Today’s guest post on giving comes from a dear friend, Trevor, who serves as a pastor with a community of people rethinking church. I’ve partnered with Trevor for years, sharing the task of coming up with jr. high camp activities or digging into historical contexts of scriptures. I value his insight as much as his sense of humor: though he takes God very seriously, he’s careful not to take himself too seriously, which is the most welcoming and engaging position for leaders. You can follow him on the Twitter – @JCCFindlay – or listen to the podcast (which I highly recommend – the Christmas series is using the best holiday movies as the guide! I can’t wait to hear him teach on Elf!)
I’m a pastor. My dad was a pastor. So it’s safe to say that I have been in church for nearly every of my life. Except for college, because you know, that’s what you do. I grew up being taught that you give 10% of your income to God. That’s what you do. And now that I’m a pastor, that’s what I teach as well. You give 10% of your income to God. That’s what you do.
That’s what I do, too. Not because God needs my money. God doesn’t need money. And God doesn’t want me to give because the church needs money. While it’s true that the church does need money to operate, that’s not why God expects me to give.
Here’s why I give.
It’s a spiritual issue. Somehow we get the idea that it’s not a spiritual topic. It very much IS a spiritual topic and one which we need to be informed about rather than ignore. We don’t have an issue with talking about investing, 401K pensions, debt, etc. outside the church, but as soon as we talk about it inside the church then alarms go off. But it’s a spiritual topic and we need to address it. Jesus talked about money more than any other topic, so it’s safe to say that there are spiritual implications involved in what we give or don’t give. It’s a spiritual issue and I’ll never ask the people in my church to do something that I don’t already do.
God has me give because it’s me who needs to give it… because it makes me more like Christ. Every in worship I end my prayer with the phrase, “Help us to be shaped more and more in the image of your Son, Jesus, in who’s name we pray, AMEN.” That’s not just in our character or thoughts, but it’s also in our actions, and yes our giving. I can’t claim to be a spiritually mature Christian if I’m not giving. By definition a Christian is Christlike and Christ is a giver. John tells us that God is a giver. For God SO LOVED the world that He GAVE… We love because He first loved us. We give because He first gave for us. It makes me more like Christ.
I also give because it’s a reminder of ownership. The word steward, where we get the word stewardship, means manager; not owner. I am actually an asset manager for God. I get in trouble when I get in the wrong position. When I start viewing it as “my money” then I get into trouble. I get into trouble when I switch seats with God.
Suppose your banker takes your money from your savings account to spend for their personal use. How is that going to go over? It’s not theirs to use in such a way and that’s how bankers end up in prison, right? God gives us money, and sometimes we act like the banker and squander the owner’s money. God owns all that we have and entrusts us to use it wisely for Him. Giving reminds me that God is the owner and I am the manager.
God wants me to give because it provides me with a way to be involved in God’s work. Christ chose to build His Church through people, and chose to fulfill His mission through the Church, and as a follower of Jesus my giving ought to reflect the character of Christ and help to fulfill His mission.
Kingdom Investor is my role. I give to God and to mission and vision and to the ministry that God wants to do through my local church. I give because God has chosen to work through our church body to effect change in our community. Our church is a platform and launch site from which we can better love our neighbors and impact lives. To the extent to which I don’t give, I hinder what God is asking us to do for the people that God loves.
That’s why I give.
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