Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:9

I don’t like talking about giving money to church. It feels a little self-serving as a minister to spend too much time on what feels like begging or persuading people to hand over a part of their income. But I think that is a result of how we think about giving and not in what giving actually is.

For it is written in the Law of Moses: “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing in the crops.

1 Corinthians 9:9-10

The Biblical purpose of giving is the participation in the collective act of service, working together both with talent and time to make things happen in God’s name. Whether that is in the case of providing aid for believers as in the passage from 2 Corinthians or in compensating those who do work for the local church in the passage from 1 Corinthians, the money is directed at a purpose; in the first case given as a heartfelt response to a need and in the second, given as wages earned.
In both cases, the collection was not merely something gathered out of tradition or some sort of monetary sacrifice; Christian gifts are not the same as the tithes of the Old Testament, which are taxes paid to maintain the Temple. Christian gifts are actually an extension of our decision to follow God, so that whether they go into the collection plate or into the dinner plate of someone who is hungry, God receives the glory.
That’s the mistake. Christians don’t get money right because we start out thinking it’s about us. It isn’t, it’s about God. When we reorient our perspective around doing His Will, we will finally get money (and everything else) right.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published October 25, 2021