Does Christian Giving Give You Heartburn?

Christian giving is a reference to giving the amount of money that God wants with the attitude that God wants you to give it with. There are too many Christians who want to do all of the "saintly" and Christian growth activities, except that of giving to God, as God has prospered them. The following are some key ideas regarding Christian giving:

1. God owns everything. Psalms 24:1 teaches that everything belongs to God. Everything includes what we call our money, our automobiles, our houses, and even our cloths. God owns it all, according to the authoritative Word of God (see II Tim. 3:16).

2. Gratitude should be enough. The Psalm writer lifts a marvelous question, in Psalms 116:12. In essence, he asks, "What shall one render to God, in exchange for all that God has already done for me"?

When we think about how great God has been in our lives, we should want to at least "tip" Him to say, "thank You." When we go to fine restaurants and receive simply adequate service, we give 10% and more of what we owe to the server to say, "thank you." We are thanking them for doing their job. And we are giving more than we owe.

With the same logic in mind, think about how God has saved your soul from a burning Hell. Think about how God has given you the ability to work (see Deut. 8:17-18). Think about how God has provided you with food, clothing, and shelter, while others were hungry, naked, and homeless.

What is 10% or a "tip" of what you owe God for all He has done for you? And Christian giving goes to another level, when you think about what He has done for your family members and loved ones. Gratitude should be enough of a reason for us to engage in Christian giving.

3. God blesses profitable stewards. In Luke 19:16-17, the servant who is profitable for His master is richly blessed. When you give God at least a tithe or a tenth, God will bless you as a profitable servant.

Read passages like Malachi 3:8-11 (i.e., blessings you will not have room enough to receive … rebuking devourers for your sake), Luke 6:38 (i.e., pressed down and running over), and Matthew 6:33 (i.e., all of these things will be added to you).

Read Proverbs 3:9-10 (i.e., over filled barns), Philippians 4:19 (i.e., all of your needs according God's riches), and Psalms 34:10 (i.e., will lack no good thing). God blesses profitable stewardship, which includes Christian giving.

4. God punishes unprofitable stewards. Luke 19:20-26 teaches that the unprofitable steward, the one who made excuses, instead of profit, was severely punished. In Luke 20:9-18, the tenants who would not send profit to the master were killed.

In Malachi 3:8-10, those who rob God are cursed with a curse. In Haggai 1:5-11, God puts holes in His people's pockets and blows their stuff away, when they are unprofitable stewards. Your life is challenging enough, without adding God's punishment to your list of challenges.

5. Make a commitment to grow. Abraham tithed before the Law (see Gen. 14:18-20) and the Law taught tithing (see Lev. 27:30-33). Jesus often added to the Law (see Mt. 5:21-28). We should strive to give no less than a tithe of our gross income (i.e., first fruits), as the proportion that we give to the Lord.

A great thing about the passage in Luke 19:15-26 is that God will bless a person at his/her level of faith, if he/she show God that he/she is trying. Notice the middle servant did not do as well as the first, but he did better than the last.

Consequently, he was not blessed as much as the first servant, nor was he punished like the last servant. God blessed him at his level of faith. And God will do the same in your life, in this area of Christian giving.

If you have not grown to the level of tithing and beyond then you ought to commit to no less than 3% of your gross income, until you grow to 5% and 7%, on your way to 10%.

6. Miscellaneous. I recommend that you set your proportionate giving up with a auto draft situation, where checks are either deposited into your church's account or checks are mailed to your church. Or you should write checks. There is something about seeing cash that makes God's money look so much bigger (smile).

You should strive to pay God first. If you pay your other bills and come up short with God's money, the other vendors are not going to help you with God's deficit. But if you pay God first and come up short with the other bills, God has a way of working things out for His people.

If this is your area of struggle, I strongly suggest that you seek an accountability partner (click here for a helpful article) to help you in this area. There is power when two or three Christians commit to doing God's will (see Ecc. 4:12; Mt. 18:19-20).

In summary, everything already belongs to God. Even though God will bless us for being profitable stewards and punish us for being unprofitable, we should actually be thankful enough to give God 10% of our income and more. You should make a commitment to grow and seek support, if this is your area of struggle.

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