Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
Whenever we’re involved in a discussion or doing some teaching on a topic that, by its very nature, is about persuading us to make some change in behavior or add a practice to our lives, it’s always good to answer the WHY? Question. So I’ve been trying to get down to what that would be for this series on Financial Freedom and all our talk about giving as part of the formula for becoming and living debt free. Why is there so much talk in the Bible about giving and tithing (giving 10% of one’s income)? Why is giving presented in the Bible as an indispensable ingredient in the recipe of financial success? Why does God want his people to be givers? Of all the WHY? Questions I’ve come up with, I think this last one is the bottom line question.
Why does God want his people to give?
Why does God want us to give? Does he really need our money? Seriously—the Creator of the universe! That can’t be it. So why does God want us to give? I think it’s because he knows we need money to do what he’s asked us to do in our world. You see, the Biblical Story is about God working through people in human affairs to set right what has gone wrong in the world. He’s called us to partner with him to restore his creation to the goodness he pronounced on it at creation. That includes everything from caring for the earth as if it were Eden, the garden for which we were made responsible, to carrying out justice for the oppressed, meeting the needs of people who can’t help themselves (those who would otherwise be impoverished because of physical limitations), caring for orphans and widows, fighting disease, rescuing and rebuilding communities destroyed by natural disasters, creating jobs for and training the able poor to work, rehabilitating prisoners, helping single moms make it, educating people who do not have access to education, feeding the hungry while we help them create ultimate solutions to their hunger problem, etc., etc., etc.
All of the above is part of the Good News of the new kingdom God is establishing on earth which Jesus both inaugurated when he came and proclaimed while he was here (see Matthew 4:12-25; Luke 4:14-21). Essentially, our good work on earth is saying to people, “Good News, your Creator loves you and actually does have a wonderful plan for your life. That’s why we, his people, are doing what we are doing for you. He wants you to know him and enjoy the life he intended for you all along.”
Here’s the point I’m leading to and the answer to our bottom line WHY? Question: It takes money to do the good work we’ve been called to do here on earth as God’s People. God knows this and he wants us to have a financial stake in it all. He also knows that if we put out money into something, we’ll put our heart into it as well. Seems like Jesus said something like that, didn’t he. Check out Matthew 6:21.
And in order to make it worth our while, God has put in place what I can only describe as Kingdom Economics. God’s economic system gets set in motion when we, as His People, reprioritize our lives and put him first. He can tell we’ve put him first when we’re involved in doing and supporting financially the things mentioned above, all the good work we’re supposed to be doing in our world. What it all boils down to then is that he’s asking us to make a choice. Will we busy ourselves building and supporting His Kingdom or our own kingdom? This was God’s message to his people through the prophet Haggai. He told them that the reason life was not going too smoothly for them was, “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” (Haggai 1:9) And then through the prophet Malachi, God explained his own economic system and how it works when his said,
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,
That there may be food in my house.
Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty,
And see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven
and pour out so much blessing
that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
Jesus put it this way,
“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.” (Luke 6:38)
Sounds to me like God has our backs when we choose him and his work in our world first over everything else. When we put him and doing right first, he gives us all the things we need and even more (Matthew 6:33). When we choose God and his ways, we become Kingdom Players and cash in on Kingdom Economics. That’s WHY God wants us to give.