All the believers were together, and they kept everything in common. They were selling their property and possessions and giving the proceeds to anyone who was in need (Acts 2:44-45).
Giving has played an integral role in the Christian faith from the start. How can we explain this? There was no budget, and there were no pledges toward a budget. There was no stewardship campaign. There was no fiery sermon on the requirement to give a tenth of one’s income (i.e. the tithe). There was no pleading. There was no begging. Yet our Christian ancestors, as recorded in Acts, gave with lavish enthusiasm. Why?
I believe at least part of the reason is because they took the following truth to heart: God doesn’t need our money; it’s already his—all of it. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof, the world and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). All that we have and all that we are belongs to the Sovereign Lord who brought the world into existence. So, if God doesn’t need our money, does that mean we’re absolved from any responsibility to give? On the contrary, this is why the believer must give!
God doesn’t need our money, but he has temporarily entrusted us with whatever we have so that we can make Kingdom-building investments. These investments, in turn, reflect glory back onto the One who gave the “seed money” (cf. Matt. 25:14-30). Such is God’s economy. The disciple’s privilege, therefore, is to pour as much as we can into God’s ordained instrument for carrying out the Great Commission, namely, the Church. In keeping with his character revealed throughout the Scriptures, God has graciously chosen to use a perennially-flawed organization filled with broken vessels to bring about his Kingdom on earth. So how can we exercise this privilege?
1. Give regularly (1 Cor. 16:2). As evidenced by the column to the right, summers can be brutal for churches. God’s Mission doesn’t take a summer break. The expenses required to support ministers, ministries, and missionaries are yearlong. May we give accordingly.
2. Give cheerfully (2 Cor. 8:1-5). Don’t give because of guilt or angst. That’s not the point of this column. Give because you have the privilege to give. Give because of what you’ve been given through Christ—salvation from the penalty of sin and eternal life.
3. Give generously (2 Cor. 9:6-11). We worship a God who is unfathomably generous in mercy and grace. So much so that Christ Jesus, the Son of God, became not only a human being but a forsaken human condemned to die a tortuous death. “Although he was rich, he become poor for your sake, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9b). I pray our giving would mirror at least a fraction of the generosity we’ve been shown in Christ.