This is part of a 12-week series designed around some basic Christian disciplines that will propel you to spiritual growth!
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Welcome back to beginnings and our spiritual journey of Christian discipleship!
This week we approach the discipline of giving, or as some call it, tithing.
Your first question might be, is giving a discipline? Yes, because it’s not about money, it’s about the heart.
According to Bible scholar John MacArthur, “Sixteen out of [thirty-eight] of Christ’s parables deal with money; more is said in the New Testament about money than [about] heaven and hell combined; five times more is said about money than [about] prayer; and while there are 500 plus verses on both prayer and faith, there are over 2,000 verses dealing with money and possessions.”
All of that should reinforce the notion that each time the Bible speaks of giving, it’s not focusing on money. It’s focusing on the heart.
Matthew 6:21 says,”For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
To make the above verse makes sense, just reverse it in practice: if you have trouble caring about something… invest in it. You will be amazed how suddenly it becomes important to you.
Here are some quick study points regarding money from a biblical perspective:
- Money is not evil – 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
- Money can be a distraction – Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- Money can be a blessing – Acts 2:44-45 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
- Money should not control you – 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
- Money is serious to God – Malachi 3:8 “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
So what do we do? If you’ve decided that giving is a spiritual discipline to be added to your life, what comes next? Here are three suggestions to get you going:
- Start Somewhere – 10% (also known as the tithe) maybe the best practice spiritually, but the reality of our financial situations often does not allow for that kind of obedience. So, until we get ourselves to a financial place of obedience through discipline in spending and good stewardship decision-making, the goal should be to start somewhere. Simply waiting until things get better is a procrastination technique that means you will never start.
- Be Sacrificial – wherever you begin your bringing/giving journey, it should be sacrificial. The point of making an offering is that it is a sacrifice. Sacrifice means your life should somehow be required to adjust, and that alone will help you continue to remember God, who has provided for you.
- Be Consistent – the key to any discipline is to be consistent in its practice. Scriptures teach in 1 Corinthians 16 that the earliest disciples made giving a weekly practice.
I hope this encourages you to adopt deeper and deeper levels of discipleship in your life. Don’t forget to listen to the podcast for more content than this article, and follow-up with the next steps listed below!\
Seeking more of Him and less of me,
Pastor, CrossPoint Church