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Don'ts and Dos of Giving

Christian ministry is a volunteer-based, "user"-funded enterprise. This is similar to the ministry of Jesus who did not take payment for his services. As a result, the church in the New Testament encourages voluntary and sacrificial giving. This is based on the Old Testament pattern of tithing which was the giving of one-tenth of a person's resources.

Here are some don'ts and dos of giving.

Some Don'ts of Giving

1. Don’t give if we think that our giving is doing God a favor. Finite, fragile, and fickle beings don't do favors for infinite, omnipotent, and sovereign beings. Humans should be ecstatic for simply being existent.

2. Don’t give if we think that if we don’t give God‘s work will come to a standstill. Nothing can stop the work of God. History is full of mortal and immortal beings trying to stop God and thwart his plan. It didn't work then and it won't work now. In Acts 12, Herod killed James the disciple of Jesus hoping to shut down the work of God. Instead, poignantly, this is how that chapter ends:

Immediately an angel of the Lord struck (Herod) down,... he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied. (Acts 12:23, 24 ESV)

Nothing, including, not giving, can shut down the work of God.

3. Don’t give if we think that if we don’t give God‘s people will starve. God knows how to take care of his own. I come from a missionary family and know first-hand the miraculous provision of God. If humans don't cooperate with him, he has creation at his disposal.

And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook (1 Kings 17:6 ESV).

4. Don’t give if we don’t want our giving to hurt us. Giving that is not sacrificial or that does not cost anything is what we do to beggars, not to God. God gave us his all and wants us to give him our all, nothing else will do. We are fooling ourselves if we think that we can give a pittance to pacify God. (See Comfort Giving)

Some Dos of Giving

1. Do give knowing that God knows how to give and how to take away. Job came to this conclusion correctly, when the things he owned disappeared for a season. Of course, he was not privy to why his possessions disappeared and if they would come back, but his assessment of the fluidity of his possessions was accurate.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21 ESV).

2. Do give knowing that God gave first. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love for God and our giving to Him is only reciprocal to his love for us and giving to us.

3. Do give with gratitude because of what God has already given us. Everything that we have that is good is from God (James 1:10).

4. Do give to partner with God in His activities. God is moving and will complete his work.

he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6 ESV).

If we want to be a part of his work, it is in our best interest to do so. One of the ways to partner with God is by giving to God whatever we can.

5. Do give knowing that no matter how much we give we will never catch up with how much God has already given us. He has given us immeasurably more. Salvation through Jesus Christ is a gift that we will never be able to repay, no matter what we give, even if we give ourselves and everything we own.

For God so loved the world that he gave... (John 3:16).


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