It’s powerful when we make the decision to partner with God in what He is doing through the local church. The defining mark or someone who is ready for this step is generosity. However, we often have to get past some misconceptions and realize:
Generosity is not something God wants FROM you, it is something He wants FOR you.
Generosity is the next step toward living life like Jesus. As we come to understand the reality of John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” – it changes us. We realize that we serve a very generous God who has given it all, for us. In response, our next step is to follow in His footsteps by intentionally being more generous in every area of our lives. This includes, but is not limited to, our time, our energy, and our finances.
It’s in taking this step that we communicate that we understand that “church” is not FOR ME. It’s not about satisfying our wants, desires, or preferences. We realize that as a part of “the church” or “the body of Christ” that we have a specific and special role to play. We commit to living our lives for God and others, rather than for myself.
Understandably, our time and our energy are easier for us to give than our money. Jesus knew that this would be the case, so He talked about our finances often. Here are some resources for you if you want to study further.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
When we give financially, we’re making a clear statement to God about who is the most important in our life. As we grow in our giving, we’re better able to understand who our stuff belongs to.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. 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.
Giving can easily become an area of legalism in our lives if we’re not careful. Meaning, we tend to give because we feel like we “have to.” This mentality isn’t healthy in any area of our lives, especially giving. The goal in all areas of spiritual discipline is to move past the expectation and into the depths of the relationship. You’ll notice that once you’ve given your tenth (tithe), you’ll have incredible opportunities to be generous. This is where giving becomes fun.