This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s Message: I Love my church…Love in Giving (WATCH HERE).
“All the church wants is my money.”
This “common” claim is one I honestly don’t fully understand or know where and why this stereotype has caught on. I suppose I do know when you used to “buy” your pew in church for your family and the more you paid, the more prominent position you got. I have heard of churches asking their members for their annual income and then “billing” their parishioners for a percentage of their income. TV preachers often make prominent the call for donations with the incentive of a book or other gift. There have been times in my ministry where our expenses were exceeding the gifts of God’s people and so an appeal went out to encourage additional gifts. So I guess I can understand why some feel that way.
And to be honest, I am guilty of not always communicating the gift of giving very well either. So let’s try this morning.
Giving is my response to what God has given to me in Jesus.
I am not giving to a budget. I am not giving out of obligation. I am not giving to gain God’s goodness. I am giving generously because God has given generously to me.
Giving is my privilege to steward a small portion of God’s creation.
When I recognize that the “earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” I start asking a different question. Instead of asking, “What do I want to do with MY money?”, I ask, “Lord what do YOU want me to do with YOUR money?” This changes the perspective of what I have. I recognize I am just to be a faithful steward of those gifts.
Giving is my way to honor the Lord.
Giving touches on many aspects of our faith. By giving to God first in my monthly budget, I am trusting that God will take care of all my needs. By giving to God generously, I mirror the generosity which I have been given. When I give to the Lord first it is an expression that the love of God is priority in my heart over love of wealth. Even King Solomon, who was entrusted with great wealth, recognized this truth.
Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Giving is guided by the Lord’s Word.
Perhaps we wonder “what” or “how much” should I give. Bottom line the amount is what your heart can give cheerfully.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
If your heart is looking for guidance, decide on a percentage of your income to set aside.
1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
If you’re looking for a suggested percentage, consider the tithe or 10%…it’s biblical and easy to figure out!
Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Yes, your local church receives this gift and your church then stewards those gifts for the kingdom ministry which God is leading you to carry out. The Church is about Jesus. The Church is about the Gospel. By your generous giving, the Church can carry out its mission to bring Jesus to people and by your generous giving, you honor the Lord!
Apply: Evaluate the percentage you are giving to the Lord through your local church. Is this percentage generous? Given cheerfully? Honoring the Lord?
Prayer: Lord forgive me for stinginess of heart and lack of giving. Encourage and empower me by your Spirit to give generously to honor you and be a blessing to your Church. AMEN.