Churches often get a lot of slack for being greedy organisations. In the world’s eyes, they have a reputation for scrounging money off members to buy fancy new buildings or flash cars for the pastor.
In some cases, this is sadly true, and historically, a lot of exploitation has been done in the name of God and the Church. But this, I can assure you, is not God’s heart. Christians are called to be a generous and giving people because of the generosity that has been shown to us by God, the ultimate Giver (James 1:17).
We can be generous within our families and our friendships, within society and our community by supporting a range of causes and charities. We can also express our generosity through giving to the church. But why should we?
- God is a giver
As Christians, one of our primary aims is to be more like God, and He is big on giving. God gave us everything, all our many blessings, as well as the greatest gift of all – love, grace and salvation through His Son, Jesus! It follows then, that we should be givers too. Being generous with everything we have is a both a result of and a reminder of the fact that everything we have is a gift from God anyway – it helps to keep our hearts humble. (It’s also important to be a good steward of what we have been given, by being responsible and prayerful with our giving.)
- Church costs
Simply put, it costs money to run a church. Things like electricity, building hire to resources for the youth and children. As a member of your church, part of your belonging is contributing financially. Like a family, it’s like putting something towards living costs at home. You can give through doing chores or housework, but often as you get older, you can contribute with your money.
If you are in a church that has its priorities in order, it will be made clear that they’re not after your money for selfish gain but rather your giving will go towards the advancement of the gospel; the discipleship and care of church members; outreach and love to the community; and care for people who are poor and needy, in both direct and indirect ways. How awesome would it be if people in need in your community were looking for practical support and were able to find it at your church…and even more awesome is the possibility that it could lead them to have an encounter with God! That’s the call for the local Church and your giving makes that a possibility.
- It’s part of our worship
Worship isn’t only about singing songs; it’s about our whole life. Our giving is an offering to God, who has given freely to us (Matthew 10:18). As an act of worship, our giving should be a free, unrestricted and true response to God, and to His goodness in our lives. The way we handle our money, which is a gift, shows honour and respect to God who gives it to us.
Some tips on giving:
- If you aren’t happy with the way money is handled at your church, chat to God about it and then have a serious talk with a trusted mentor or mature friend outside your church (write to us at GGF if you need!)
- If you want to give but don’t think you can, pray about it, and don’t feel bad about starting small. It’s all about your heart. Jesus appreciated the widow who gave a heartfelt offering of just two coins more than the rich man who flippantly gave loads!
- If you are struggling to give and be generous, that’s okay. Take some time to think on the generosity of God. Find some scriptures which talk about all He has given to us and let them marinate in your heart. God doesn’t want us to give reluctantly or out of obligation (2 Corinthians 9:7). Ask Him for a deeper understanding of His generosity towards you.