GIVING

Let’s be honest, money and stewardship are tough topics that we often wonline_giving-01ant to “sweep under the rug” of our lives and ignore. However, there are few topics in the Bible that Jesus addressed more than the topic of money.  So it would do us some good to pay attention, and at least consider what the Bible has to say about giving.

 

 

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We are finalizing our new budget that begins June 1. NC Family, please complete the financial commitment form by May 21. Thanks!

PRINCIPLES IN GIVING

1.  Everything belongs to the Lord in the first place.

1 Chron 29:14–16 – But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.

Let’s be real, we know this but we just don’t want to fully accept it and operate within it.  Why? Because if God owns it, then he determines how it’s managed, but if we own it we can determine how it’s managed, right? On a fundamental level, we have a real problem with authority and fully submitting to Jesus.  We must, by his grace, come to grips with the reality that He created everything, include us, and he has absolute authority and ownership over everything, even the money we worked hard to “earn.”

2.  God wants your heart before he wants your money.

2 Cor 8:5 They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

Most Christians have a bent toward religion (God accepts me because I obey him).  There is a great danger here especially when it come to giving financially to the local church.  If we are not careful, we’ll view it as buying God’s favor (literally), which will breed begrudging submission, rather than joyful obedience.  Joyful obedience always flows out of unearned favor wrought throught the finished work of the Son of God in his righteous life, perfect death and fulfilling resurrection.  Naturally we just want to give God some of our money so he’ll “get off our back” and then we can do whatever we want.  That natural tendency says, “God be my savior, but I’ll be my own lord.”  But God’s got something so much bigger and better for us.  He says, “I want to be your savior AND Lord” and how you handle your money, specifially in your giving to the local church, indicates whether he is your God or you are your own god.

3.  How you manage your money is a lens into the condition of your heart.

Matt 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It makes sense right?  Where a person invests himself shows what he loves most.  Time is one way we invest in something.  Take sports for example, we invest time in watching, playing, reading and talking about the sports we love.  But if you think about it, it’s very difficult to invest time into something for very long without eventually investing money into it as well.  Before too long we are buying tickets to games, getting the sports cable package, paying to get in a league, buying new equipment, etc.  Or take for example dating.  You find someone you are interested in and you begin to spend time with that person.  The more time you spend with them the more you being to invest financially into that relationship.  Why? Because simply going to the park and hanging out talking isn’t enough.  You want to go on a date, get dinner, go to the movies, get them a gift, etc.  Before you know it, you are buying them a ring and a house.  It’s a natural progression that Jesus is saying shows your passions.  Neither a love for sports or relationships are wrong by any means.  They are just simply to be very secondary to our pursuit and love for Jesus.   He isn’t our hobby, “I’m a musician, love art, fix cars, follow Jesus, etc.”  Rather, your identity as a follower of Jesus encompasses everything you do as a musician, artist and mechanic.  This mission of God defines those hobbies where you live and act within them as a child of the King seeking to bring redemption to those spheres of life.  Let’s be honest, simply going to church is a pretty lame hobby…and Jesus teaches us that our money reveals much about our motives and passions.

4.  How to measure your giving

Sacrificially – it should cost you something
Proportionally – it’s determined by how much money you bring in
Faithfully – you give to the Lord regularly and consistently, when you have it and when you don’t, trusting that he will provide for you
Joyfully – not begrudgingly because God loves a cheerful giver
First-fruits – give first to the Lord, pre-tax, pre-spending, before you pay your bills


 

ALL THAT WE HAVE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US BY GOD

1. We are to come to God bringing gifts as an act of worship, celebration and surrender.

Deut 16:16  Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.

When we give we are worshiping, saying with our gifts that God is worthy of these things that we give.  When we give we celebrate God and the things that he has given to us.  When we give we surrender to God by stating that we are fully trusting in him for provision for our lives.

2. We are foolish to hold on to things with a clinched hand, because there is nothing on this planet that does not belong to God and that he could not reclaim at any time.

1 Ch 29:14  But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
Job 41:11  Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

3. When we give to God by giving to the care the Church, our gifts are “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”

Php 4:18  I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.


 

What is a steward?

“A steward is a person who by God’s grace belongs to God.  And, because they belong to God, they recognize that ultimately everything they are and have belongs to God and has been given to them as a gift.  Therefore, they then seek to both enjoy the gifts God has given them, as well as invest those gifts in others and the future by distributing them wisely.  This includes everything from time, money, skills, etc.”    -Darrin Patrick

Old Testament giving regulations:
  • 10% went to fund the ministry of the priests. (Numbers 18:24-26)
  • 10% went to fund festivals and celebrations.  Festivals we yearly celebrations and worship meetings designed to celebrate to provision of God.  They were mostly associated with feasting on God’s provision of bounty.  They were not too dissimilar to our cultures view of Thanksgiving. (Deut 12:10-11, 12:17-18, 14:22-27)
  • 3.3% went to help the poor.  (Deut 14:28-29)
  • Occasional additional tithes as needs arose and God moved people to give more. (Exodus 25:1-2, 36:2-7)

Additional OT scripture related to giving:
  • Mal 3:8-10  Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
  • Pro 11:24  One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

 


 

COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING GIVING

1. What should I do if I cannot afford to give?

The church is here to help you in situations where you have a need that has or is causing you strain (injury, single parent, difficult circumstance, etc).

  • 2 Cor 8:1  We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,

 

However, it is clear in scripture that how you spend your money shows the condition of your heart.  So a better question would be, “Can I afford not to give?”

  • Mark 12:41-44 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
  • Mt 6:21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • 2Co 9:6  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

2. How much should I give?

This is a matter for you to genuinely take to God.  Pray and ask God to move in your Spirit.  Take counsel with your spouse.  Seek wisdom from God given leaders in your life, parents, mentors, pastors and others.

We believe that 10% is great place to start.  If we truly believe that God is sovereign and is in control of our money and our situations and we truly have surrendered to him and rightly call Jesus our Lord, then circumstances have little to do with what and how often we give.

  • Php 4:6-7  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • 2Co 9:6-8  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
  • Luke 12:22-25  And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

3. Is my gift tax deductible?

Yes.  If you give in a recordable way via check, online or cash in an envelope marked with your name, date and amount given.  We have a deacon who leads in the book keeping areas of our church finances and issues quarterly statements.

4. I can see myself having a problem with consistent giving, will North Church help to keep me accountable?

Yes.  We seek to be gospel centered and community driven in all that we do as a church.  As such, we want to help you in every area where you feel like you will have a tendency to fall into disobedience.  Finances are one area of the life of the church member can fall into disobedience.  Our elders, community group leaders and even other church members that you engage life with will be glad to walk in accountability with you in these areas.  Approach them via text, email or in person and express to them your desire to have accountability in this area.  Another option is to setup recurring giving through our online giving.

5. Should what I give to North Church be affected by what I give to other ministries?

Covenant members of North Church should consider this matter as they seek to Lord in what to give.  Our position as elders is that we are called to this expression of the Body of Christ (North Church).  Since we are called to this body, we give first to its ministries and needs.  As God calls us, we are to give over and above that amount to other ministries.  This idea is rooted in the OT patterns of giving expressed above.

 

See the online giving process here.

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