INDEX

You may find it helpful, before working through this study, to read:

"GOD'S PROMISES FOR FINANCE"

Money is a subject that we are all aware of and, when we look at the Bible, we find it is a subject that God has said rather a lot about. More than that, He has demonstrated through His actions that He is a giver. Indeed, He gave the very best that He had: His own Son, Jesus Christ. His word encourages us to follow His example. Some of its advice may be difficult to hear because it means having to change our old habits and learning to use money more wisely. (Mark 10:29-30) Nonetheless, if we are to live our lives with Jesus, some of our thoughts and attitudes are going to want to change.

1 Chronicles 29:8-9 clearly states what our attitudes should be regarding our financial situation: “Any who had... gave... the people rejoiced... they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.” Similarly today, those who live in God's kingdom must learn to give freely and without compulsion (with no wrong pressure). The underlying factor is that God knows our hearts and giving to God should always be a response of our hearts.

Men and women of faith give to please God and from a heart full of love. We give where and how the Holy Spirit leads. If He directs us to "sow" (invest) our talents, time, money, resources, energy or even life itself, we must do just that. The principle of "sowing and reaping" is the key to laying the foundation for a successful life in the future. (Mark 4:13)

Success regarding money should not be measured by the standards of the society or culture that surrounds us, but by the standards of the kingdom of God and His promises to us. He himself will give back to believers who give with faith and love. In fact, we get a fantastic return on what we have "planted" into good soil. Getting a reward is not to be our main motivation, but our concern should be for the increase of the kingdom of God here on earth. Matthew 6:33 tells us to: “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” We will not be disappointed. Our Father's promises are eternal. After all, how else is the good news about Jesus to be preached to every nation, unless Christians have resources at their disposal and are willing to give them away for God’s work?

Why give?

  • Jesus said: “Give to all who ask.” (Luke 6:30)
  • “As you received freely, give freely.” (Matthew 10:8)
  • “Give the people good to eat.” (Luke 9:13)
  • “Give - and it shall be given unto you.” (Luke 6:38)
  • “Give to the poor.” (Mark 14:7; Proverbs 19:17)

Jesus' example

Jesus gave His life so that we could have eternal life. In response, we are encouraged to:

  • Give abundantly. (2 Corinthians 9:6)
  • Give joyfully. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Give according to what we have. (2 Corinthians 8:12; Mark 12:43-44)
  • Give to spread the good news about Jesus. (Romans 10:14-15; Proverbs 17:8)
  • Give and you will receive. (Luke 6:38; Galatians 6:7)
  • Give to "open the way" for further blessing. (Proverbs 18:16)
  • Give to be just like our Father. (Matthew 7:11; John 14:27)
  • Give to open the door for God to work. (Malachi 3:10)

How to give

Giving is like planting seed. When seed is sown under the right conditions, it grows... always. God’s economy always works perfectly every time. If you sow in good soil - good seed with good water and light - you’re going to have good growth and a good return. So give cheerfully in faith, surround it with praise and worship and say: “Lord I bring my gift to You and I give myself to You - body, soul and spirit - as a living sacrifice”. Then pray over your specific seed, reminding God of His word regarding your situation. Fill it with faith then plant it in the place of His choosing. This will guarantee that it grows and warms the heart of the Father, becoming a blessing to the receiver and bringing an abundant harvest. Apple seeds give an apple harvest; money seeds give a financial harvest and love seeds give a love harvest. All our giving is an act of worship to God, because all we have belongs to God anyway. Giving shows Him who is Lord in our lives and demonstrates that we are living by His word as our priority. We cannot "out-give" God!

Actually, if Jesus is the Lord of our lives, then everything we have is His anyway. God our Father is as interested in what we keep as what we give!

Available resources

Scripture talks about at least five types of resource that we have and can give to our Father God.

  1. Our time. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  2. Our bodies. (Romans 12:1)
  3. Our possessions. (Luke 16:1-13)
  4. Our natural and spiritual gifts. (1 Peter 4:10)
  5. Our finances. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Our time

Using our time to the best effect is very important if we are to make the most of the days in which we live. Lost time cannot be regained. It cannot be repeated. We need to use our time to the glory of God and for the extension of His kingdom. It is spiritually beneficial to set ourselves goals in our daily walk with God, setting time aside for specific activities (such as prayer, bible study and listening) that keep us close to Him, day by day. This may mean cutting down on the amount of time that we spend on social media, watching television or following other leisure pursuits.

Our bodies

God wants us to lead healthy lives, maintaining a balance in the various things that we do and avoiding excess in any one area. (Mark 6:31) This means that anything that gets in the way of achieving a healthy lifestyle must go. Unbalanced diets, worry, indulgence through smoking, drinking or lack of exercise can all have a cumulative effect on our bodies, meaning that we are not as able to respond to God’s will for us as readily as we ought. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) So, there is no room for any excess.

Our possessions

Our possessions include our homes, furniture, clothes, cars, money in the bank, or any other article that we own. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) We should make every effort to live according to God’s economy, using our worldly wealth to bring glory to Him for the extension of His Kingdom. (1 Timothy 6:17 - Living Bible version) Our homes, in particular, should be open to being used by God. “We ought, therefore, to show hospitality to such people, so that we may work together for the truth.” (3 John:8)

Natural and spiritual gifts

Every good gift comes from God, whether it be a natural or spiritual gifting. (James 1:17) This includes things such as the ability to sing or play a musical instrument, to cook or produce arts and crafts, to manage resources and time, or to speak eloquently and be comfortable in a leadership role. It includes spiritual gifts of helping, healing, prophesying, speaking in tongues, pastoring or teaching. All these gifts, whether natural or spiritual, need to come under the lordship of Jesus to enhance His word and the extension of His kingdom. We must not take any glory for ourselves.

Finances

The Bible teaches us to give to God’s work. (See Malachi 3:7-12.) When we give on a regular basis to God's work, He responds by bringing to fruition His plans and purposes in our lives. We must understand the unique relationship between giving and receiving, remembering that we cannot out-give God. Giving to the work of God is a practical way of showing our love for Jesus. (1 Corinthians 13:3) He Himself taught us that "it is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)

In Matthew 6:19-21, it clearly shows us that "where our heart is, there our treasure will be also." If God has our heart, He also has our finances. Furthermore, any investment we make in God is eternal. (1 Timothy 6:17-19) We live in a world system where money counts, but many Christians have discovered that there is a different biblical principle that needs to be discovered and acted upon. (2 Corinthians 9:6; Luke 6:38)

In summary, we are to give to God:

  • With a cheerful heart and freely; (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • In proportion to our income and regularly; (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • Obediently; (2 Corinthians 9:13)
  • With a willing heart, not under any compulsion; (1 Chronicles 29:3-9)
  • Sacrificially. (Hebrews 13:16)

The biblical principle of giving is that we must give to God first.

Tithing

In the Old Testament, "tithing" meant giving a tenth of one's income to God. This was not a donation, so much as a recognition of what God had already given to the individual. It was an act of worship. Everything a person had belonged to the Lord and He had entrusted that person with ninety percent of it. The New Testament reiterates the principle of tithing, clearly stating that our giving should be made in the light of Jesus’ own giving. It cost Him everything. It was sacrificial. He offered up everything, even His own life to God for us.

Not to give to God is to rob Him and to deprive ourselves of God’s blessing. (Read Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:9-10.) We are accountable to God for everything we do with what God has given us. (Luke 12:48) The more resources, talents, and understanding that we have, the more we are responsible for using them effectively. Some of us are not in a position to tithe money to a church, but God's word says very clearly: "Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so there may be food in my body. 'Test me in this matter', says the Lord who rules over all, ‘to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.'" The "storehouse" is where we are fed spiritually and built up in our relationship with the Lord. Sad to say: a few churches are not feeding their people and are not "good soil" in which to plant our financial seed. However, we can give freely into the place that the Holy Spirit lays on our hearts and trust Him that He will use it to further His kingdom.

Jesus encourages us to ask our Father in heaven for the things that we require here on earth. (Luke 11:9-13) He is the best Father and is interested in every facet of our lives. It is not a matter of asking for our own self-interest or gain or self-indulgence. (See James 4:2-3.) It is simply a matter of having all that we need for the work that He requires of us - to bring about His will on this earth.

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)

Giving can be one of the most exciting parts of the Christian life as we plant seeds for God’s work in someone else’s life. We can see wonderful results in souls saved and people being blessed. We then realise that our own finances have increased - often from unexpected quarters - and we know that God is also blessing us.


Click on the button below to load the QUESTIONS for this study in a new browser tab. You can opt to print the question sheet or simply follow the questions and write down your answers in a notebook or a separate file on a computing device, such as a laptop or mobile 'phone.

QUESTIONS

INDEX