a guideline of 10 percent, but I believe God is less concerned with the amount than he is concerned with our willingness to give at all. I can’t help but think of the widow’s offering in Luke 21:1-4. The rich gave their offerings, likely the 10 percent expected of them. Given that these people were wealthy, it was probably a substantial amount of money. Then, a poor widow living in desperate poverty put in only two small coins—everything she had to give. Jesus told his disciples that she actually gave more than all the others.
It’s not about the amount of money; it’s about the heart behind the giving. God wants us to partner with him in his kingdom work, and he wants us to be transformed to be more like Jesus, the ultimate example of sacrificial giving.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: It’s one thing to say we trust the Lord with our finances; it’s another thing entirely to live like we trust Him. Do you have a hard time trusting God with your money? Where in your life do you sense that God is calling you to live more sacrificially? What is keeping you from giving your time, talent, and treasure to the church?
PRAYER: Lord, we ask that you teach us what it means to live sacrificially. May we learn to trust you with every aspect of our lives, including our bank accounts. May nothing in our lives become a hindrance to developing a deeper relationship with you. May we desire to partner with you in the building and growing of your kingdom on earth, and we pray that you would mold us and shape us to be more like Jesus tomorrow than we were today. Amen.
Should Christians (or Christian businesses) tithe? How much money should I give away? Does God want me to take a vow of poverty and give everything away? Will God punish me if I don’t tithe? How do I balance my budget of needs and wants with the biblical command of giving? If you’ve ever asked these questions to find out exactly what tithing means and how it applies to you, you are not alone. We’ll explore the concept of Tithing in this High Calling theme, and we invite you to follow along. Ask questions, offer your insights, and help us keep the conversation going.
Featured image by Adam Brill. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.