UNDERSTANDING GIVING BIBLICALLY (PART XIII)
By Akin Ojumu
Stridently, the proponents of New Testament tithing assert that you haven’t given to God until you've dropped your wad of cash in the offering basket. In their eyes, what qualifies as giving to God is a contribution to a denomination. Money brought to the man of God is money brought to God Himself, they insist. Giving to the poor, they would have us believe, brings about only penury.
This habitual dalliances with scriptural inaccuracies and outright deception have long been central to the modus operandi of advocates of modern-day tithing. The constant deployment of spiritual hyperbole is how these leeches continue to suck money from the ignorant masses to enrich themselves. They effectively employ this time-tested scare tactic to amass great wealth and build temporal empires which they then pass on to their offspring at their demise. It is all a scam.
Regardless of his size and stature, a man of God who dismisses your acts of charity and tells you that giving to those in need doesn't count as giving to God is either ignorant of what the Word of God says about giving or he’s lying to you just to get you to fund his lavish lifestyle. Pay no heed to such.
Matthew 25:34-40 – “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
Every act of kindness, charity, and generosity done to the benefit of any of God’s creation is an act done to God. Whenever and whatever you give to your neighbor in need, you give to God. This is Scripture.
We conclude this commentary by discussing the remaining 5 principles of giving stipulated in the Bible.
Principle 6: Giving is to be in Response to Need
Acts 2:44-46 – “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity.”
Giving in the New Testament is to be a response to need. There were Christians at the time of Pentecost that had need. The believers sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need.
We read in Acts 11:27-30 that there was a famine and the saints collected money to take to the people who were in the famine. And there was no stipulated amount. It was a need-based giving. If anyone comes along with a need, and you are able, you meet their need cheerfully and thankfully.
Principle 7: Giving is to Demonstrate Love and not Law
2 Corinthians 8:8-9 – “I speak not by commandments, but by occasion of the earnestness of others and to prove the sincerity of your love.”
There is no legalism in New Testament giving. There is never a prescribed percentage that a Christian is required to give. I speak not by commandments. I'm telling you all this information not by way of a command, but simply as a test of your love.
Giving is a test and demonstration of your love. It is not done grudgingly, out of necessity or legalism. Whenever you put a prescription on giving, you impose a law on people to abide by rather than love, and you’ve robbed them of the joy of giving.
Principle 8: Giving is to be Planned
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 – “Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.”
Giving is to be done systematically, proportionately, and faithfully as you purpose in your heart. Plan, pray, prepare and give. Not haphazardly and not in response to emotional appeal, guilt trips, or manipulation.
Principle 9: Giving is to be Generous
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 – “Remember this, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
Giving is to be generous, sacrificial.
Philippians 4:10 – “How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.”
Paul’s needs were met by the generosity of the various churches.
Principle 10: Giving Generously results in Blessing
2 Corinthians 9: 6-8 – “You sow bountifully, you reap bountifully. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you that you always having all sufficiency and all things may abound to every good work. You'll have bread for your food, your seed will multiply, the fruit of your righteousness will increase. You will be enriched in everything to all bountifulness.”
You sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully.
Enough of the deceit and manipulation. The right thing to do in the area of giving is to teach the truth of the Word of God and then leave it to the Spirit of God to generate the response along with all the rest of the fruits of spirituality. Teach the Word of God sincerely, and the Spirit of God will produce in people the kind of giving commensurate with the kind of life.
When we set out at the start of this commentary 14 days ago, our goal was not only to educate, enlighten, and enrich the readers. We also wanted to evoke, invoke, and provoke. The intent is to kindle a fire of desire for the Bible, the sole source of all truth. As we come to the end of this commentary, it’s our hope we were able to accomplish all those objectives.