Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 29, 1970

How We Should Give

Billy W. Moore

Someone has said: "God's plan will work if we will work the plan." This, I believe, is true of all the plans of God, and so it must be true regarding God's plan to finance the work of the church. The matter of giving is a personal one, as is indicated by such expressions as "let every one of you. . . . lay by him in store.... as God has prospered him." (1 Cor. 16:2) We cannot make people give, and we should not use power or pressure to coerce people to give as we want them to. (I have known of this being done.) However, we can teach the principles of giving, show God's plan for giving, and encourage people to give accordingly. 1 believe we should teach our children the principles of giving when they have an allowance, whether it be of 25, or $1, or more, or in their early earnings. How happy I feel when my children earn money, or get their allowance and I see them lay back a goodly portion for their contribution. It makes me think that their mother and I have taught them well the principles that govern giving, and we believe that they will stay with them throughout life.

Our giving is made possible by individual enterprise. God's plan calls for every man to work. (I Thess. 4:11, 12; 2 Thess. 3:10; Eph. 4:28). The church is not to enter into some business enterprise to finance its work, but its work is financed by the money we make in our personal efforts. This is one of many differences between the individual and the church.

The Motive For Giving

The Lord's plan for giving involves motive. Without sufficient motive there will be no giving, or insufficient giving. Those of the world may often wonder: Why do you people give ten, fifteen or twenty-five percent of what you earn to the church? They do not have the motive for such giving. (Some of our brethren do not have such motives either, for they do not give to this extent.) What are the motives that prompt liberal giving?

1. A divine command. Jesus said: "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away." (Matt. 5:42) "Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. . ." (Luke 6:38) The Lord wants his disciples to give, not just the giving into a common treasury of the church on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1-2), but to be characterized by a willingness to give, a general attitude of liberality toward others, compassion to those in need, etc. And he assures that if you give "it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over..."

2. Giving makes us God-like. God has given to us, let us give unto Him and unto fellowmen. Just what is the example of God's giving? He gave sacrificially (John 3:16). He gives freely. (Rum. 8:32) He gives liberally. (James 1:5) He has given every thing we have. (James 1:17) If we follow the example of divine giving we must give sacrificially, freely, liberally, yea, we must give even our own selves to the Lord. (2 Cor. 8:5)

3. Our giving opens the way to the bounty of God's grace. We reap as we sow. If that sowing is bountiful, even so shall the reaping be bountiful. If we sow sparingly, the reaping shall likewise be sparingly. (Gal. 6:6-10; 2 Cor. 9:6) When we give it is given unto us. (Luke 6:38)

4. Giving is the means of laying up treasure in heaven. Your heart will never be set on going to heaven unless you have some treasure there, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matt. 6:21) I heard the story of the people of a small island making one of their men the king of the island for one day. This man was told that he could have his every with and desire granted for that one day. Instead of using the day for pleasure, asking all the people to bring him food, make him merry, etc., he put all the men to work moving things from that island to a nearby island, and after his day of reigning he went to that nearby island to live the rest of his life enjoying the things he had laid up over there. Well, in a sense that is what we are now doing. We are using our life to prepare for an eternity. Are we seeking just for the riches and pleasures of this life, or are we using this life to lay up for eternity? One old gentleman said, I have a place reserved in heaven for me, and it is not a vacant lot, for I have been sending treasures there every week for many years.

5. Our giving is a means of glorifying God. As a Christian I am to glorify God in my body and in my spirit, for both are His. (I Cor. 6:19) Whatever we do we should do to the glory of God. (I Cor. 10:31) The gift of brethren to the church at Jerusalem caused many to glorify God. (2 Cor. 9:12-13)

6. Because of the happiness it brings. 0, the joy of giving. Yes, it is true "it is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Many have never learned this. The other day I heard a slap-happy disc jockey say, "Someone is trying to get to us with this idea 'it is more blessed to give than to receive.' " He indicated that such an idea was completely foreign to his thinking. But the Lord knew. Never discourage anyone from giving, even if they give only "two mites," for they have the joy of giving. Truly, happiness is found in giving.

The Lord's Plan For Giving

The Lord has not only given the motives for liberal giving, but has also given a plan for giving. If we will work this plan, it will accomplish God's will. The New Testament plan for giving is set forth in I Corinthians 16:1- 2 and in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.

1. Regularly — "upon the first day of the week"

2. Personally -- "let every one of them .. "

3. Proportionately — "as God has prospered him"

4. Preventively — "that there be no gatherings. . "

5. Voluntarily — "not grudgingly nor of necessity"

6. Purposefully — "as he purposeth in his heart"

7. Confidently — "God is able to make all grace abound toward you. . . "

8. Cheerfully — "God loveth a cheerful giver"

How Much Should I Give?

Even though the Lord has supplied the motive and given the plan, still the question is asked, How much should I give? When this question is raised we invariably hear some one say, "We are not under the law, so we do not have to tithe." True, the law ended when Jesus died on the cross. (Eph. 2:12-16; Col. 2:14) However, tithing did not begin with the law of Moses. Those under the law were commanded go give the tithe, plus many freewill offerings, but the principle of tithing antedates the law by many centuries. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. (Heb. 7:4; Gen. 14:19-20) That was 400 years before the law was given. (Gal. 3:17) Jacob vowed to give a tenth unto God. (Gen. 28:20-22) Recall the night he had the dream and saw the ladder let down from heaven, and heard the Lord speaking unto him. Jacob was afraid and made a vow to the Lord. Evidently he could think of nothing that would be a stronger vow than to vow to give a tenth of all he ever possessed unto God, though at the time of the vow he had nothing. This was many years before the law was given. The conclusion is: there must have been teaching on tithing before the days of Abraham and Jacob, thus before the law. Under the law those who did not give the tithe were guilty of robbing God. (Mal. 3:8) When the law ended, and the new covenant was preached, those converted were taught to practice liberality. Consider the first converts: before their salvation they had been giving a tenth plus their free will offerings; after learning that Jesus was the Son of God, and through obedience to the gospel they were saved from their sins. Can you imagine those three thousand giving less than the tenth they had formerly given?

God wants us to give with liberality (Rom. 12:8, R.V.), but our giving must be with cheerfulness, not grudgingly or of necessity. If the New Testament set a certain percent which must be given, this would be a necessity and many would give it grudgingly. God does not want this kind of giving. However, the Old Testament, which was written for our learning (Rom. 15:4), teaches us how God wanted men to give if they pleased Him. Those who did not give a tithe did not please Him. Have we truly learned this lesson on giving? When someone asks me, How much should I give? I try to teach them these lessons, and encourage them to begin by giving at least ten percent and then move upward. No, I am not making a law of the tithe, but merely giving my advice about how to give so as to please God. Have you ever read of God expressing his pleasure of anyone's giving when they gave less than this? Will a man lose his soul for giving too much to the Lord and his cause? Could giving at least a tenth be giving too much? Can one lose his soul for giving too little?

How is your giving? Consider the motives for giving, and begin giving as God has prospered you. Don't lose your soul over a few hundred or thousand dollars.

Box 204, Butler, Mo. 64730