The Purpose of our Giving
What is the purpose of our giving? If you were to answer that by saying “to run the church” or “to provide the church with the money it needs to do all it wants to do” you would be expressing only part of the truth. Suppose some rich benefactor gave or bequeathed to Dalserf church a couple of million pounds. In these circumstances every member could stop giving altogether if these answers regarding the purpose of our giving were valid. There is however a higher more noble more spiritual reason for a Christian to give and that is to express love and devotion to God. For the good of our souls we need to give. “Giving to God….reminds us who he is, who we are, and what our relationship should be to the things He has allowed us to manage in his name….by surrendering some of our physical resources, we testify to our origin”. (From “Giving and Tithing” Larry Burkett). In such circumstances where the congregation had more than enough money for the foreseeable future, the obligation to support one’s own congregation would be redundant and our giving could be to other good Christian causes.
The amount of our giving
How much should we give? That is personal between you and God but the church does give some guidance on this matter. Every Church of Scotland member has promised to give a “fitting proportion” of their time talents and money for the Churchs’ work in the world. That begs the question what is a fitting proportion? This is only a guide not a prescription but several decades ago the Board of Stewardship and Finance, in an attempt to give an answer to that question suggested that five percent of income (presumably net income) was a reasonable minimum. The Bible suggests a tithe (tenth) of income and some members do tithe. Tithing is common in some denominations outwith the Church of Scotland and much more prevalent in America than in Britain.
The rewards of our giving
One thing we can be sure of is that while our motive in giving should not be so that we will get back more in return, God will always bless sacrificial giving. Most people know the saying “You reap what you sow” which is based on Galatians 6:7 and 1 Corinthians 9:6. What few realise is that the latter verse” Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” was spoken in the context of financial giving.
We cannot lose by giving to God. In Luke 6:38 we read “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” That should be an encouragement to trust God more rather than to hanker after more material blessings for ourselves.