1. What is generosity?
Generosity is the natural, consistent, and occasionally spontaneous giving of our material possessions to God’s service and our communities because of and modeled after what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. As God “did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32), so our posture toward God and others in response to His love should be one of cheerful sacrifice and generosity.
2. What is stewardship?
A steward is a person who has been entrusted with, and manages, another’s resources according to the owner’s vision and values. Each of us was created for stewardship by God. (Genesis 1:28). A steward is both a ruler, with authority to govern resources, and a slave, accountable to an owner of those resources. The New Testament calls Christians caretakers of God’s truths and gifts – even “God’s grace” (1st Corinthians 4:1, 1st Peter 4:10).
3. What is the basis for the tithe?
In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income to the support of the ministry and the needs of the poor. The New Testament teaches that we should give as we are “able and even beyond [our] ability” (2nd Corinthians 8:3). Therefore, the tithe (10%) is seen as a kind of minimum guideline for giving.
4. Do I give 10% of my gross or net income?
Scripture teaches that we are to give back to God our “firstfruits” (Exodus 23:16, 19). Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to “honor the LORD with [our] wealth, with the firstfruits of [our] crops,” meaning the primary and choicest of our possessions. God has modeled “firstfruits” giving in offering us His Son Jesus Christ. Our response to God should reflect our love of and devotion to Him.
5. What if I am unable to give 10% right now?
There are seasons to our economic life. There are financial responsibilities to our families, friends, communities and, in some cases, creditors. In any stage of life, good planning is necessary to increase our giving over time without neglecting our legal and personal financial obligations. Further, for some people, 10% is too low a starting point. For others, giving even 5% is a sacrifice. The goal is to increase one’s commitment up to and above 10%, so that it models Christ’s love to our communities.
6. Should I give all of my tithe/offering to my local Church?
The answer to this is a qualified “no.” Your gift is an act of personal worship to God in response to His grace in your life and the gift of His Son. The allocation of your money and time to God’s service should be a byproduct of prayer and consultation with other Christians to whom you are accountable. However, if you consider a particular church to be your “home church,” you should consider allocating a significant portion of your tithe and offering to the community where you invest most of your time, and where others are investing in you.
7. Isn’t there more to generosity and stewardship than money?
We certainly must be good stewards of all that God has given us: money, time, skills, influence, and position. Therefore, generosity and stewardship are about much more than money, but not less than our financial resources. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Our heart’s inclination is to worship anything other then God. In a culture like the Anerican one we live in today, money can become an idol. Therefore, giving it away generously to God’s service can liberate us from our idolatry and fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).
God gives. No truth is more readily apparent in Scripture than the generosity, grace, and gifts of God. He delights in giving.
As those being conformed to the image of Christ, we should equally delight in giving. And it isn’t just giving in general that is expected; rather it is selfless and sacrificial giving that overflows from a heart responding to the generosity of the gospel.
If you can’t give cheerfully, give anyway (don’t compound your internal sin with external sin), but as you do, confess your struggle, seek clarity on the disconnect between your heart and the gospel, pray for joy, and walk in repentance.
The gospel of Jesus Christ compels us to give, confronting our fleshly tendencies toward greed, control, comfort, and convenience.
What if a raise or bonus at work provided an opportunity to further advance the gospel, give to the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give comfort to the needy, rather than just drive a newer car or buy a bigger house?