- It's my money. I earned it. If you have this mindset, you have a big problem. According to God's Word, it's not your money. If He is truly Lord of your life, then everything belongs to Him. He call us as believers to be wise managers of everything He has placed under our care. Part of being a good manager is being obedient in giving back to Him. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth... (Deuteronomy 8:18a).
- I am up to my ears in debt. I cannot give right now. OK, first question. Did God cause your debt problem or was it a result of poor financial management? My guess would be the latter. Why not take a different approach. Start living below your means. Get on a budget. Start giving something, anything that will start you down the path to generous living. Take on a second job to begin aggressively paying down your debt.
- I would like to give, but my spouse does not share my desire to give. This can be a huge challenge in a marriage. You really should be in agreement in all areas of your finances. So, first pray for your spouse that God will change their attitude towards giving. Second, give what you can from your own "walking around money." God will bless your willingness to give in a difficult situation, even if you can only give smaller amounts than you would like.
- I already tithe; that's all God requires me to give. If you are a tither, then great! You have graduated to first base in your giving. You've learned how to ride a bike with training wheels. Tithing is really just a starting point on the path of generosity. New Testament giving goes beyond the tithe. God wants all of us because He gave everything for us.
- Giving would be bad stewardship, if it chipped away at my investments; depleted my savings; or subjected me to tax liability. This is a lame excuse. If you have this thought process than you just don't understand what good stewardship is all about. Generous giving is the first step to being a good steward of all that God has blessed you with. Plus, God has a way of blessing the 90% (or less) that we have left over to manage. Remember, that God's math doesn't equal our math.
- I don't agree with how my church might spend the money. In His Word, God never put a prerequisite on our giving back to Him. He asks us to give back to Him through the vehicle of our local church where we attend. All of us, including our church leaders, are flawed human beings. Church leaders will make poor decisions. It's not our place to withhold our gifts. Be obedient and give back to the Lord. Let God deal with your church leaders because they will be held to an even higher standard on the day of judgment.
It's time for God's people to quit making lame excuses on giving. We need to stop living selfish lifestyles and living beyond our means. It's time that we learn Biblical principles on how to handle money God's way, including giving. Demonstrate your love and obedience to the Lord through your giving. For God so loved, that He gave... (John 3:16).
Do you ever find yourself using any of these excuses not to give?
Very good post. All good points. Giving is tough for most Christians. That is why fewer than 2.6% of us tithe.ReplyDelete
This is my first time to your site and am glad to see a blog on stewardship!
While I cannot argue with the principle in #6, I do disagree with the application. I would argue (am arguing?) that if our church is being poor stewards of the resources they have, we must re-evaluate the situation. As you mention, it does not negate our call to give, but we are responsible for where we are giving. If our church is not handling the money wisely, not only should we consider giving to the kingdom through other means but we ought to consider having a discussion with the pastor. I believe before we give anywhere, to the church or to a para-church ministry, we should ask some questions of the organization first. Some questions may be:
1. Is the church exercising wise stewardship over the funds entrusted to them?
2. Is the annual budget given to the congregation?
3. Are you comfortable wit the integrity of your leaders/officers?
4. Are there appropriate checks and balances in the handling of funds?
5. Has the church been effective in its ministry?
6. Do you support the church's mission and vision?
7. Do you have any concerns regarding the handling of the church's financial resources?
I am not encouraging stopping all giving to the church simply because they make decisions differently than the giver might, but do think we need to be mindful of how we're investing God's money in his kingdom. I am encouraging being serious about how and where we give because one day we will need to give an account.
Maybe we are in agreement and I read your post too critically? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Arthur - thanks so much for leaving a comment. The 2.6% statistic is incredible. Just imagine if 50% of God's people were financially free to give at least at the level of the tithe. Our churches could do so much more for the Kingdom.ReplyDelete
Sam - For the most part, I agree with your comments. In my post, I was primarily dealing with the principle and not necessarily the application. If people can't buy into their church's vision and mission, then they should probably move on to a place where they can embrace the vision. Unfortunately, I believe many believers like to use excuses not to give, but you are right - if the membership does not respect the pastor, staff, and the vision, then there are bigger problems that need to be addressed.