How Should A Christian Handle Money?

A PHILOSOPHY OF CHRISTIAN GIVING

Giving is an act of worship in the life of a believer. Worshipful giving has as its object God Himself. Therefore, giving is to be done first and foremost as a willing and joyful act of worship unto God the greatest giver. The act of giving cannot be understood rightly without first realizing that all one possesses belongs to and has been given by God. Although money is the primary concern, wealth is to be understood as the combined total of all that God has so richly blessed one with. In order for one to give in a manner that is worshipful, the motive is of paramount importance. God is not near as concerned with what one gives as He is of why one is giving. Furthermore, when one gives of his wealth with God-honoring motives, the giving will be both intentional as well as provisional. Consequently, giving should be done primarily through a local church with an intentional mindset, but secondarily to those in need with a provisional mindset. In addition, such an act of giving must always be God-glorifying rather than self-exalting. God-glorifying giving is that which is rooted in grace, wholly separated from the obligatory approach of those who seek to earn God’s favor and man’s applause. Therefore, when one gives he or she should do so with an understanding that organizations and individuals are merely beneficiaries. God Himself is both the owner of one’s possessions and recipient of one’s giving. Giving, as a reflection of God’s goodness and an expression of God’s grace, is not in contradiction to the law nor is it opposed to the law. Rather, this perspective of giving is based upon the same grace that was evident in the law of the Old Testament and paramount in the New Testament.

Principles of Giving

The substance of one’s giving should be all encompassing: The substance of one’s giving pertains to what one has been given not what one lacks. Believers are to be good stewards of all that God blesses one with. That which is of primary concern here is money, wealth, or riches. In relation to the concept of “tithing” one would do well to recognize that God does not own a percentage but rather all, we are merely stewards of it. With this all encompassing framework, giving is understood as a way of life rather than a series of equations.

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce;so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.

1 Timothy 6:17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

2 Corinthians 8:12-15 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

The motivation of one’s giving should be God-honoring: The act of one’s giving is never divorced from the fountain of one’s heart. Much is often said regarding the quantity of giving, both of frequency and amount, however, the quality of ones giving is of much greater importance. Giving that flows from a pure heart of gratitude and joy is giving that honors God. The amount or frequency of giving has its place, but a rightly motivated heart will not only give cheerfully, but will do so without the expectation of selfish reward. Such giving will not be done at the expense of justice, mercy, faithfulness and cheerfulness.

Matthew 6:1-4
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Matthew 23:23: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

2 Corinthians 9:8-15 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,
14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

The occasion of one’s giving should be intentional and provisional: The act of one’s giving should be intentional as well as provisional. The scriptural example and expectation is that believers would give to the local Church and do so intentionally or with purpose. It was common practice for the early Church to give on the first day, to save and set aside, and to do so systematically. However, there is also a scriptural mandate for believers to give provisionally, or to meet the needs of others. Although the two occasions of giving may intersect as many Churches use the systematic giving to help those in need, believers should always be ready to meet the needs of others. None other than Christ himself set the example for such giving.

Acts 20:35 "In every thing I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive’"

1 Corinthians16:2 On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.

1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

2 Corinthians 9:6-9 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”

2 Corinthians 8:9-15
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does hot have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality -- at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, "HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK."

The manner of one’s giving should be without self-exaltation: The act of ones giving should never be self-exalting but God –exalting, and never obligatory, but rather driven by grace. Such giving is not dictated by laws of obedience, obligation or compulsion. It is important to keep in mind the fact that believers are not under the obligations of the law as some may suggest, nevertheless, it is equally important to recognize that the expectations of grace far surpass that of the law. Therefore, although “tithing” is no longer a requirement, giving with right motives, god-exalting methods, and with true riches in mind is that which God desires. Giving that seeks to earn God’s favor or man’s applause is of no value, but sacrificial giving is worth its weight in gold.

Matthew 6:1-4
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

2 Corinthians 9:6-9 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

Christian giving is rightly understood as that lifestyle that properly understands the true riches of life, riches found not in this world, but of one to come. This understanding of true riches then leads one to a resolved conviction that all he or she possesses is merely the property of God from whom all good things come. Therefore, anything less than good stewardship of what belongs to Him is less than acceptable. Moreover, such an understanding leads one to give generously, cheerfully, without obligation or compulsion, but overflowing with grace and sacrifice. Such giving is done systematically and with the desire to meet the needs of others. In short Christian giving is to be a reflection of God’s goodness, and an expression of God’s grace. The Apostle Paul recognized such giving in the life of the Macedonian’s:



1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus that this gracious work as well. 7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. 8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. 10 I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. 11 But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. 12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

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Comments 5 comments

aoiffe379 profile image

aoiffe379 7 years ago

Interesting and well done!


Sunny River profile image

Sunny River 7 years ago from A Place Without A Name which resides somewhere between Fantasy and Belief, just north of Reality

This is probably one of the best pieces on tithing I have ever read, and I've heard plenty of sermons on the subject. VERY nice. Thank you.

The only thing I would question you on is this part--

"Consequently, giving should be done primarily through a local church..."

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't give to our local churches, but in my area the local churches have fallen away from the Truth, and I no longer feel comfortable giving to them because I don't feel they will truly use it to God's glory. Instead, I do my giving to other organizations that I know will do this. Would you consider this wrong?


hardman 7 years ago

"I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=2236...


nybride710 profile image

nybride710 5 years ago from Minnesota

This was really timely for me as I have been intentionally focusing on giving lately. I have noticed a huge heart change and my thinking is more in line with what is outlined in this article.

I had money problems all of my life until an amazing act of grace and mercy made me financially secure. It's hard to not still think in that mindset and feel I have to guard everything. But the truth is I have been abundantly blessed and "to whom much has been given, much is expected." Thanks again.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Nice article. And yes, I'm big on giving to others as well - appreciation of others is also very important....

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