The 90s edition of Snoop Dogg rapped about having ‘my mind on my money and my money on my mind’. Whilst I may have wild reservations about adopting the ever popular ‘cash rules everything around me’ mentality, I do think that getting your mind right about money is important. For how you use your money is often a great indicator of what and whom you love and what you value most in life.
I also have even crazier reservations about tithing and how that is often viewed as the ultimate magic potion that appeases either an angry God that is after your money or a genie-type God who will grant you one of your three wishes this month because you gave 10% of your income.
Whilst I run to seek shelter after blatantly throwing copious amounts of shade at what often seems like a machine or ideology that keeps many pastors and first ladies living like they are Jay and Bey or Kim and Kanye, and many more people giving more out of fear—I’d like to highlight some ways that I think provide a healthy foundation for giving.
Think it through: what are the motivations behind your giving? For how you view your money and the reasons why you give it away will govern the nature by which you give. So remembering that it all belongs to God is a good place to start. All as in everything, as in 100% of every penny in your pocket, purse, bank account and secret stash under your bed. You are just a steward of that wealth, He has given it to you to look after and use wisely.
What’s more, remembering who God is will help guide your inner motivations for giving. He is a kind, compassionate and gracious God—He is not a taxman, waiting to pounce on you and take everything you have at any given moment; neither is He a candy machine that you put money into so you get goodies out. To be frank, He actually doesn’t owe you anything. But how do you really see Him?
Think carefully about what role money plays in your life. Money itself isn’t the root of all evil, but the love of it is (1 Timothy 6:10). So don’t make money your homie, your BFF or your bae. It won’t end well (Matthew 6:24). The writer of Hebrews warns us to keep our lives ‘free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”’ (13:5). How much of your affection does money have?
I could say that the main reason you should give generously is because there are many places in the Bible that affirm that it is a great thing to do and—somewhat counter intuitively—you will benefit greatly from it. Yes, Proverbs does say that ‘He that gives to the poor shall not lack’ (Proverbs 28:27) and certainly, the apostle Paul says ‘whoever sows generously will also reap generously’ (2 Corinthians 9:6).
However, I would assert that at the crux of why it is good to be generous with what you have is to recognise that we have an extravagantly lavish God. At the heart of the gospel, we see ourselves holding onto a huge debt we could never pay that is deserving of death and judgment. Yet God, who so loved us sends His only Son, Jesus Christ—who had no debt and owed us nothing—to take on our debt for us and pay it with His life just so that we could be free. Every other great act of love and generosity pales in comparison to this.
So we give, not because we will get more, we give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7) out of an overflow of gratitude and recognition of just how much we’ve been given. Ultimately, if the gospel does not shape our thinking in the way that we give, we will more often than not fail to be generous or sincere givers.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke at length about the way in which you should give. He stressed the importance of not making a huge show or spectacle in the way that you give (Brother Franklin, I’m looking at you), just so that you’d look good in the eyes of others. So perhaps standing up and waving your offering envelope in your hand or signing a big cheque in front of an audience is not the way to go. Jesus encourages us to ‘give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you’ (Matthew 6:4). Beware that you aren’t seeking the approval or fearing the disapproval of people when it comes to giving. They are not God and it is not for their sake that you ultimately give—rather it is to bring glory and honour to God. Only He needs to see what you’re doing.
So whom you give to, where and when is none of my business or concern. But as your prayerfully consider where you might give your money (ASOS notwithstanding), may you give from a heart that is not chained to the love of money, or gripped by fear of a displeased God running after His 10%. May you give knowing how abundantly you have been loved and provided for, with a heart to extend to others just some of that goodness that a loving God has brought your way.
Written by Kazstarlet
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