Christian Giving

Tag Archive for: giving

In this season of holiday shopping madness the world begins to wonder how it is going to pay its bills. Shoppers go wild spending money they don’t have, buying stuff they and their friends don’t always need (while 2/3 of the world goes without the basics of life) and maxing their credit cards with an “I’ll worry about it later” attitude. Most of the time they focus on shopping, giving gifts, having parties and decorating Christmas trees.

I have never figured out what 90% of “Christmas” has to do with “Christmas” i.e. the birth of Jesus Christ – which is in fact what it is!

Too often people spend money they don’t have without regard to the consequences that follow in the coming year. That “coming year” is just a flip of the calendar’s page away. The Happy New Year, often time, begins with bigger debt than the previous year, and so the vicious cycle begins again and we wonder and worry about how to get out of debt. Yet we hope for an increase in pay or perhaps a job promotion; surely that will solve the financial mess we created by over spending during the holidays. Right? Not likely.

The more money they have, the more they spend. Many times people with large incomes have a higher debt ratio than people with lower incomes.

Let me just run down a small list of the debt-oriented things to which we expose our children to each day. They live in houses with thirty-year mortgages. They wear clothes purchased with credit cards. Those same clothes are washed in washing machines purchased on monthly payment plans. They study from mortgaged computers. They watch mortgaged televisions and use mortgaged computers and smart phones. They sleep on mortgaged beds. They are born into a family up to its eyeballs in debt. They live eighteen to twenty-five years in this debt-ridden environment. When they are old enough to drive, we usually co-sign a bank loan for them to purchase their first automobile. By so doing, we launch them into their own ocean of debt, never to be debt free again.

Is this what God intends?

God desires for His children to prosper in every aspect of their life; spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, socially, and financially. I believe God gave Joshua the secret formula to prosperity:

  • Be strong and courageous; never cowering or compromising the Word.
  • Observe the Law – the law of God’s unconditional love for one another.
  • “Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.” Romans 13:10.
  • Meditate on the Word and don’t allow it to depart from your mouth. In other words bridle your tongue and speak life not death. In every situation you encounter speak spiritual truths from the Word.

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

Joshua’s true prosperity was the Promised Land and government. True prosperity is not exclusively financial wealth; it is health, joy, peace and all nine fruits of the spirit. Peace is a victory that overcomes the world (Galatians 5:22-23).

Giving into God’s Kingdom is important for every Christian. We give to God simply because we are commanded to do so but also because God wants to bless us and His economy (unlike the world’s) is based upon giving. We give to Him and He gives to us. He does not need our money, He just wants to see where our heart is and again, His giving is activated by our giving. That’s the way His economy works.

“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.” Luke 6:38 NIV

There are three types of giving into God’s Kingdom:

1. First fruits. A first fruit is the amount of your increase. For example: say you have a monthly income from your employment of $4,000. gross per month. This month, your boss calls you into his office and announces that you are getting a raise to $5,000. per month starting the next month. Your increase is therefore $1,000. For the first month that you receive that extra $1,000., ALL of it goes to the Kingdom of God and is called a First Fruit, and is the first way you are giving into God’s Kingdom. After that month, you then need to tithe on the $1,000. as you would on the $4,000. that you were receiving before the raise. (there are 31 references in the bible to first fruits)

2. Alms. A alm is money that you give to the poor. (Mathew 6:1) You must give this money quietly and if possible, anonymously to protect the receivers dignity. God says in Proverbs 19:17 that giving to the poor is like a loan to Him and that He will pay you back. Do not expect a harvest from this type of giving. It is just God reimbursing you, but no doubt He will look very favourably upon you as you continue giving into God’s Kingdom.

3. Seed giving. This is where you become like the farmer and plant your seed with expectation of a harvest. This type of giving into God’s Kingdom is where God can really move in your financial life. God says His Kingdom is like seed time and harvest. Do what the farmer does. Plant good seed (not corrupt money from illegal gain) and plant it into good soil. (ministries that are well grounded in the Word, have reasonable administration costs, are not corrupt, have abundant fruit from their charitable efforts etc.). Then the farmer waters, fertilizes and weeds his crop. (Give praise to God, pray over your seed, bless it, call it forth into a harvest, use faith i.e. call things that be not as though they were, (Romans 4:17), do not speak any kind of negatively over your seed, etc.) Finally, the farmer goes out and gets his harvest. (Be prepared to receive. Just as you would prepare for the birth of a child by getting his/her room ready, buying clothes etc., keep standing in faith and believe for your harvest. Do what you would do as if the harvest had already been received) (References: Gen. 8:22, Gal. 6:7, 2 Cor. 9:6, 2 Cor 9:10)

There is a very important condition to these three ways of giving. You must tithe (tithe means 10 or 10%) your gross income to God BEFORE you give any further money to Him. Tithing is not giving; tithing is returning to God what is His. In other words, your giving starts AFTER you have tithed. The tithe is to go to the local church that you attend and giving should go where God directs you.