Biblical Principles for Giving Financial Resources
The Bible has a great deal to say about money; our attitude to it and what we do with it.
In reaction to God’s grace
God has shown his great love for sinful and unworthy people like us in the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Having received such undeserved generosity, we should be motivated to give generously in response. We are to be like God – ready, not reluctant givers, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
In recognition of God’s gifts
Giving is, of course, not limited to financial giving. God has given us all we need to give generously but not all of us can give financially. God wants us to be generous not just with our money but with our time, energy, skills, property and homes. If we have received God’s abundant grace then we all have something to give generously. Sometimes these other things are harder to give than money. Look at our page about talents for more on this.
In response to needs and priorities
Paul encourages the Corinthian Christians to give generously to a collection for other Christians in great poverty. God’s priorities are that his people should come first in our giving: those who teach the word of God (1 Timothy 5:17), those in need in our church (James 1:27, 1 Timothy 5:8ff) and those in need in other churches (2 Corinthians 8:13-15). The needs may be local (e.g. the ministry in this benefice) or further afield (in the UK or abroad).
How to give?
Paul stresses the abundant nature of God’s giving towards us so that we may give abundantly in response, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”. (2 Corinthians 9:8) The Old Testament commanded a tithe (10% of income). The New Testament is far more radical – we are to be generous givers of all we have. Some will give far more than 10% of their income, others less.
Each person should give what they have decided in their heart to give. We need to think carefully about what resources we have been given, what our responsibilities are and how we can give money in the most effective way. Many find budgeting a helpful way to ensure they are wise stewards with their income. A regular gift (e.g. via a bank standing order) is not only convenient and useful for personal budgeting; it is extremely helpful for the church in terms of planning.
God loves a cheerful giver. It’s easy to give for the wrong reasons – to relieve our guilt, to avoid other avenues of Christian service, to be seen to be generous by others, etc. Paul tells us that God loves a joyful and big-hearted response to all that he has lavished on us.
Adapted from a document produced by St Helen’s, Bishopsgate.