Giving is an act of worship and the natural response of a thankful heart. Who we are, what we do, and how we use our resources are all connected.
Many people experience confusion, skepticism or mistrust when they consider giving money to a church, so we want to be as transparent as possible! We hope that the information provided here will answer your questions and communicate our beliefs and values about giving by providing a Biblical overview of the topic and how we apply those to our own lives today.
If you still have questions, we'd love to chat with you. Feel free to reach out to any of our Board Members any time (David Stark, Caleb Chou, Doug Dunlap). They would be happy to dialogue with you about our church's finances.
What does the Bible say about Giving?
First fruits, tithes and offering
The concept of first fruits is introduced in the book of Genesis. Cain and Abel present their offerings before God. Both bring gifts, but Abel's gift is the first and best of his stock and Cain's gift is not. God shows Abel favor and respect for his open-handedness. Giving first and consuming second affirms our understanding that God is the source of all we have.
Once the Law is introduced to the Israelites, we see that a tithe (ten percent) of one’s income was required to be given to the Lord at the place of worship. In contrast, an offering was something that was given beyond a person’s tithe. It was not a requirement of the Law but a voluntary gift of love to God.
Before God gave “the Law” through Moses
“...Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering... “ –Gen. 4:4
The Tithe: established in the Old Testament
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” –Lev. 27:30
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year...so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.”–Deut. 14:22-3
New Testament Giving
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He made it clear that generosity of heart was what pleased the Father, not only giving a tithe to follow the letter of the law. In the Book of Matthew, we see this in His rebuke of the religious leaders who were giving their 10%, but their hearts were not responsive to God. Legalism had blinded them to where their hearts were lacking.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices... But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matthew 23:23
In many instances, Jesus praised people for or commanded people to give everything they had (Matthew 19:21; Mark 12:43-44). In Acts, we also see many examples of the early church members giving “to anyone as he had need” (Acts 2:45). Throughout the remainder of the New Testament, believers are encouraged to give generously, not just to fulfill an obligation to the Law (2 Corinthians 8:7).
Giving today, as it always has been, is ultimately about worship and trust. When we generously give with the “first fruits” of our income, we are demonstrating that God has the first place in our lives. We honor Him by showing that we trust that He will continue to provide for us.
When we come into a relationship with God through Jesus, we come to understand that God is the source and provider of everything we have, which means that He owns it all! Therefore, we are not owners, but entrusted stewards. We are simply to act on His behalf to use what He’s given us in any way He asks.
Steward: a person who manages another's property or financial affairs
As we grow in our relationship with God, we discover that our security is in Him, not in what we have. Just as in the early church, we give our money in worship and as an expression of trust, not only out of legal duty but in response to His extravagant grace and provision for us.
When we give, we also receive
When we give as an act of worship and trust in God as our source, He is pleased with our trusting and cheerful hearts. And though He does not reward us for our giving, there are spiritual benefits for obedience in stewardship:
- Giving is the antidote to materialism.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
- Giving strengthens our faith.
When we see God provide for us as we give in the way He instructs us, our trust in him continues to increase.
- We understand God’s blessing comes through giving away what we have been given.
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
Instructions on Giving
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Remember that giving is a demonstration of faith and trust, not merely a legal obligation.
- Giving 10% to your local church is a good starting point (Malachi 3:10)
- Remember that the other 90% is God’s as well – be open to Him showing you other opportunities to give, such as special funds, other organizations, missions, or people you know in need.
- It’s best for our giving to be the first of what we receive. (Proverbs 3:9)
Where do I begin?
- Pray. Ask God how much He’d like you to give and where.
- A good rule of thumb is to decide on a percentage of your gross income to give, not just a dollar amount.
- Put giving into your monthly budget.
- To ensure faithful and generous giving, write your giving checks first when paying the bills. Or if you use an online bill pay system, schedule your giving payments before your other bills.