PASTORS BLOG / SHOULD I BE GIVING TO THE SHORELINE CHURCH & CHURCH GIVING

SHOULD I BE GIVING TO THE SHORELINE CHURCH?

When a person becomes a new creation in Christ, he or she immediately begins to feel the desire to give unto the Lord.  One new believer was recently heard saying, “I just felt like, since I pay AT&T $300 a month for a phone bill, I ought to give the same or more to the work of Jesus!”  And so, he started giving $300 a month.  You have got to love the simplicity of heart in a statement like that.

But does the Bible have more to say about giving to one’s local church than matching one of our highest monthly bills?  The answer is “Yes, it does.”

Let me first show you an Old Testament passage, then a word from the Lord, followed by a New Testament principle.

We know that The Law of the Old Testament is spiritual and good.  It reveals God’s standards of perfection (even as it points out our sin and drives us toward faith in the One who fulfilled it -- Jesus Christ our Lord!).  The Law required the people to give of their wealth to the Lord.  The word “tithe” means one tenth, and they were required to “tithe,” or give a tenth, of their wealth to the Lord.  In most years they were to do this twice, and then a third time every third year, for an average of 23% of their income per year.

In Malachi chapter 3, the Lord is calling His people to repentance.  He calls them to return to their giving of tithes.  It says,

 “You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 

Notice that first of all, it was cheating God for them not to tithe.  Secondly, they were to bring their tithes to the Temple so that there would be enough for the work to be done.  Also, God promised to pour out a blessing if they were obedient in this action.  And lastly, God asked them to test Him out on this one and see if He didn’t respond.  “Try it!” God says.

In the Gospels, Jesus also talked about giving.  He said in Luke 6,

  38 “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

 Again, notice the call for us to give.  Here we are not limited to a tithe but a limit set by our own faith.  How generous would you like to be unto the Lord?  Have you ever considered that you cannot out-give God?  He has committed Himself to being the bigger giver to any and all who gives to Him.  Randy Alcorn, in his book The Treasure Principle, asks an insightful question.  He wonders that if under The Law a person was under compulsion to give 10% and more, would we be called to give less than that under the filling of the Holy Spirit?  His obvious answer is no.  New Testament, Jesus-followers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will see 10% as more of a floor, or a starting point for our giving, than as a ceiling or limit.

That is why we find this New Testament principle in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, 

 But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. 

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

 Our giving goal is not 10% only, but generous amounts with a cheerful heart.

 So, based upon all of this, what is our answer to, “Should I be giving financially to The Shoreline Church?”

1. You should pray and ask Jesus if you should be giving to The Shoreline Church.  If it is your church home and place of gospel-centered fellowship, then the likely answer will be “yes” but you need to hear from Jesus.

2. 10% of one’s income was God’s Old Testament standard, and God freely went beyond that amount in most years, but not at any one time.  Thus, it would be a good starting place for us to begin to move toward generous giving, as outlined in the New Testament -- to become not only a 10% giver, but a generous giver who trusts God as the “Out-Giver!”  The Shoreline Church is a place where God’s purposes are being carried out for God’s glory and is certainly one place where you can give unto the Lord in generous ways.

3. Financial giving is a blessing and a desire of the believer’s heart.  It is good for our hearts and for our discipleship to Jesus to give of our wealth as recognition that it all has been given to us by His grace.

 How much should I be giving?

The Bible says that in the Old Testament, those who were faithful to God gave an average of 23% per year.  The New Testament says for each one to determine what a generous and cheerful amount would be for us to give.  Many have started at 10% of their income and progressed upward from there.

 How is the money given to The Shoreline Church used for God’s glory?

The money given to The Shoreline Church is used for making disciples of Jesus Christ.  We give away the first 10% of everything received to other disciple-making missions as a way of blessing others first.  The rest is apportioned in an annual budget, with about 60% going toward staffing, and 100% focused upon carrying out the purposes and principles of the New Testament church to gather, grow, give and go to the glory of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

ref: 

1 Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation

GeoSigThumbGeorge Hulse

Lead Pastor