Why do Christians give?
The Old Testament tells the people of God that they should be giving 10% of their income in thanksgiving back to God. It was a normal part of religious ritual, and the gifts went to the priests and to the poor (Leviticus 27:30 & 34 and Deuteronomy 26: 1-11).
The New Testament does not give a strict instruction for Christians to give a specific amount of money back to the church. Jesus said, “When you give…” not “if”. The difference between tithing and Christian giving is not one of percentages; rather it is a question of heart.
How should we give?
The New Testament promises that we are sons and daughters of the living and loving God. God wants us to be living, loving, caring and committed children who are ever growing in God’s likeness in a relationship built upon love.
Love is expressed in some way spontaneously from the heart. The Lord is kind, gracious, generous and often surprises us with gifts, and so this is what God wants us to be like in our giving.
There are of course more things we can all give than simply money and goods. A few examples of what we can give are our time, our strength and our prayers, but there are many more. The way we give is as important as what we give.
However, we must not avoid the fact that one of the ways in which we should give is quite simply giving our money. When we give our gifts we should give:
- cheerfully and willingly (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- secretly (Matthew 6:1-4)
- generously and unselfishly (2 Corinthians 9:6)
- unconditionally (Luke 17:10)
Christian giving is sacrificial giving
We give as a response to God’s sacrificial giving in Jesus Christ (John 3: 16). Our giving to God for the work of his Church should be a priority in our personal spending, as it was for the Israelites who were expected to bring the ‘first fruits’ to God.
As some of us have much larger incomes than others, our offering should be a proportion of our income, rather than a fixed sum of money. If our offering is truly a response to God’s giving to us, it will be a generous, even sacrificial, proportion of our income (Psalm 116: 12).
To whom should we give?
The New Testament says we should be giving to
- the poor
- Christians in need
- the work of the Gospel – outreach and mission
What does that mean for us?
It is sensible for us to review our giving annually. We need to consider how much we give financially to our church, and how much we as a church give to those who are in need.
As you review your own giving to the church, and if you don’t already do so, consider giving weekly through the envelope scheme. If you pay tax on your income, always use Gift Aid so that we can reclaim tax. Some employers also allow you give directly from your pay. For more information please contact our Treasurer, Tim Bradbury.
A task group meets to think about how our church gives money from the regular giving, and to what causes. This year they have advised the PCC to give to Water Aid and to the Great North Air Ambulance.