By Sarah Frazer, Crosswalk.com
My oldest son is a very generous giver. When he was young, he would give away his toys to kids visiting, and then as a young teenager, he now is constantly buying things with his money for other people. My second son is more of a saver than a spender, so although he is kind and sweet, his heart isn’t quite bent on giving away material possessions. Instead, he gives of his time and resources. He would happily do something for you without complaining.
Giving Is Commanded
Giving, whether it is time, money, or other resources is a command that all Christians are called to obey (Psalm 37:21, Proverbs 11:25, Proverbs 18:12, Matthew 6:2, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 8:12). God does not give us the option of whether we are to give or not. How we give is not clearly spelled out for us in the Bible. So, let’s dive into some principles found there to determine when and to whom we should give.
God’s people are natural givers. In fact, after becoming full-time missionaries, my husband and I had no idea how giving the church of God could be! As we raised funds to move to the mission field, do you want to know the types of churches that gave the most to our ministry? It wasn’t the large churches with hundreds of people, two services, and big programs. It was the small country churches with faithful members who loved God. Those church people have been the most faithful and loving in their support of us.
Although giving is commanded and encouraged throughout the Bible, we live in a sinful world. If you are a faithful giver, then you are truly living out Jesus’ very commandments. But you might have been taken advantage of – so what do we do when people ask for more and more or when people misuse the money we give them? Let’s take a look at three questions we can answer to help us know how to give.
How Much Should You Give?
First, let’s talk about how much to give. When it comes to our resources, we do not have an endless supply of money, time, or other resources. Although God owns all things, He has given us a limited amount. A few things to remember is that we must care for our families before we give to others. Family is very important
In 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul warns Timothy not to overextend himself and that the family unit is not to be compromised. In the eyes of God, a man (or woman) who doesn’t care for his (or her) family is “worse than unbelievers.” If we are giving to the point that our family is suffering hunger or has no place to live we are not using our money wisely.
Most of us don’t struggle with this. It is natural to take care of those who are close to us, so we often give too little. Are you holding back your giving because of fear? One day last year my husband came to me and asked if we could consider giving to purchase a piece of equipment for our clinic here in Honduras. I’ll admit I was hesitant because we had been saving and this money would come out of that account. We prayed about it and the Lord convicted my heart. I couldn’t live in fear of the future and just save and save for the unknown when a need was standing right in front of me. Don’t let fear keep you from giving, even if people might take advantage. The next point will help us guard against those people.
When Should You Give?
Shouldn’t we be willing to give to everyone? I mean when we see a need, shouldn’t we jump right in and try to meet it? I’ve learned over the years that if you are always the one giving, no one else has the opportunity to do so. Every need is not yours to meet. Remember your limitations both financially and physically.
God can grant you wisdom as you pray about different projects or partnerships you are involved in. In our world today you will not ever need to search long for a great opportunity to give. As you prepare and move forward in your giving do some research.
First, evaluate if you have the extra money (most likely you do!). Next, ask yourself if there is a particular organization or cause that you can relate to in some way. Finally, make sure you are giving with the right heart attitude. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Don’t feel like you have to give to everything, and check your heart. Give from a willing and thankful heart.
Who Should You Give To?
When thinking of who (or what organization) to give to, think about two things. First, ask yourself does this person have transparency in how they are spending the money I am giving them? If you give to a ministry, church, or person but have no idea how they are using the money, you might rethink giving to them.
Second, is the person accountable to anyone? If you give to individuals this is hard, but doable. Money is called the “root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10) because it has the ability to corrupt. As you give, see if that person or ministry is accountable to anyone. Do they regularly explain, justify, and report their earnings? If so this will be a great place to give. If you find that no one can account for your money after you inquire about the use, then that should be a red flag. Every person and ministry needs to be accountable to someone else, especially when it comes to donations and money given to them.
Good Stewards of God’s Money
As we give let’s keep in mind that God desires that we be good stewards of our money. What is a steward? According to the dictionary definition, steward means anyone who takes care of another person’s property or finances. All money belongs to God and we are only stewards. None of our resources (even our time) is ours to use however we like. We are accountable to God for how we spent the money he has given us.
A steward manages the money properly without selfishness. The Bible teaches us a lot about good stewardship, but we can see that when it comes to giving we are even more accountable. So how do we continue to be good stewards of God’s money?
1. It is All God’s. We can treat money (and other resources) as God’s because they don’t belong to us. We are freer to give! When we view money as something God gives us, we are more willing to give but we are also more cautious about giving. When we know that God has entrusted us with a certain amount of money,
2. It is All for God’s Glory. When we give we are seeking to bless others, but also bring God glory. If we are giving because we want to look good, that is the wrong motive. Everything we do is for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), so our giving should be to give God glory.
3. It is All for God’s Glory to Spread the Gospel. What is the goal for every Christian? To share God’s great gospel with the world! If an organization is only providing physical help with no evangelism that might not be the best use of God’s money. If our giving is to enhance a ministry, may we be reminded that the gospel is key.
Let’s be givers who are rooted and grounded in wisdom and grace!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/vladans
Sarah E. Frazer is a writer, Bible study mentor, wife of Jason, and mother of five. With a background in missionary work, Sarah encourages the weary woman to find peace in Jesus. She is a regular contributor to the Proverbs 31 First 5 app writing team as well as a featured writer for Crosswalk.com. Her favorite place to hang out is Instagram at @sarah_e_frazer.