Does your giving require sacrifice on your part? Or are you only giving what is easy?
I read a post at Free Money Finance a couple Sundays ago asking “Where Did All the Givers Go?“. In that post and a few of his others, FMF seems to criticize those who believe in “generous giving”, “cheerful giving”, or “grace giving” because the average Christian in America doesn’t give very much (2.6% of income). He sees a philosophy of “generous giving” or “New Covenant giving” as weak and an excuse to give less. He’s a proponent of tithing for Christians today.
However, you should know by now that I don’t believe Christians are under the law of tithing. I believe in generous, sacrificial giving that models Christ’s life and sacrifice. If you’ve read my thoughts on the matter, you’ll realize it’s not an excuse to give less – even though I do believe you should be caring for your family’s needs first and paying what you owe.
However, my beliefs about giving shouldn’t lead to giving less than 10% (especially in America). That’s because those beliefs about giving are closely tied to my beliefs about contentment in Christ. When Christ meets all of your needs, you find that you don’t need much in this life to be satisfied and happy. Your needs become very small. And that frees you to become extremely generous.
When you begin to live in a way that values Christ and people above material wealth, you choose to make “sacrifices” in the world’s view. You don’t buy a large, extravagant house. You choose to drive an older vehicle. You don’t eat out all the time. You find alternatives to the typical entertainment options. You spend money thoughtfully and carefully – questioning the necessity of the item and seeking God’s will instead of mindlessly following our culture of materialism. You are no longer defined by what you buy. You are defined by who you live for and what you give.
So my question for you is this: What are you sacrificing today in order to give more? Are you making conscious choices to question the lifestyle that the American culture teaches you to follow? Are you praying for God to guide you as you budget and spend the money He has blessed you with? Are you laying down your life to meet the needs of others?
How are you following Jesus in your giving? It doesn’t matter if you’re giving 10%, 20%, or 3%. Considering what you have, how is your life reflecting the love of God? How is your budget testifying to the fact that Christ lives in you?
If you can’t answer those questions, then now is the time for you to seek God’s will for your giving. I don’t care if you believe in tithing or generous giving. What you believe doesn’t matter when you answer those questions. What are you doing? How has your life been changed by the power of God’s Spirit working in you? How is that evident in your giving?