Giving should be the normal lifestyle of a Christian.
Yet too many of us hoard our time, resources, energy, and money rather than generously give to those in need and for the purpose of Kingdom work.
In this episode, Nathan talks about tithe, eleven New Testament principles for giving, a concept for how to spend money, and concludes with an exhortation to not merely be givers but to be extravagant givers.
In the Old Testament, tithe was established as giving 10% to God, His work, and His purposes. First seen in Abraham giving a tenth to Melchizedek, the tithe was the basis of giving throughout the old covenant.
Yet even in the Old Testament, tithe was just the beginning of giving. Freewill offerings were above and beyond a tithe and were to be given not out of duty but out of delight.
In the New Testament, the concept with money shifted from “I own 90% and God gets 10%” to “everything is God’s and I merely steward it.”
While tithe is not bad, as Randy Alcorn rightly said, “Tithe is the training wheels of giving.” Tithe should be the training ground, the foundation, for our giving. Tithe is not the limit we give but rather the entrance into a lifestyle of giving.
11 Principles for Giving in the New Testament
In his tremendous book Money, Possessions, and Eternity (chapter 13), Randy Alcorn gives eleven guidelines for giving as found throughout the New Testament:
- Give generously
- Give regularly
- Give deliberately
- Give voluntarily
- Give sacrificially
- Give excellently
- 2 Corinthians 8:7 – “See that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
- Giving takes practice, like learning any other skill.
- Give cheerfully
- Give worshipfully
- Give proportionately (in light of giving sacrificially)
- During an impending famine “the disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea” (Acts 11:29 … and Paul reminds us: “each of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2)
- AW Tozer: “Before the judgment seat of Christ, my service will be judged not by how much I have done, but by how much I could have done. In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given, but by how much I could have given and how much I had left after I made my gift.” (Tozer, The Incredible Christian, 105)
- Give quietly
Money is not bad or evil—in fact it is neutral—it all depends on how it is used.
We all need to spend money (housing, groceries, etc), and even spending money on hobbies, vacations, etc aren’t wrong—yet the question really should ask ourselves, is not how much I can hoard and keep and spend on myself but how much money can I give away?
As John Wesley once said, “Money never stays with me. It would burn me if it did. I throw it out of my hands as soon as possible, lest it should find its way into my heart.”
Here are three quick ideas with spending money as a Christian:
1. Get out of debt
There are many reasons why we should get out of debt, but perhaps the most important one as a Christian is so that we can more finances to give away for Kingdom work.
Romans 13:8 reminds us to “owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.”
If you need help getting out of debt, Dave Ramsey has some great principles with his debt snowball plan. And if you need help budgeting, my all time favorite resource is YNAB (You Need a Budget). Note: if you sign up for YNAB with this link, you are also supporting deeperChristian at no additional cost to you.
2. What are you investing in?
We are all going to spend money in some way. The question becomes, are we spending money merely in temporal things for the here and now or are we “investing” in the eternal?
Very few things last for eternity. Possessions won’t, but relationships will. Those won to Christ will join us. So while we may need to use money for practicals, let’s use our resources (including our time, money, and talent) for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
What if we took bonuses and pay raises not as a means to increase our standard of living, but rather as a way to give more?
As Wesley said, “I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”
3. A Simple Three Step Concept
If you need help with how to spend wisely, my friend Eric Ludy says it this way:
- Splurge on the sacred (spend money on the things God deems important)
- Skimp on the secular (be frugal on things needed for everyday living and function)
- Starve the profane (don’t spend any money on the things that are contrary to the Kingdom of God)
3 Ideas for Generous Giving
To begin training ourselves for giving generously, consider these three reminders:
1. Giving should be a lifestyle
Giving for a Christian is not a one time or random/occasional experience. We should be always ready to give as Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 4:28 – “The one who steals must no longer steal; but rather he must labor, producing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need.”
2. Giving should be extravagant
God has given us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and He delights in giving (John 3:16). As Christians, we should reflect His extravagant giving and be generous givers ourselves.
What if the world saw a picture of the Gospel when they looked at how we used money?
3. Giving is a picture of your heart
Jesus is clear that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).
Our money is a revelation of what is most important to us.
But it can also help us steer our hearts toward the things of God. If you desire to have a heart for missions, start giving toward missions. If you want more love for the orphan and widow, then give money to those needs.
You quickly find that God enflames the heart in the areas where our money is at.
For people who want security and place all their money in stocks and housing, you’ll notice that they are tuned to the market and housing forecasts. Why shouldn’t we be tuned in the same with the things of God?
Remember, Scripture says a lot about money and how we handle it should be a reflection of Christ.
Listen to and Download the Episode
- Managing God’s Money (A Biblical Guide)
- Money, Possessions, and Eternity
- Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving
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Question: What benefit have you experienced in generously giving to others?
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NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps other believers understand and apply the Bible as they grow and mature in their faith—desiring that they gain greater intimacy with Christ, experience the victorious Christian life, and transform the world through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Read more about him here.
About the Deeper Christian Podcast
Many Christians feel frustrated because they don’t grow spiritually. The Deeper Christian Podcast helps equip Christians to understand the Word of God and cultivate a passionate love for Jesus that turns the world upside down.
Whether you want to learn how to study God’s Word, grow in your faith, cultivate a powerful and effective prayer life, share the Gospel boldly, deepen your intimacy with Jesus, live victoriously, or transform the world through the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit, the Deeper Christian Podcast with NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) will encourage and equip you to grow spiritually and live a Christ-centered life.