To Whom Do We Give?
When the Christian gives to the church, in doing so he is giving to God (see Proverbs 19:17; Matthew 6:2-4; 22:17-21; Acts 5:4; Romans 14:4-8; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Colossians 3:22-25).
Why Should God's People Give?
1. GIVING IS AN OBLIGATION
In the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Haggai 1:1-11; Malachi 3:7-12) and in the New (Romans 12:13; Galatians 2:10; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17), the people of God are commanded to give for certain needs.
2. GIVING IS A PRIVILEGE
The churches of Macedonia were models of generosity in giving, even though they were poor. They gladly gave out of gratitude toward God and love for their brethren (2 Corinthians 8 and 9; see especially 8:4, 9). Paul reminds us of Jesus' teaching that "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
3. GIVING IS ONE DIMENSION OF OUR STEWARDSHIP
Our faithfulness as stewards in this "little thing" of money has a bearing on what other (and greater) responsibilities we will be given (see Luke 16:9-12).
4. GIVING IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP
The Old Testament saints could only approach God in worship with a sacrifice, and this sacrifice was a contribution, whether whole or in part. In the New Testament, contributions were also described as sacrifices offered up in worship (see Hebrews 9:1-10; 10:1-25; 13:10-16).
5. GIVING IS AN INVESTMENT
Jesus encouraged believers to give in order to "lay up treasure in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-21). Investing earthly money in the advancement of the kingdom of God is one way in which we can lay up spiritual treasure in heaven (see Luke 16:1-13).
How Much Should God's People Give?
In one sense, God's people are to give everything to God (Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:15; 12:33; 14:33). One's loyalty and devotion cannot be shared between God and material possessions (Matthew 6:24). In another sense, we recognize that we really own nothing, that all things belongs to God and we are stewards of them. Paul makes it clear that people should give only what they have to give (2 Corinthians 8:12), and this according to one's ability and according to what he or she has purposed to give (2 Corinthians 8:3, 10-14).