Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Why we give
JESUS SAID THAT IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE.
Our modern world does not believe that. If we are honest, more often that not, we also think Jesus has made a mistake. How can it make you happier to give than to get? Can it really be true that giving will lead to happiness? Jesus would emphatically say ‘YES!’ If that is a shock then here comes an even bigger one: Jesus wants His followers to be rich! Jesus is absolutely clear that as Christians, we should store up for ourselves treasure. But, and it’s a huge ‘BUT’, the key issue for Jesus, is where we store up this treasure. To get rich in this life or to attempt to store up treasure in this world is rank stupidity according to Jesus. The reason for this is that this world and everything in it is doomed to destruction. And even if that does not happen in our lifetime, we are certainly going to die and just as we brought nothing into this world, we will most definitely take nothing with us. So, storing up wealth in this world is foolish. Not only is this world passing, but Jesus taught that wherever our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. Do we really want our hearts to be tied to a world that lies under God’s wrath? If we love money, how will we ever love God? We cannot serve both. Either our Christian life will be the most important thing to us, or, sadly, our work and career will be the most important thing to us. For these two reasons we are commanded by Jesus to store up for ourselves treasure in heaven. That will mean that we will never lose it because moth, thief and rust can never take it from us.
And secondly, it means that our hearts will be in heaven where Christ is – which is where the Christian’s true home is. With this in mind we encourage regulars at our Church to give sacrificially, generously and cheerfully to the Church.
In the Bible we are given good reasons to give. At this point please read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 where Paul specifically addresses giving. Here are some (amongst other) good reasons to give:
- Everything belongs to God. The fact of the matter is that your money belongs to God anyway. He can at any time that pleases Him, take it all away. By giving we acknowledge His rightful claim to be the Sovereign Ruler and Owner of everything. To refrain from giving is tantamount to rejecting His Lordship.
- Giving is truly a privilege. To be able to serve God in this way is a privilege that only people to whom God has given can share in. There are many Christians who do not have anything. They are not able to give even if they wanted to. We, who are able to give are in a privileged position.
- Giving shows a true grasp of the gospel. The person who truly comprehends the amazing fact that Christ gave up the riches of heaven and became poor for our sakes in order to make us spiritually rich beyond our imagination will never slack in giving.
- Giving shows that we are grateful. After all that God has done for us, to not give shows such ingratitude that borders on rebellion.
- Giving weans us off selfishness and promotes godliness. The truth of the matter is that we waste so much on our pleasures and frivolous pursuits. Giving is an act of self-discipline that curbs our natural bent towards self-gratification.
- Giving causes others to praise God. In Corinthians Paul explains that just as Christ’s sacrifice gives people reason to praise God, so people will praise God for the Corinthian’s giving. This is because your giving enables the preaching and teaching of the word to take place. How else will people praise God unless they are saved? And how else will they be saved unless they are evangelised and the gospel is preached? And that can only happen through giving.
- Giving makes us partners with Jesus! God’s aim on earth is to bring all things under the headship of Jesus Christ. By giving to the local church we partner Jesus in His mission to grow His people both in numbers (evangelism) and in maturity (godliness) through the preaching of the word.
How much must we give?
The Bible commands every Christian to give, but does not tell us how much to give. In the Old Testament the amount was 10% (and even then this was not the final amount because there were various other offerings etc). The 10% rule was specifically under the Mosaic covenant for the upkeep of the Temple, sustenance of the Levitical priesthood and the ongoing Levitical sacrifices. We are no longer under the Old Covenant and the 10% rule, though still a good guide is not mandatory. The key principle is the attitude of the heart. Whatever we give, provided we give it with the right attitude, will be acceptable to God. The attitude that God accepts is cheerful, generous and sacrificial giving.
- To give cheerfully means to give not out of compulsion but out of willingness. The heart that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit will show the fruit of joy – especially as we grasp how wide and how and long and deep the love of God is for us. In response to this great love we give happily not reluctantly.
- We give generously. Paul says that the Corinthians were ‘rich in generosity’ despite suffering severe trial and extreme poverty themselves! Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, not one of you who gives a cup of water to these because they are my diciples will lose his reward in heaven’. If this applies to something as little as a cup of water, how much more will He reward those who give generously!
- We give sacrificially. This is the true difference between Christian and non-Christian giving. Non-Christians also may give cheerfully and generously to various charities but very seldom do they give sacrificially. Sacrificial giving means deliberately giving up something in order to give more. Our capitalist society that is based on rampant materialism tempts us through brilliant marketing to waste our money on a million meaningless things. Giving sacrificially is God’s way of escape from the world and its temptations. What this means is that we give not with what we have left over after spending our money on whatever pleases us, but, by holding back on things we could otherwise have had we save money in order to give. Sacrificial giving means giving where we don’t have money. It means deliberately foregoing pleasures in this world in order to give. For example, God may have put us in a position to buy the most expensive car on the market. We may deliberately forego that car and in its place buy another cheaper car, which is nearly as luxurious, but instead gives us the opportunity to be able to give more to the Kingdom. Another person may decide to give up Foxtel and instead pay that monthly subscription into our Missions Fund. Either way, Jesus gives us the ultimate example of sacrificial giving when He hung on the cross-abandoned by God in order to win for us riches in heaven that we cannot even begin to imagine.
How do we give?
At the end of his first letter to the Corinthians Paul gives some practical advice on how we should give. He says, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” Jesus also taught that when we give we should do so in secret, not letting the left hand no what the right hand is doing. With this in mind we should follow the following principles:
- ‘In keeping with his income’. This means we must plan our giving. Depending what we earn we determine what we need to live on and then set aside the amount we intend giving. Collections traditionally taken at church are a very poor way of doing this because very few of us get paid weekly. Collections encourage unplanned haphazard giving (usually with the money left over after the Sunday Newspaper). Our giving should be consistent and planned. If we earn monthly we should give monthly. If we earn weekly we should give weekly. This kind of giving is also an enormous help to those responsible for spending money so that they can budget the Church finances properly and thus manage God’s household responsibly and wisely. Planned giving also teaches us that our salaries belong to God and the fact that we can work and earn money is a gift from Him.
- ‘Saving it up … no collections will have to be made.’ Again this confirms that we plan our giving and don’t give on the spur of the moment. This text does not prohibit the taking of collections in Church, but it does point away from it. 3. The best way of ensuring that our giving remains a private matter between us and God is to give privately. We therefore encourage giving via debit orders/stop orders or electronic transfers rather than collections at Church. There is no denying that the traditional way of taking a collection at Church allows people to see who gives and who does not. This is unfortunate and not the best way of listening to Jesus’ words about the secrecy of giving.
Who must we give to and who must give?
The Biblical principle is that every follower of Jesus Christ must give to the local Church where they are part of the family of God. Whether we give 1 or 2000 dollars a month is irrelevant – the key thing is that we must all give. Of course, we can decide to give outside the Church to charities or missionaries or para-Church organisations. This is good but must never replace our primary responsibility of giving to our local Church. In any event, our involvement in our local Church will give us opportunity to influence the decision of the Church in regard to where to spend money given for Gospel work because the Church also will want to give outside of itself to causes that advance the gospel.
What should I do now?
- Sit down (with your wife/husband if needs be) and work out your finances.
- Pray about what to give.
- Decide the amount you are going to give.
- Determine to give this amount in accordance with how you earn, either weekly or monthly.
- Give what you have decided by either writing a cheque each month, or, depositing cash each month either into the Church bank account or into the Collections Box in the Church. Alternatively, fill in a stop order/debit form at your bank. The advantage of this is that this will prevent you from either neglecting to give or being tempted to spend in such a way that you will not be able to give.
- Rejoice that you are able to Partner Jesus in this way! Remember what Jesus has promised to say to you: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matt 25:21)
Ways To Give at North Coast Church
There are three main ways to give financially to the work of Jesus through North Coast Church. Our preferred method is via online bank deposit.
You can give securely online right now by clicking on the button below.
Account Name: North Coast Church Inc
BSB: 016 412
Acc number: 253599664
We don’t take a collection during our Sunday services however if you do come prepared to give, you can do so in the giving slot located at the info point. Please make cheques payable to North Coast Church Inc.