Another letter relating some of the information I’m learning from Ron Blue and Kingdom Advisors. The module I’m currently going through is on Giving, both as a general element of life and also how we as financial advisors can help our clients give more. Ron Blue talks about the five reasons why we should give money.
- Obedience – God tells us to give. A separate letter at another time will talk about the difference between Old Testament tithing and New Testament giving, but suffice to say for now, the Bible tells us we are to give our money away. Paul instructs believers to set aside money on the first day of the week (1 Corin 16.2), and the Proverbs tell us we are to give our first fruits of our possessions (Prov 3.9-10 among others). Paul also admonishes us to work hard so that we can have something to give to those who are in need (Eph 4.28).
- Rewards – A byproduct of giving is the reward(s) we get from doing it. Philippians 4.17 speaks of the fruit that comes from giving, and Jesus says that if we give, it will be given to us so much that it will run over and be poured into our lap (Luke 6.38).
- Recognition of God’s ownership – When we give money away, we are recognizing that God does indeed own it all (1 Chronicles 29.11-12, 1 Corin 10.26, Psalm 24.1). All we are to do is manage it for him, and not keep it all for ourselves. We are also communicating trust when we give money away, trusting that God will still meet our needs.
- Gain an eternal perspective – This statement is twofold: 1, we need to recognize that God is in control, not us, and 2, the treasures that we store up aren’t necessarily supposed to be in our bank accounts. There is a saying that you can’t take anything with you to heaven, but you can send it ahead. Jesus again talks about us being trustworthy with worldly wealth, and if we are found worthy, being entrusted with true riches, and riches of our own (Luke 16.11-13). Giving away earthly possessions is an indicator of our paradigm that there is more to this world than the treasures we’re entrusted with. Similar to training for a sport in that we repeat certain exercises to gain a certain physique or condition, giving money away helps us train to realize we’re truly not dependent on the cashflow that runs through our hands. God is – and He’s the one who is going to take care of us.
- Love – We are to give because we love others. Part of our giving/tithing plan as a family is having money to give spontaneously to those we see in need. 1 John 3.17 talks about a brother seeing another brother in need, and John asks the question that if that brother who has giving capacity chooses not to give, how can the love of God abide in him? Where is the compassion that Jesus displayed for the world? It needs to be living and flowing through us. This is the ultimate reason of why we are to give.
I encourage you, Jack, to develop a giving/tithing plan. It is something Lydia and I are working on putting into writing, because God wants us to be intentional with giving. Ron Blue says that “Stewardship is the only aspect of Christianity that cannot be faked,” and I completely agree. The Church is in sad shape when it comes to giving – The Barna Group estimates that 37% of those who go to church regularly give $0. In the 1990’s, a time of great economic growth, evangelical giving fell from 6.38% to 4.08% of income. And circling back to those who to give to the church, only 3-5% give at least 10%. It’s a sad story – and I feel God is holding back flood waters of blessing if we only choose to give more. So I admonish you to give freely, give joyously, and give intentionally. Till next time, Jack.