Living on God’s Economy
Giving is not a minor topic in Scripture. In fact, the word give in its various forms is used 2,162 times throughout the Bible—that is more than believe (271 times), prayer (268 times), and love (714 times) all combined!
Yet, in spite of the vast material on giving, many Christians respond to even the mention of the word by reaching for their wallets—to hold them tightly closed.
Does this response reflect a true lack of resources? Can we really not afford to give? Actually, the opposite is true—we can’t afford not to give.
Giving Meets Our Needs
God does not need our money, for He is the one who has given it to us! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
God does not command us to give to meet His needs—God has no needs. “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 50:10–12).
God commands us to give to meet our needs. More than we need any material goods, we need to know God as our Provider and Sustainer. Giving reminds us that everything we have comes from God, and it increases our awareness of our dependence on Him.
To meet our need to give, God has ordained a system in which He has voluntarily made His work dependent upon our giving. God could have set His work to perpetuate without monetary resources or to be supplied through other means than us, His people.
In God’s economic system, however, we, the givers, are truly the recipients. When we give, God blesses us with far greater blessings than we yielded.
Giving Points Us to Our Provider
Giving frees us from the belief that we are our own providers. Even the man who has earned every penny he owns by the sweat of his brow must acknowledge Who gave him the job, the opportunity, the ability, the health to work.
As someone once commented, “The trouble with some self-made men is that they worship their creator.” Giving to God is a tangible way of acknowledging that we are not self-made, that all we have comes from God.
Giving Teaches Us to Live by Faith
Obedience to God’s plan for giving forces us to live by faith, for faith is displayed by obedience.
The starting place for giving is found in Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse….” Tithing is such an important command to God that He warns us we are literally robbing Him when we hold back the tithe. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).
God made an incredible promise to the nation of Israel when He said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
Although we are now living in the “church age” or the “age of grace,” it is my conviction that a Christian would not give less under grace than the Old Testament saint did under the law.
Because God has prescribed a base proportion of ten percent, tithing is not truly giving; it is bringing God what already belongs to Him. Biblical giving begins when one gives above the tithe.
If there were no other reason to give, obedience would be a sufficient compelling factor. Yet God desires that we would not give out of obedience only, but also from hearts of love. When we thus give, we find the joy of living on God’s economy.