Most of us can point to examples of monetary self-indulgence in the church today. Many of us can number on at least one hand the well-known preachers who greedily push for tithes, gifts, and pledges, through the lure of an unbiblical promise of prosperity. We should be disgusted by this kind of influence in the church. It certainly is repulsive to nonbelievers and stands as the single most common excuse as to why they are skeptical of Christianity.
To stand against the love of money, however, we need to keep our thinking informed by the scriptures. In our zeal to reject the misuse, abuse, and twisting on the subject of money within the church, we should avoid swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction into disuse and disregard. The New Testament places value on using money for the interests of God. If we never address the subject at all, we will fail to take up the call to put our income to godly use.
Inspired by the Spirit, Paul writes that monetary giving is a form of “ministering” (2 Corinthians 9:1). It is also counted as a “generous gift” and likened to sowing a seed that will result in a useful, fruitful blessing (9:5-6). Paul calls it a “good work” to give money where it is needed in the church, and like any good work, your giving is a “[fruit] of your righteousness” (9:8-10). He simply means that a heart of unselfish care for others will be manifest in financial generosity, especially toward other believers. Giving to God’s work produces thanksgiving to God, in those who receive it and in those who see how it blesses others (9:11-12). Scripture goes so far as to say that giving to God’s work is an act of obedience that flows from any sincere confession of faith in Christ (9:13). If that sounds extreme, it is just a rewording of verse 13! Liberal sharing of money and possessions with others as needed is characteristic of any true Christian (9:13).
Remember that Jesus saw the widow place a single small coin into the treasury and declared that her gift was greater than most, not because the amount was great but because her means was so small. God knows each person’s ability to give, and He never looks at giving in terms of dollars and cents. Those who have much to spare have no reason to boast, and those who are scraping by have no need to lament. Each of us ought to pray, “Lord, can I use my time, skills, possessions, and money in any way to serve Your kingdom or meet someone else’s need?” Then, we should simply be ready for whatever the Spirit leads us to do.
God gives us this principle: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (9:6). Again, dollars and cents are not the concern here but the willingness to sacrifice. Are we willing only to give our scraps to the needs of others when we have all our bases covered? Or are we willing to submit our entire budget to the Lord and allow Him to adjust it for the sake of His kingdom? This principle extends far beyond money. When we say a prayer on the fly or spend ten minutes here or there to help someone, there is a small blessing that may accrue from this. But when we are willing to be inconvenienced, to become sacrificial, in how we use our time, in our commitment to prayer, in our care for others in the body of Christ, then we begin to really invest something substantial, and we witness a result in ourselves and in the lives of others that is worth much more than silver and gold.
The Rock Church