Read: I Timothy 5:8 |
A notorious miser was visited by the chairman of the community fundraiser. “Sir,” said the fundraiser, “our records show that despite your wealth, you’ve never once given to our drive.”
“Do your records show that I have an elderly mother who was left penniless when my father died?” fumed the tightwad. “Do your records show that I have a disabled brother who is unable to work? Do your records show I have a widowed sister with small children who can barely make ends meet?”
“No, sir,” replied the embarrassed volunteer. “Our records don’t show those things.”
I am stopping the illustration at this point because we are at the crux of the matter of study for this week: I give elsewhere – or – When I give to causes outside of the Church, does everything I give count as an offering to God?
Reason – I give elsewhere, why doesn’t that count?
Hypothetical Joe Christian might argue, if you were to count up everyone I give money to, I would be considered a generous “giver”.
In addition to my financial support of the church, I give to a TV Ministry, to United Way, to the man on the corner, to pay my grandmothers Electric Bill, to Compassion International, and to support missionary friends abroad.
That adds up! So do not even imply that I do not give my fair share by only counting what I give to my local Church. That’s not a fair accounting of what I do for Christ.
I give where I am most cheerful giving, which happens to be mostly outside of this church! Doesn’t the Bible say to be a cheerful giver? [2 Cor. 9:7] I am, so what’s the problem?
Under the Old Testament law, tithing was regimented and uncompromising – Bring the tithes to the storehouse – period. [Malachi 3:10] No one was allowed to be a “free-lancer tither”. [The New Testament Pattern of “Giving”, Wayne Jackson]
Under the New Testament, we live under grace. A survey of New Testament scriptures indicate that our free-will giving should:
- Support those who minister the Word to you (I Cor. 9:11-12; I Tim 5:18)
- Support those in need (Acts 2:45; Romans 15:25-27; I Cor. 16:1-2)
- Expand Christian outreach (Phil. 4:15-16)
- Support the needs of our immediate families (I Tim 5:8; 2 Cor. 12:14)
These scriptures provide us with priorities for our giving. The scriptures indicate that we should not consider ourselves as purely free-lance givers.
The primary focus of the above scriptures guides believers with where and when the believer should give unto God. In I Cor. 9:14, we find the interdependent perspective of what God expects from the Church ministers – He instructs them to make their living from the Gospel. This symbiotic relationship leads then to trust God’s grace to provide via the flock they are feeding. As the congregation follows their instructions and the leader follows their instructions, God blesses both. Thus, if we rationalize our giving and give a disproportionate share outside of our Church, we are not following heavenly instructions.
We are told to:
- Prioritize our giving to match God’s directions for the New Testament Church
- Support the cause of God by supporting our local church
- Be consistent and regular in setting aside our offering
Personally, I have decided to fully support the church and send offerings to other causes as God leads. After all, God will lead each of us to unique opportunities to share our finances with causes outside of the Church.
I have found that He meets my needs just as He promised He would. [Luke 6:38] Pray and seek insight from God to find your own point of balance between giving to the church and elsewhere.
Is it OK to Give to Charities Instead of Tithe?
How Were offerings used in the New Testament?
The New Testament Pattern of “Giving”
I Tithe…but should it go to my local church?
Is It Stealing From God to Split Your Tithe Between the Church and Other Charities?
- I don’t believe the Tithe is Biblical for the New Testament Church
- I’m afraid to trust God with my offering
- I don’t know where the money is going
- I don’t agree with where the money is going
- I don’t trust the Preacher
- I think the Church is always begging for money
- I give elsewhere
- I give when I want to give
- I only have a little to give
- I don’t have anything to give
1. Discover –
A. How do you count up what you “give” to God? How do you decide when and where to give?
B. How much do you give to organizations outside of the Church?
2. Develop –
A. What influences have most affected how to decide to put anything extra in the offering plate when fundraising events occur in your church or community?
B. When faced with not wanting to give an offering and feeling like you should give, how do you reach a decision? Is it prayer? Is it logic? Is it both? Is it consistent?
3. Demonstrate –
A. Looking back over your personal giving track record, would you say you are consistent even when times are bad? If not, what has held you back?