Giving, Tithing, and Stewardship
What the Bible Says
The Bible contains more than two thousand verses on the subject of Christians and their money. Time and again, the Bible associates our money with our commitment and relationship to the Lord.
What Is Giving?
The word give has been defined as “to make a present of.” One of the many ways we can give to others is to give financially. Through giving, the early church helped one another and invested in what God was accomplishing. Sadly, the concept of giving has become distorted today. Yet our giving is vitally connected to who we are.
Giving Is an Act of Worship
Giving is a spiritual sacrifice and an expression of love and gratitude, because everything we have comes from God (see 1 Chronicles 29:14). Some people say, “I can’t afford to give!” In reality, we can’t afford not to give. David said that he will not give to the Lord that which cost him nothing (see 2 Samuel 24:24). No matter what we give to God, what is left will always sustain us better than if we hadn’t given at all.
Giving Is a Test of Our Faithfulness
The way we give indicates a great deal about our spirituality. Our giving reveals our value system. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). God does not ask us to give because He needs our resources. Rather, He challenges us to make Him the focus of our lives instead of our money and possessions.
Biblical Principals for Giving
Although the Apostle Paul never overemphasized the subject of giving, he never neglected its importance either. In 1 Corinthians 16:1–2, we find specific guidelines for giving: it is to be a universal practice for believers; it is to be done regularly; it is a personal act; and it is something we should be prepared to do. As we give, God will meet our needs and prosper us (see 2 Corinthians 9:6–10).
Motives for Giving
God promises to bless us if we have the right attitude toward giving (see Luke 6:38; Proverbs 3:9–10). However, some people give with the wrong motives. They may give in an attempt to manipulate God, to relieve guilt, to increase self-worth, to achieve recognition, to obtain power, or to gain tax advantages.
However, the Bible instructs us to “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The motives that God desires for our giving are to express our love to Him, please Him, lay up treasures in Heaven, and help reach the world for Jesus Christ.
The Principal for Stewardship
A steward oversees the affairs and property of another person. Stewardship implies that everything we have belongs to God. Being a good steward means to manage our resources well and use them to glorify God.
The Principal of Tithing
Old Testament law required God’s people to give ten percent of their income, which could include flocks, herds, or crops. This ten percent was known as a tithe. In addition to the tithe, God’s people were required to give offerings to the Lord for the care of the temple and the salaries of the priests. In the days of Israel, tithing was not voluntary giving. It was demanded as a form of taxation.
Is tithing for today? Dr. J. B. Gabrell made this observation: “It is unthinkable from the standpoint of the cross that anyone would give less under grace than the Jews gave under law.” God makes an incredible promise to those who give to His work. He will “open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10–11).