“Why should I give my money to the church?”
To be honest, no one has ever directly asked me that question, at least not that I can remember. It’s a good question I’d welcome.
What follows is a brief consideration of that question.
There is one problem I’ll point out with the opening question. It’s not “my money.” If I am Christian, I must learn to concede that I am His, and everything I have is at His disposal. So, it’s His money anyway.
In Psalm 24:1, David said,
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”
That perspective gave David the freedom to live generously, and he also reared a very generous son named Solomon. But that’s enough about them. Let’s think more about you and me.
I’ve been involved with the ministry for a long time. And I sometimes wrongly presume that everyone understands basic things like generosity, giving, and stewardship. These concepts include how we handle our time, talent, and treasure. Every local church needs these three from its people to do good works for God.
But everyone doesn’t understand these fundamentals. That includes some long-term believers who haven’t cooperated in discipleship and most first-generation Christians. Sadly, too many Christians don’t understand the importance of recurring financial giving to their local church.
In their defense, new believers with little to no Christian heritage don’t understand the why behind the what of giving to their local church. And that sentence contains our first reason to review.
1. It’s their local church.
Friend, if it’s the local church you attend, you are responsible for supporting the ministry where God has connected you. You participate in a midweek small group, and, or you worship with the large group that meets on Sundays. You appreciate knowing your church meets the needs of the community around you, even those who don’t claim to be Christian.
And how do you think it’s all funded? Utility bills, mortgage payments, campus maintenance, insurance, and staff salaries are all necessary expenses. These behind-the-scenes bills of the Gospel need to be paid. Guess who has to do their part to keep the ministry of the Gospel moving forward? The answer is you, me, and every other congregant that God has set in this local body of believers. It’s not the responsibility of some unknown and nameless entity called they or them. It’s ours. And together, we are responsible for funding the ministry of our local church.
2. It’s our local church.
Friend, if it’s our church, we are responsible for supporting it in every way we can. We aren’t all called to be the lead pastor or engage in spoken ministry from the platform. Every one of us cannot be in charge of the praise team or kids ministry. But there are people in every local church that are called to provide that spiritual leadership, and we thank God that they are willing to serve God and us.
But it’s not their church, it’s our church, and every one of us is called by God to support our church. Maybe your work schedule keeps you from serving in the tangible needs meeting ministry your church does (food and clothing distribution), but our community of believers needs this ministry. We’re not all gifted by God to officiate funerals and serve families in times of crisis, but we need our church to provide this ministry for us and those in our community without Christ. After all, we’re set in our local church because we are members of His Church.
3. It’s His local church.
Friend, Jesus made us a promise. He said, “I will build My Church” (Matthew 16:18). He never promised to build my ministry or your church. But He is faithfully committed to building His Church. And our local assembly only exists because we are a part of His Church. So this means we must stay surrendered to His Lordship and do His will so that our church can be His local church. As a disciple of His, He has given me (and every believer) this commission: “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).
Giving is one of the many things He has commanded of His people. It’s a massive part of the Christ-life. And stewardship of your resources is mega in this new covenant. So, if you’re local church is living under Jesus’ Lordship, teaches the Bible, meets needs in your congregation and community, and builds His Kingdom here, then our local church is His Church. And He says, “Give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38). He says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). You have a responsibility to give financial support to build His Church because He says so. And through your generosity, His local church can accomplish great commission ministry locally and globally.
Those are three brief reasons, but there are many more.
We don’t practice generosity out of obligation; we do it out of love. And when we really love the Lord, we worship Him. And “once you invest in something that you care about, it matters even more, and it pulls you toward it” (Karl Vaters).
Giving is a fundamental act of worshipping God that preventatively and subconsciously reminds us to forsake our propensity toward a me-first attitude. At its root, sin is derived from selfishness. So we can think of honoring the Lord with the first fruits of our increase as a means of training our souls towards greater generosity and righteousness. You can give without being generous, but you can not be generous without giving.
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).