Giving to the church. Hmmm. Someone may well say, “I’ve heard about pastors who embezzle and I’ve seen very wealthy pastors. I’m not so sure I like the idea of giving to the local church.” Just recently a South Korean pastor was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement. Stories like this cause people to be suspicious of giving to the church. Stories like this also cause good shepherds to not teach on giving because they do not want to be perceived as lovers of money. Both of these responses are harmful. The subject of giving belongs to the Lord! It doesn’t belong to those who steal.
In treating this topic we would be remiss if we didn’t first affirm a sound theology of the local church. First, the local church consists of a group of regenerate believers who gather together to worship the living God. They engage in gospel preaching and they administer the two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Second, the local church is bought by the very blood of Christ. He bought her, she belongs to him. This purchase underscores the value with which God holds the church. Third, the church is God’s plan for this age! He is encountering the world through his people. They preach the gospel to a lost and dying world. The church equips itself to more godliness. The church holds the keys to the kingdom and the church holds the oracles of God.
The church is not plan B. The church is it. Giving to the church is giving to the Lord!
Our passage in 1 Corinthians 16 tells us that the church gives regularly. On the first day of the week (Sunday) the believers took up a collection. We also see that church members gave as they were able. Each person is given a different allotment by God and therefore do not give the same amount. We read in 2 Corinthians 9 that God blesses those who give richly. We see that God loves a cheerful giver. God will personally see to it that those who give will be richly blessed by him.
From those passages we see that giving is regular, according to ability, and rewarded by God. What is conspicuously missing is a set amount of “required” giving. For this reason giving to the local church may seem nebulous. How much do I give? While there is no mandate we do find helpful guidelines in the OT. There we see Abraham (before the law) giving 10%. During the law God commanded his people to give 10%. So we see here a common denominator of giving 10% of one’s portion. Is it mandated in the NT, no! Is it a helpful starting point? Absolutely.
We want to be a generous and giving people. Giving our monies back to God is an expression of worship whereby we confess our need of him. Let’s be cheerful givers, let’s be abundant givers. God will not leave you a pauper for giving to him. He will richly reward you in ways you could never imagine. Trust him and give.
The passages for this message come from 1 Cor. 16:1-4, 2 Cor. 9:6-11. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.