By Matt Dawson
The theme of this blog is – KEEP IT SIMPLE!
The truth is, many folks feel like they are BRAND NEW to the idea of tithing to a local church and giving to non-profits. My goal today is to help provide you with some basics. I’ll continue to keep the inspiration on Sundays – but today it’s practical, practical, practical.
(2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-7) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Paul was writing this to the church. It was his way of helping people remember and understand the importance of giving as well as HOW to give. With this verse in mind, let me walk you through THREE simple steps to start participating in GIVING.
1. It’s A CHOICE. Make Sure You Know WHY You’re Doing It.
Anytime we do something out of habit or obligation, we lose the WHY behind our actions. Paul starts off this section by saying “remember…” It’s important to remember the SYSTEM God has put in place FOR OUR GOOD. When we want God actively involved in our finances, we have to OBEY and RESPOND to the system He created. Tithes & Offerings is how we actively CHOOSE to let God do something supernatural in our finances. But it is always a choice. If we want to REAP generously the BLESSING (please refer to our sermons on how we define blessing) of God, we need to SOW GENEROUSLY into His kingdom.
2. PRE-DECIDE How Much You’re Going to Consistently Give.
I tell people to follow the THREE P’s of giving to help you pre-decide what to consistently give when it comes to tithe and offerings. Make it a PRIORITY (It’s the FIRST THING you do, every time). Pick a PERCENTAGE (start wherever you can). Make it PROGRESSIVE (your percentage is just where you start – I’ve moved past 10% and continue to challenge myself to raise that percentage). Generous people are NOT EMOTIONALLY MANIPULATED when it comes to money because they’ve already pre-decided to give back and be generous.
3.Give out of Gratitude (JOY)
Is it 10%? Is it before or after tax? Do I tithe on tax money? Does it all have to go to my church? Can I use some of my tithe to help with missions trips and offerings? These are many of the debates that happen in Christian circles that people use to make GIVING COMPLEX. I refuse to enter into these debates with people. God wants a CHEERFUL GIVER.
Here’s my basic opinion based off of what I read in scripture.
“The tithe is a tenth of our resources (money) and should be our first fruits (gross before tax). Missions giving, sponsorships, building campaigns, and benevolence are offerings above and beyond our tithe.”
Because I view my Tithes and Offerings as a way of GIVING BACK TO GOD in proportion to HOW GOD HAS BLESSED me and my family – my giving comes from a place of Gratitude and Joy!
I hope that this has been a simple way of helping you practically move to a place of GIVING in your life. Make the Choice, Pre-Decide, and keep Gratitude front and center.