By Pastor Tedd Mathis
Members of Pueblo West Baptist Church have a God-honoring reputation of being faithful, generous givers. Having said that, I wonder if some of us understand the biblical foundation for that time in the service every Sunday where men pass a wooden plate and people put money in it. I also wonder if some folks have faulty perspectives for giving. Below are five reasons why you should be giving regularly to your church. Next month I’ll address how much you should be giving.
Note, this is written primarily to us who are already members; those considering membership are encouraged to learn of the privileges and responsibilities written below.
Why You Should Give
Because it’s one of the ways we acknowledge God as the sovereign king He is. Giving that honors God does not come from the notion we’re paying off a debt to God. Neither is it a bargain worked out with God: He wants me to give Him some of my money; I’ll negotiate something out of Him as payment in return. No, God-honoring giving comes from a heart of awe and gratitude to God as God. He is the all-sufficient, all authoritative sovereign in who’s kingdom we live (Psalm 100). Our giving is our grateful, reverent response to Him. We joyfully, reverently give a portion back to Him as humble acknowledgement of who He is and what He does. It’s worship.
This is not a Baptist thing; it’s an old thing: In Genesis, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob – all sacrificed valuable animals they owned as offerings to the Lord. God was pleased because they were offered in awe and gratitude. Offerings were expected of God’s people throughout the Old Testament. Today, we don’t build altars in our back yard and sacrifice our prize ram or bull. We don’t bring an animal sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem. Christ’s death on the cross was the final and sufficient blood sacrifice that atoned for all our sins and reconciled us to God (I Peter 3:18; Hebrews 7:25-27; 9:23-28). Today an outward proof of our internal awe and gratitude to God and what He has done for us in Christ’s sacrifice is seen in our giving to Christ’s local church.
Because we’re either a goer, a sender, or a hypocrite. The only way sinners are saved is for them to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and respond in obedient faith to that message (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:12-17). That requires those already believing to proclaim the Gospel to those not believing. We confirm we believe that by speaking the Gospel ourselves and supporting those who take the Gospel to the nations. Jesus Christ established the local church to equip and send proclaimers and support them as they go (Acts 13:1-3; Philippians 4:10-19). We at PW Baptist presently do that through supporting goers through the Southern Baptist Convention.
Because we’re supposed to pay the preacher. It is expected pastors will receive their income (or a portion of it) from the people to whom they minister (I Tim 5:17-18; I Thess. 5:12,13; Heb 13:16,17).
Because it’s a way we demonstrate Christ is our treasure. Jesus said, no one can serve God and wealth. We will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24). Further, we’re told the evidence we are indwelt and filled with the Spirit of Christ is not lack of control but self-control (Ephesians 5:15-18; Galatians 5:22,23). Your disciplined giving to the institution built by Christ to proclaim Him is a major evidence you’re life is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s people will desire to confirm to themselves He is more important than their possessions. Christians take steps to live according to what our Lord says brings Him honor and them lasting joy (Matthew 6:19-20). We treat our money and possessions as tools to be used not idols to be served (I Tim. 6:17-19). We won’t view our possessions as proof we’re okay with God (we must be earning His favor because we’re making the payments on our new camper!). Rather, we confirm Christ is our treasure by avoiding careless, frivolous, casual debt. We confirm money isn’t a god but a tool by our budgeting and saving it, getting by on less, not always needing more. And we confirm Christ is our treasure with our ongoing generous giving to our church through which He is proclaimed, explained to us and to the world.
Because we receive a blessing from giving (Acts 20:35). There’s an inner delight, a hidden joy that comes when we give freely to the Lord. Giving proves stuff isn’t our life, that we really do have a better and abiding possession in Christ (Hebrews 10:32-36). There is a real, eternal ‘spiritual profit’ that comes with faithfully supporting the cause of Christ (Philippians 4:10-20).
Because we said we would. Membership at PW Baptist is a coming together of individuals in a covenant community. We have a written covenant (a solemn agreement) which we’ve agreed to abide by as long as we are members. And one of the things we agreed to do is financially support the work of this church. Therefore, let’s let our ‘yes’ be yes (Matt 5:37).