Heeley Parish Church

Making Love Known

What the bible says about giving

"Where your treasure is, there your heart is also"

 The way we spend our money is often a good indication of our maturity as Christians.  However it is difficult to make hard and fast rules about giving because our circumstances change.  This is why we need to review our giving from time to time.  But then, whose money is it anyway and what guidance does the Bible give us on this?

How important is it that we give and how much?

1 Cor 16 v. 2        "On the first day of the week each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income ...."  In other words, the amount you give depends on how much the Lord has helped you to earn.

2 Cor 8 v.7        "See that you excel in this grace of giving."  Just how important is giving?  In an attempt to answer this, it is interesting to note that in the Bible the word 'believe' is used 272 times, the word 'pray' is used 371 times, the word 'love' is used 714 times, the word 'give' is used 2162 times!  God is a giver and He wants us to become like Him.

Why does God want us to give?

Here are some reasons:

1.   Giving makes us more like God.  John 3 v. 16 "God so loved the world that He gave his only Son" ie He loved so He gave.  We can give without loving but we cannot love without giving.  Christians should be the most giving people in the world because we are meant to be the most loving people in the world.

2.   Giving draws me closer to God.  Matt. 6 v. 21  "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also".  Wherever I put my money shows my priorities. 

3.   Giving is the antidote to materialism.  We live in a materialistic world.  We sometimes go and buy something just to make ourselves feel better. 

      1 Tim. 6 v. 17  "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, nor to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment,  commands us to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they may take hold of the life which is truly life".  We are all rich and millions would love to have our problems, and our bills, because they are worried if they will eat today!  However, be assured there is nothing wrong in enjoying what we have but we are all encouraged to be generous.  We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. 

4.   Giving strengthens my faith.  God uses finances to test our faith.  Proverbs 3 v. 5 and 9  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; honour the Lord with your wealth with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing".  We demonstrate our faith by giving the first part of our income back to Him.  Luke 6 v. 38  "Give and it will be given to you for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you".  So, in other words, God says 'Try me!  You give me a cup, you get a cup of blessing.  You give a bigger cup, you get a bigger cup of blessing'.  The measure we use is the measure we are going to get.

5.   Giving is an investment for eternity.  1 Tim. 6 v. 18  "Give happily to those in need and always be ready to share whatever God has given you".  By doing this you will be storing up real treasure for yourselves in Heaven.  It is the only safe investment for eternity.

6.   Giving blesses me in return.  Proverbs 22 v. 9  "A generous person will be blessed themselves".  "Good will come to those who are generous".  Psalm 112 v. 5.

7.   Giving makes me happy.  Jesus said  (Acts 20 v. 35)  "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving".  Have you ever noticed the happiest people are the givers?  People are not honoured for what they receive; they are honoured for what they give away.  Proverbs 11 v. 25 "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed"

What does the Bible teach about tithing?

What do we mean by tithings and offerings?

Tithe means a tenth part.  Giving a tithe is giving 10% of my income.

What is the difference between a tithe and an offering?

A tithe is giving 10% of my income but an offering is anything I give in addition to my tithe.

Why should I tithe?  

1.   Because God commands it.  Lev. 27 v. 30  "A tenth of all your produce is the Lord's as it is holy".  God could have commanded us to give 90% away!

2.   Because Jesus commended it.  Matt. 23 v.23  "Yes, you should tithe and you should not leave the more important things undone either."  The only thing Jesus commended the Pharisees for was for tithing.

3   Tithing demonstrates that God has first place in my life.  Deut.14 v23 "The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your life".  In other words, my cheque book stubs can be an indication of whether I am Christ centred.

4.   Tithing reminds me that everything was given to me by God.  Deut. 8 v. 18 "Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the ability to produce wealth".  In other words, every time I give money or things away, it reminds me that if it wasn't for you, Lord, I wouldn't have anything.

5.   Tithing expresses my gratitude to God.  Psalm 116 v. 12 "How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me".  Deut. 16 v.17 "Each of you should bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you".

6.   God says that refusing to tithe is stealing from Him.  Malachi 3 v.8  God says "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, in what way have we robbed you?  In tithes and offerings".  Just imagine if we all tithed - collections could be abolished, lots of staff could be employed and the church could give away a much greater proportion of its income.

7.   Tithing enables God to bless us.  Malachi 3 v. 10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in My house.  Test Me in this says the Lord Almighty and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit says the Lord Almighty".

8.   Tithing shows that I really love God.  Jesus said (John 14 v. 15)  "If you really love me do what I command".  2 Cor. 8 v.7 "I want you to be leaders also in the spirit of cheerful giving".  In other words, giving is an opportunity to prove that your love is real and goes beyond real words.  It is vital that we give with the right attitude.  Attitudes are much more important than amounts.  We must give willingly.  2 Cor 8 v. 12 "If the willingness is there, your gift is acceptable according to what you have".  God does not look at the amount we give, He looks at the amount we have left over.  2 Cor 9 v. 7 "Each one should give what they have decided in their hearts to give, not reluctantly or under pressure".  In other words, if you give reluctantly or give under pressure, there's no point giving it.  Again, this brings us back to our attitude which is the key thing.  We must give joyfully.   2 Cor 9 v. 7  "God loves a cheerful giver".  The Greek word for cheerful is hilarious, in other words taking the translation literally, when we give we must give with so much joy that there is something hysterical about it!  Give generously.  2 Cor 8 v. 3 "They gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability".  Give expectantly.  2 Cor 9 v. 6 "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.  Whoever sows generously will reap generously".  If God doesn't have my heart then God doesn't have my wallet.  The key to giving - 2 Cor. 8 v. 5 "They first gave themselves to the Lord".

Bearing in mind that the word 'give' is used 2162 times in the Bible, the Bible has a lot more to say about giving.  However, it does seem that tithing is important and our attitude is critical.  Do spend some time in prayer before making your decision, but however much you decide to give, give it joyfully!