Giving is one of those topics I believe every Christian secretly hates to discuss. Whether we like it or not, money will always play a major part in our daily lives, and between the mortgages, student loans, car repairs, and grocery bills, it can be frustrating to learn that God wants a cut of our ever-diminishing paycheck. What makes the issue of giving even more contentious is the fact that our situation in life is always changing. What do you do when you’re finally within reach of that vacation you’ve been working toward all year? How much should you tithe now that your small business is finally taking off? Above all, how do you give when you don’t make much money?
Todd Dekruyter, of Relevant Magazine, believes Christians need to reconsider their definitions of wealth. In his latest column, Dekruyter encouraged his readers to look past “giving” as simply a code word for money. Though the Bible does call believers to tithe regularly, Christian service can leave a greater impact for the Kingdom of God. Dekruyter writes,
“In addition to giving to your local church, there are many opportunities to make an impact on the community around you. Global missions. Local schools. Crisis pregnancy centers. Children in poverty. Struggling single moms. Refugees fleeing conflict. It’s easy to look at all the needs and opportunities in the world and say, ‘I can’t do it all. I can’t take on this many issues…’”
“God gives each of us individual burdens for specific needs of the Church and the world. Think about your purpose, about the needs and issues that move you to tears. Visualize them. What if there were only three, maybe four, things you could say with your life? Would you want those things to be said on accident, or would you want to pick the ones to be said? Use those priorities to focus your giving.”
Scripture tells us that, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 23:23). For those of us who don’t possess ample wealth, our time may also be used as an offering.
Recently, my home Church spearheaded a movement to get more involved in the local community. One way they pursued this was by volunteering to clean up local parks which had fallen into disrepair. I can still remember the wave of pride I felt when forty members of my congregation showed up to clear trash and rake leaves. Later, the same group organized volunteers to assist in a local homeless outreach event, and after that, they collected supplies for refugee families who had just moved to the area. Dekruyter is right, Christian charity leaves an impact.
I think the reason so many Christians hate the idea of giving is because we can never see past ourselves. Either we only visualize the vacation we didn’t make, the house we can’t afford, or we grow ashamed at our own poverty. We tell ourselves God is displeased with our paltry gifts. Both outlooks skew the true message of Christ. So whenever doubt strikes your heart, read the words of Matthew 25 and remember how God views your giving,
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ‘Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
What about you? What are your thoughts on generosity and tithing? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!
(Image courtesy of Thinkstock/SIAATH)
**Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com