NEW TESTAMENT GIVING
Some have enquired about what the new testament says about the giving of our money to the LORD. Very few people come into this discussion or ask about it who do not have some preconceived notions about it. Few have been raised in a vacuum about these matters and many already have established patterns which they seldom question in light of the scripture.
To say that the average church or religious organization spends quite a bit of time and energy in raising funds would be an understatement. One can seldom hear a sermon on the TV or radio that does not conclude with strong appeals for funds and it is a common practice to pass the plate every time most churches (so called) gather. It has even become acceptable in many circles to appeal for money by attaching promises of temporal blessings to that act of benevolence. Others depend on the “guilt factor” by painting a picture of the failure of their ministry if folks don’t give. Yet others appeal to the “fear factor” by warning of the loss of blessings for those who exercise moderation in giving. The common thread that runs through these appeals is “more is better”.
Under the Mosaic Law (see Lev.27:30-
There is no lack of those who would try to mold and shape our views about “new testament giving” by appealing to the requirements of the old testament or the desire of the flesh to receive material blessings. Just like the Judaizers of old they are intent on putting the free-
If the principle (law) of “ the SPIRIT of life in CHRIST JESUS” (see Rom.8:2) is that by which the believer is governed then that must be the basis upon which that same SPIRIT would teach us to be stewards of those earthly goods which HE has placed at our disposal. We are quite certain that we have nothing that we have not received and therefore our view of what we possess must be governed by that knowledge. The scripture has several examples of those whose giving was approved of GOD. The widow who cast in two mites, the cheerful giver, and those whom Paul commended who “first gave themselves to the LORD.” (see II Cor.8:5) This is the standard by which we ought to look at what we give and what we keep.
The basis upon which new testament giving rests is the very principle of the new covenant which the LORD promised when HE said, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:33) The benevolence of the LORD’s people is the direct result of the measure of grace which HE is pleased to pour out upon HIS children. Rather than their faithfulness being the cause of HIS blessing, HIS blessing is the cause of their faithfulness. This is manifested most clearly in a charitable spirit which is given to those upon whom HE is pleased to conform to the image of CHRIST. The more like CHRIST a man becomes the more benevolent and kind that man is whether it has to do with finances, time, or the esteem of the brethren. When you find men with a stingy and selfish spirit you will find men who are not much blessed with the presence of CHRIST.
This is illustrated very plainly in the early church when the SPIRIT of GOD rested upon them mightily. (see Acts 4:32-
That worship with which the LORD is pleased is that which is in “spirit and truth” as HE told the woman at the well, the FATHER seeketh such to worship HIM. The LORD expressed HIS approval of the act of the woman with the expensive alabaster box of ointment which she anointed HIM with as she bathed HIS feet with her tears. This was a costly gift but was given without regard to price by one who was moved to worship HIM. David refused the gift of sheep by Araunah saying “Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2Sam.24:24) The LORD JESUS CHRIST gave HIS very life for us, and can we be satisfied to give HIM less?