Monday, March 3, 2008

Giving Part 2: OK, So How Much?

The Old Testament had more specific guidelines about giving than is what is offered in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, firstfruits were to be given unto the Lord, as well as a tithe for the priests and another tithe every three years for the poor. Not to mention the offerings given toward the temple. The New Testament does not offer such specifics, but rather just gives us principles such as be generous, regular and give with a cheerful heart.

Let me give you some Scriptures to look at in the New Testament that have been helpful for Rachel and I as we have prayed about how much to give>

- Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven . . . Woe to you rich, for you have received your consolation. (Luke 6:20)

- They are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life. (Luke 8:14)

- The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. (Luke 9:58) (If in Jesus is life abundant, it's possible to live a fulfilling life without an abundance of material goods.)

- A person’s life does not consist in the possessions that he has. (Luke 12:15)

- Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

- Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)

- Seek his kingdom and these other things (food, clothing, shelter) will be yours as well. (Luke 12:31)

- But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:20-21)

- Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with purses in heaven. (Luke 12:33)

- Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

- They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all as any had need. (Acts 2:45)

- No one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. (Acts 4:32)

- In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. (2 Corinthians 8:2)

- The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully [1] 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 [2] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

- We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:7-10)

- You had compassion on the prisoners and joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. (Hebrews 10:34)

- If any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17)