How My Pastor Teaches on Money and Giving: 8 Biblical Themes

Some of the most popular posts on Average Us are my posts about tithing and giving. If you’ve read any of them, you know I take the position that there is a very good reason why Jesus and the Apostles never taught tithing. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

coins The reason is that tithing supported the old covenant sacrificial system. Therefore, the command to give 10% to support a priesthood and priestly sacrifices, is as obsolete as that priesthood and those sacrifices. Jesus is our high priest and God’s final, once for all, sacrifice. In place of the tithe, Jesus and the Apostles taught generous giving according to one’s private conscience motivated by two things:

1. Compassion for those in need (i.e. “Love your neighbor as yourself…”).

2. Commitment to the worldwide spread of the gospel (i.e. “Go and make disciples of all nations…”).

Though he and I have never discussed this subject, I find that my pastor, Charles Garland, of Ivy Creek Church, talks about money and giving from the pulpit in a way that I find to be both biblical and incredibly motivating. Here are a few of the themes I’ve picked up from Charles over the last several months:

KINGDOM

Charles connects our giving with our citizenship in God’s kingdom. This citizenship is a free gift of God’s grace which we receive by faith in Jesus Christ. As Charles puts it, the good news that we have received a kingdom overflows in joyful gratitude so that we intentionally give our money away to set the kingdom on display. We want to make the hope we have in the gospel of the kingdom known to the world.

TRANSPARENCY

Charles is completely transparent about the fact that giving generously means voluntarily lowering one’s personal standard of living. He is honest about the fact that more money given means less money in the budget for other things. Contrast this with the prosperity gospel preachers (which is a false gospel from false Christians) who manipulate you by telling you that if you give, God will always give you more.

GRACE

When contrasting the gospel’s free gift of God’s favor with our vain human attempts to earn God’s favor, Charles says, “You can’t give your way to a clear conscience; you don’t have that much money.” I find this a healthy reminder, both of the depth of my sin, and the vastness of God’s mercy.

MISSION

When preparing the congregation to give an offering during each worship service, Charles always ties giving to the mission the church has been given. He always describes the work of a local or worldwide ministry which the church supports to remind us of the proper motive for giving.

GOSPEL

When praying before the offering, Charles often asks God to use the gifts “…to spread the gospel in Gwinnett County and around the world.” This reminder reinforces the new covenant motive for giving in the hearts and minds of the congregation.

GRATITUDE

When preaching on giving, I have never heard Charles mention Malachi 3:8ff, where the prophet rebuked Israel for robbing God of tithes. There is no need. The people of God are under a different covenant and a different command. Ours is a positive commission to spread the joy of the good news through every means possible, including the generous giving that flows from grateful hearts.

COMPASSION

Nor does Charles tie giving to duty or obedience, but to the positive motives of glad generosity, compassion and mission.

BROKENNESS

When reminding the congregation that we in Gwinnett County live in a bubble of wealth and trouble free living, he challenges the ever-present temptation to believe that God has blessed us so we can live the good life in gated homes and communities. He reminds us that God has called us to move out into the world to embrace its pain and brokenness in order to show that God’s Kingdom is indeed here.

TAKEAWAYS

I find my pastor’s teaching on giving to be incredibly motivating. It challenges me each week in three ways:

1. To remember that I had no hope of earning God’s favor before I heard of His free gift of grace in Christ. I have received a kingdom merely because it pleased Him to love me this way. This refreshes my gratitude and joy.

2. To examine my living to reconsider how I could “move out into the world to put the kingdom on display” by serving and making disciples.

3. To examine my giving to reconsider how I could joyfully, voluntarily reduce my standard of living to invest more in making the kingdom known.

If you’ve been subjected to the typical guilt and greed preaching on money American churches are known for, I hope you’ll forgive the errors, and not harden your heart toward your local church. I hope, instead, that you will embrace Jesus with joy, and let that joy overflow in gospel compassion and commitment that effects your budget and lifestyle. Here’s some practical ideas on when, how, where, and how much to give:

〉Why the Tithe is Obsolete and What to Give Instead

〉How Much Should You Give to Your Church?—18 Questions to Help You Plan Your Giving Next Year

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4 thoughts on “How My Pastor Teaches on Money and Giving: 8 Biblical Themes

  1. Hey Lon

    What a great article and I am in total agreement with your pastor. Recently I have had numerous conversations with other Christians about this subject explaining the very content of your article, with mixed responses. I believe that God is beginning to take the blinders off for His people to see what His Word is really saying so as not to be manipulated anymore. Thanks for posting this article…it is quite refreshing.

    Cindy

    • Thanks Cindy! It’s a hard “law” for people to let go of. Somehow they think it will result in less giving. I think it results in more freedom.

  2. Hi Lon, I would like to share my story that may help someone regarding Tithes. First and foremost the Word of God the Bible, has all the answers to any question we may have. We should be in the Word continually and learn to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us. The Word says the Holy Spirit is our teacher. About 22 years ago I felt the Lord was trying to show me that the way I was being taught tithing in the traditional Christian church was not correct. I had no idea what this meant since I faithfully tithed. I could not fathom, not tithing! As time went on I would sense this again and I would ask the Lord what He was trying to show me,but I continued to tithe. Eventually I met a Pastor who said tithing was wrong in the church today, and I still just couldn’t grasp this concept! But I could not get this off my mind, so I started studying the Word on everything I could find about tithing. I had always listened to what the Pastors said and just thought this had to be right. I was shocked when I read about the tithes in Deut. and that they were not money but animals and crops. There were 3 tithes, to the Levitical Priests, for the festivals, and for the orphan and widows. There was the year of tithing which was every 3rd year. I began to question why the church had turned this into “money” and set up their our own system. I could not believe that one would be so bold to say a person is robbing God when the tithe, or how they collect it, is nothing in the way the Bible states. My Pastors had never taught me anything about these types of tithes. These teachings I am talking about were the first instructions on tithing, so how could we think we are allowed to change them now? Do you know anything of these tithes that I just described? Probably not, as I have never once heard about them in church! I mainly heard the Malachi scripture. I was also always told how Abraham tithed before the law, but learned when Abraham gave a tithe it was on his spoils from war not on his own property. As far as it is stated there is no where else in the Bible that he tithed again. And Jacob did mention the tithe. He wrestled with the Angel of the Lord and said he would give the Lord a tenth if He would bless Him! It was something he declared not the Lord. In Malachi it was the Levitical Priests that were disobeying the Lord not the people with the tithes, We here from the pulpit in most churches this always being directed to the people. Please read Malachi for yourself. The tithe was set up for the Jewish people the children of Israel and from my studies they do not tithe today! This was meant for them originally and I cannot find any scripture where this transferred to the Gentiles. In Galations 3: 10 it says for as many that are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written .cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law to perform them.. If you are going to do one thing of the law. “In this case tithing,” then you need to be prepared to do whole law! That is very serious. In the the whole chapter of Galations 3 it states ” The righteous man shall now live by Faith”.
    We are to be generous, cheerful givers, and give as the Lord leads. The tithe does mean a tenth. If you want to give a tenth don’t give under the laws system, give as the Lord leads you. We have been robbed of relying on the Lord as to where and how to give ” by Faith” and have been taught a man made system. I have not found the way the church teaches tithing today in any of the Old or New Testament. I challenge all to get into the Word and see for yourself like I did. I was so upset when I read about tithing in the Word and how the churches are teaching today. I felt very betrayed. I have come a long way since then, and realize they are teaching what they have been taught. It has taken many years for me to truly see what the Lord was trying to reveal to me through the Word. He reminds me of that, and to give grace to the Pastors that are still teaching this. It was not easy for me to accept and I rejected the very thought of this for a long time. They too have relied on money from man ( though the Kingdom of God does need finances from man) and have missed the privilege of learning to live by faith and hear from God concerning money The just shall live by Faith and without Faith it is impossible to please God.
    I encourage everyone to get into the Word. Start in Deut. 14:23-29 then Deut 26. If you want to title, then you need to do it the way the Word states. we cannot decide to do what we want and say “thus says the Lord” As Christians the Word is all we have to stand upon! I know the Lord is speaking to many of His Children about this. We must remember,Jesus paid it All, and His Grace is sufficient. He now asks us to Love God with all our hearts and to Love our Neighbors as ourselves. He says we fulfill everything when we do this!

    • RG, thanks so much for your commentary! It’s great that you shared a broad selection of verses on this topic, not just a “proof text”. Glad you’ve found freedom in Christ to give cheerfully!

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