Giving When It Feels Like an Obligation
Generosity is one of my favorite topics, as I am passionate about the way that it brings freedom to people in their financial lives. One of the ways that this freedom can get robbed is when we give solely out of a sense of obligation. Giving is about our hearts and if it moves to a place of resentment or rote response, then we need to do some serious examination of what we are doing. I see this response arise in many people when they begin to question how the church they are giving to spends money. When this happens, I believe that people need to first step back and examine their hearts posture toward God and giving. Really, at the end of the day, it is not about the church. It is about you and about your heart. (As an aside, I am not saying that the church always is right in how they spend money and if they are not doing so biblically it is fine to challenge it.)
Don’t ever forget that God does not need our money. The church does not need our money. When God asks us to be generous and to tithe, He does it so that we have the privilege of participating in the Kingdom work that is going on around us. Tithing reminds us of God’s provision. It reminds us, too, of the power of the body of Christ. God uses the small tithes of many to empower great things in His church universal. We have the gift of being a small voice in the magnificent chorus.
As humans, we are always tempted by pride. We want to believe we are more significant, powerful, or influential than we are. The irony of following Christ is that we lay down our rights only to gain His calling, His righteousness, and His indwelling power. An amazing exchange! But, God can do all things without us. He does not need our money. He wants our hearts.
I’d like to remind you of a point that comes from Jesus’ conversation with Peter in Matthew 16, which went like this, “’But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’” (verses 15 – 18, NIV)
The point is this: the church is built on the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. It is not built on our money, our time, our ideas, our small groups, our worship sets, or our theological debates. The church is the bride of Christ. When Jesus tells Peter that the gates of Hades will not overcome the church, He is saying that the church is strong because of the fact that it is built on Jesus Christ. He does not say that the church is strong because its members are strong or even generous. God is committed to building His church on the foundational Truth of who Jesus Christ is. I pray that you find it a huge blessing to add your financial resources to the work that He is doing in the world through His church!
May God’s peace encourage you as you pursue financial wisdom and depend on His Truth!