Theology of Giving

A republished article by JR Woodward

One of the greatest ways we can engage in the community of faith is through the giving of ourselves: our time, our talents and our treasures. Giving is a spiritual discipline as well as a spiritual gift. We are all called to be generous.

As a church full of young people (mostly college students), we are relying on God to work through a wide variety of people to give us the resources we need to carry out our mission. Please pray for us and be a generous giver. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give, than to receive.” Have you experienced the truth of that statement?

Sorting through the bad press about money

Many churches today no longer like to talk about money, and sometimes we can understand why. One reason is that there has been a lot of abusive teaching and practices when it comes to money and the church. Unfortunately, this has been the case since the church’s conception. When Paul was writing to the Corinthians he said, “You see, we are not like those hucksters—and there are many of them—who preach to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and with Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.” The same is true today; many peddle God’s word to get rich instead of speaking his word sincerely.

But just because there is abusive teaching and practices concerning money, it doesn’t mean we should avoid teaching and doing what God says in regard to money. Jesus talked more about money than he did heaven. Here are a few thoughts when it comes to being a good steward of our financial resources.

Money is a good servant but a poor master

Jesus puts it this way, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” By that, many people think Jesus is saying, “Don’t try and serve God and money.” That is not what Jesus says here. He says, “You cannot serve God and money.” You actually can’t do it!

When money is your master, you constantly think about it – and when you think about money, it tends to make you worry. The German word for worry is “wurgen,” which means ‘to choke’ or ‘to strangle.’ It makes sense why Jesus said, “The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” Money makes a great servant but a poor master.

God owns everything, and all I have belongs to God

The psalmist declared, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” We see this message throughout the Scriptures. The fact is that God owns all that I have; I am simply called to be his steward. Whether God entrusts us with little or a lot, we are called to be managers of what he gives us. And some day we are going to meet the manager and give an account of how we have used his resources.

The Scripture makes it clear that we can’t take any possessions with us, but we can send a lot of things ahead of us. When we give to God’s kingdom we are storing up treasures in heaven—treasures that thieves can’t steal and rust won’t touch. There isn’t a better investment in the world than that given to God’s kingdom.

You can never outgive God

There is no greater giver than God, and God always looks out for those who give. God loves to bless his children, especially those who are stepping out in faith and trusting his words. Peter one time seemed to be acting as if he had to sacrifice a lot to follow Jesus. Jesus quickly corrected Peter and said to him, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life.”

That is an amazing promise and one you can take to the bank.

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