Why do we, as Christians, give?
We give to keep the church building warm and in good order, and that’s important.
Who can blame people for staying away from church if the pub is cosier? We give to
help pay the Vicar’s stipend and expenses; and to support world-wide mission, and
to put in effect our Lord’s command to tell the world and to make disciples of all
nations; to help the needy and hungry about whom Jesus said: inasmuch as you do this
for these my brothers, you do this for me.
We give to finance central organisations of the Church of England but the most important
and our first reason for giving should be in thanksgiving for the generosity of God,
for he so loved the world that He gave his only Son.
Giving is our response to the love of God. Only as Christians can we fully appreciate
this, because it’s in the nature of being Christian. We need to think about thanking
God for that Generosity to us; His love for us, and for the fact that however ‘busy’
we are, and disobedient, He’s always there.
In Genesis we hear how God made a Covenant with Noah, an agreement. The story of
how his family was saved from the Flood. God made many covenants with His people
in which He promises that He will never forget us.
The covenants God made with us are unconditional.
What then shall we say to this love of God, what shall we say about the signs of
his love; the cross, the bounty he gives us in the food and drink which sustain
Christian Giving begins with seeing the awe and wonder of God in our lives; it’s
not about giving our fair share. That’s great for Rotary or Lions, but it’s not
It’s not about paying our dues; that’s fine for the golf club or the PTA, but it’s
not Christian Giving. It’s not just about turning up at the Christmas Fayre with
some old toys or bric a brac that we don’t want; that’s not Christian Giving either.
Christian Giving is risky because we have to understand the awe and wonder of God,
and that can be uncomfortable; but that’s where Christian Giving begins.
It’s no good clamouring after all that this world can offer in the way of riches,
of seeking to fill our coffers and ignoring the needs of others. God provides all
that we need, but he asks us to put His needs first when we’re spending our money
or using our abilities;
His needs as seen in the needs of others.
We are asked, like the Corinthians, to be generous. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 8, “ For
you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet
for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” The
Macedonians gave beyond their means.
One of the greatest marks that a heart has been truly touched by the grace of God
is that it counts giving as a privilege. God provides all that is needed to do his
work and to live well. The problem is that some gather more than they need and others
are unable to gather enough. God intends us to level things out. In other words,
God had given the Corinthians more than enough now, so they should share it with
the impoverished church in Jerusalem.
How do we approach giving our offerings to the Lord? Is this a task we’re glad to
do, or does this feel more like a necessary evil? Sacrificial giving is a tremendous
act of faith. It has been said that the other problem with giving until it hurts,
is that we have such a low threshold of pain. Anytime our Christian nature wants
to commit to generous and consistent giving, our sinful nature is right there to
squeal out its objections.
“But this will cut into our money for that cruise!” “But if we give this to church,
how are we going to be able to afford payments for the new car.” “With the economy
slowing down, don’t we need to cut back on the standing order to church, so we can
maintain our standard of living?”
On the one hand, we can’t give when we don’t have; especially in tough economic
times. But, we have to try and maintain our giving if we can, and offer God the ‘First
Fruits’. There’s a tension between satisfying our ‘needs’, honouring God, and satisfying
So, let’s examine our lives, to look at all that we do, and ask ourselves if we are
taking the easy way. Or is there something we can do to be more loving and caring,
generous and committed people.