Read: 2 Cor. 9:6-8 |
Years ago, a young man wrote a letter to the well-known evangelist Billy Graham. (abbreviated copy below)
Dear Rev. Graham: You will probably never see this letter. However, I feel compelled to write to you. I am twenty-eight years old, a victim of cerebral palsy since birth. I have never been able to use my hands. They flop about, getting in my way, breaking things, hitting people and behaving like naughty children.
Everything I do is done with my feet. For example, I’m writing this with a ball-point pen between the toes of my left foot. The right foot isn’t much good for anything except turning pages and walking. But that is beside the point. The point is that for many years I have made spending change and bought most of my clothes by selling the fancy needle work that I do.
The Lord has blessed me with many wonderful friends and I have most always found ready sale from my wares, but I am slow and the little money I make is soon gone. I do tithe my earnings, but I have long wanted to do more. To be able to give to your Crusade has been an unattainable goal for several years.
Because of my speech defect I cannot talk to people about our wonderful Savior or be a soul winner. I felt that through you I might repay a little of my debt to Christ. I am indeed thankful. It is with the greatest of joy that I sign the enclosed $10 check. I have high hopes that it will not be the last.
I am sure that God blessed his ten dollars and gave this young man back a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. [Luke 6:38b]
In my prior postings, we covered the Top 10 Reasons Believers DO NOT Give an Offering (link). With this set of postings, we will examine the flip side – What are the top scriptural reasons that we should give?
God established the tithe in the Old Testament under the Law and it served its purpose. In the New Testament, we are not under the Law, but under Grace. Under the age of Grace, God’s purpose for giving has changed. It is no longer a commandment. Now, we are instructed to give as we have purposed in our hearts. [2 Cor. 9:7]
By examining New Testament scriptures related to offerings, I was pleasantly surprised to find a correlation between the purpose of the offering under the age of Grace and the purpose of tithing under the Law.
|Theme||Old Testament||New Testament|
|Obedience||Support the Levites – the priestly tribe who served the spiritual needs of the people. (Numbers 18:21-24)||Support the preachers of the Gospel (I Corinthians 9:4-14)|
|Obedience||Support the Nation’s religious festivals (Deuteronomy 14:22-27)||Support the church and elders (I Timothy 5:17-18)
Support Church Outreach and Evangelism (Philippians 4:14-16; 2 Corinthians 11:7-9)
|Obedience||Support the poor and downtrodden (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)||Support the poor and downtrodden (Galatians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 9:13; I Timothy 5:3-16)|
|Worship||Honor God with burnt offerings (Isaiah 43:23; Ps. 50:23)||To Honor God (Romans 13:7-8; John 12:26; John 5:23)|
Top Ten versus NOT Top Ten
As I began researching this topic, I polled several Pastors, talked with family and friends, read books/articles and prayed. Subsequently, I now feel comfortable with the 10 reasons listed below and their order of importance. However, I acknowledge that each believer might prefer a different order or may desire to replace one or more of the reasons. I welcome the input and debate.
It is also worth noting that the title is carefully worded to focus on the reasons we “should give”. By adding the word “should” to the title, it clarified what should stay on the list. For instance, in several conversations and articles I noted that some Believer’s reasons may include giving for show/personal accolades or to gain a tax deduction. Upon further review my good friend and Blog Editor Richard, pointed out that these types of reasons do not match the title phrase – “should give”. I agree, they represent carnal reasons to “give”. Subsequently, this list only contains scriptural reasons to give back to God that lead us to a closer relationship with Christ.
In the coming weeks, we will explore each of the reasons beginning with number 10! Prayerfully, by the end of the study we will be as fervent and fired up as the young man who wrote the letter to Billy Graham!
The tithe is God’s historical method to get us on the path of giving. In that sense, it can serve as a gateway to the joy of grace giving. It’s unhealthy to view tithing as a place to stop, but it can still be a good place to start. Randy Alcorn
|Purpose||Top Ten Item|
|1||Worship||To Honor and Glorify God
– Prov. 1:9; Ps 50:21
|2||Worship||To Excel in the Grace of Giving
– 2 Cor 8:7
|1||Worship||To Express our Love for the Savior
– Luke 11:42; I Cor 11:1
|4||Obedience||To nurture Spiritual Discipline and Growth
– Luke 12:14; Mark 5:21
|5||Obedience||To Align our Hearts with God
– Matt 6:21
|6||Obedience||To be Obedient
– 1 Corinthians 16:2
|7||Obedience||To Support the Preachers of the Gospel
– I Cor 9:11-14
|8||Obedience||To Finance the Local Church and spread the Gospel
– I Tim 5:8; Gal. 6:8; Phil 4:8-16
|9||Obedience||To be a Good Steward
– 2 Cor 9:7,5-12
|10||Blessing||To Obtain God’s Blessings
– Luke 6:18; Matt 6:19-20
1. Discover –
A. Do you see any item missing from the list?
B. Which reason(s) do you agree with/disagree with just based upon the titles above?
2. Develop –
A. Out of all the good causes we are asked to give to support, how do you decide whom to give your money to? Should I give to: Church, Red Cross, Flood Victims, Family, TV Ministries, etc.
B. If you do have questions about the Church Finances, does your Church have a process to answer these questions? Note: The Bible teaches us to do things in an orderly manner [1 Corinthians 14:40].
3. Demonstrate –
A. Share an example with your prayer partner why you give and how you approach when to give.
B. To put our faith into action, consider setting up a Trust Fund as part of your will to donate money to the Church after you are in Heaven! I’m sure that God would bless that gift!