After getting an overload of “Biblical revelations” from people using the same Bible I read to prove otherwise, giving to God is still Biblical. We can give natural things to God. Yes, to God. In order to give God things, we give them to God’s leaders to accomplish God’s assignments in the earth. Giving to God gets God’s attention: He promises to respond to our giving.
This pattern of giving is obviously revealed in Scripture cover to cover. If we tear out so many pages to avoid it, cover is nearly all we’d have left.
Of course, another pattern of giving revealed in Scripture is giving to others in need. This kind of giving to the poor also gets God’s attention. Giving to God and giving to the poor are two distinct aspects of personal giving. While we can certainly do well to give to an organization in order to give to the poor, responding to the poor personally, to those we know and love as well as strangers, is most consistent with Scripture. We should notice that giving to God and giving to the poor are two different things.
Jesus does some resetting on the subject of giving just as He does on every other aspect of Law and Prophets. “You have heard that it has been said by them of old time…but I say to you…” He speaks to the way in which giving is done more than the giving itself. He doesn’t reset giving as much as He resets the heart of giving, the purpose of giving. He says that giving has a reward but the reward can either come from God or man. Giving to God has a reward. Giving alms has a reward. Giving has its own reward but God adds His reward to those who give.
Now, let’s avoid hasty generalizations. Those who question tithing for New Testament Christians are not all the same. Some, of course, use this as an excuse for not giving at all. Some use this as a justification for doing whatever they wish with their money. Some give cheerfully in ways that surpass a tenth. Let’s avoid the generalization that anyone who bases some aspect of their giving on a tenth is “religious.” Or, that anyone who gives only a tenth is stingy.
New Testament giving has several reset promises that make old covenant models even more awesome! Jesus didn’t destroy Law or Prophets. He brought them to their ultimate fullness of purpose. He didn’t redeem us, for example, to merely avoid adultery but to bring the marriage covenant to its greatest revelation of His own covenant relationship with His Body. He didn’t redeem us to merely avoid lying but to make every word we speak powerful and redemptive. In the same way, He didn’t destroy giving to God and others but gave the giving its highest expression of prophetic promise. Giving is not a tax or obligation; it is a covenant exercise that enables us to give to God and God to finance His kingdom on earth.
Giving based upon a tenth is still a really good idea! It is systematic. It is based upon equal sacrifice, not equal gifts. It still gets God’s attention and reward. Giving based upon a tenth recognizes that God has a portion, a primary or off the top portion, of your increase. Giving based upon a tenth can become an empty form or limitation to the spirit of giving, as any systematic spiritual expression, but God had something in mind when He instituted it before the Law of Moses was given.
All New Testament giving should be strategic. The broken alabaster box was strategic. It was appropriate to give prophetically and Jesus says we will never forget what she did! The early Body of Christ responded to growth with enormous, strategic sacrifice. It was appropriate to give liquidate inheritances for the kingdom moment. The houses and lands that would not be available to the next generation because of Jerusalem’s destruction…
A first principle of Scripture is that we can give something to God. To do so, we give to it to people, but we are giving it away, giving it up, letting it go, releasing it from our control. Don’t think you are giving something to God when you maintain control of it! Pretty difficult to give God an offering by giving it to yourself, or giving it in a way that allows you to maintain control over it. Giving with strings attached is not giving at all. Giving to someone to make yourself feel good, feel less guilty, or fill some inner empty place is good, but it is not giving something to God. Giving alms is different than giving to God. The Father sees in secret and reward openly – yes! – but that is still not the same as giving to God.
Billions have been appropriated in questionable ways in the Name of Jesus. It is true. It is sad. Yet, the failure of people to properly use what has been given to God does absolutely nothing to alter the principle that what was given was given to God. Nor does the failure of humanity to please anyone one of us in terms of our opinion about what is appropriate use of God’s stuff alter the principle of giving to God.
Even with our history of mismanagement and imperfect investment, God is going to make more resources available to the Body today than at any other time in history! A great transfer of wealth is coming that has “end-time harvest” written all over it. God is going to put wealth into the hands of righteous people so they can give a lot of it to God. The strategy of hell would be to destroy the principle of giving to God so this wealth is mismarked and misused. God wants us to give from a position of financial strength. He wants us to give hilariously, with appropriate abandon, to give prophetically and strategically. Because billions are needed, God is making millionaires out of righteous people. Yet, the greatest giving will not come from millionaires. It will come from people giving strategically, methodically, and cheerfully, people giving to God who don’t have millions to give. These people will give because they have learned how to give by applying principles of giving to their lives.
New Testament giving Scriptures reset old covenant models. The quotations from old covenant discussions and commandments are right there in the presentation of New Testament instructions. Arguments from the silence of the Scripture – “there’s nothing there saying I have to” – seem hollow when the heart of the righteous burns with the passion of God’s heart for His purposes! We need a revival of the days when leaders had to tell people to stop giving because there was more than necessary available. Giving is still Biblical.