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In the Old Testament, the people of Israel tithed to support the priests of the Tabernacle and the temple (2 Chronicles 31:5) and was always an act of worship. They generally tithed around 23% of their earnings. However, in the New Testament we are never told to tithe, but are called to give to support the church and the extension of the kingdom.
Who should give?
The church should never be seen as an institution that is simply out for people’s money. The call to give therefore, is resolved for believers. Giving is reserved for those who can give willingly and joyfully in response to God gifting his Son. Those that have not received Christ should not feel compelled to give. If we don’t have an understanding of the Gospel, we can easily be led to believe that giving grants us some merit or earns us God’s favour. This is simply not the case.
why should we give?
God gifted us his Son and we give to God in response to this as an act of worship but ceases to be worship when we are compelled to give out of incorrect motives. Wrong motives include some of the following:
- Pride – giving to be honoured by others is an example of giving from pride. Giving should always be done in secret (Matt. 6:1-4) between the giver and God. We should not tell others how much we are giving
- Guilt – sometimes we guilt for having and give in response to this. Many churches prey on these and motivate giving from guilt, but this should never be our motivation to give. Although we do need to be good stewards of what God gives us.
- Greed – many prosperity preachers motivate people to give so that they can get more in return. Jesus never promises that if we give, God will give us more in return. Giving is solely an act of worship.
- Power – sometimes people us their gifts to gain standing in the church. Money may be power in the world, but this is not true of the church. It’s wrong to show favour to the rich (James 2:1-9) or use money to buy spiritual influence (Acts 8:18-24).
Giving should never be done from wrong motives. We give simply in response to the gospel. We give because God has gifted us with his Son. God supplied his Son for us so that we can be saved and has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (James 1:17; Eph 1:3) and anything we have comes from him (1 Tim 6:17). God has given to us in abundance. We give because we want to please God by our act of worship. Giving is recognizing that all we have comes from God and we now want to give back to him as an item of praise and thanksgiving. When we give in this way, we are motivated to give cheerfully.