(Photo: Harvest Ministries)
At one point in my life I attended a church that was extremely laid-back about the subject of giving. It wasn't talked about much at all. There was no offering of any kind and the issue of money came up extremely infrequently. It was downplayed to the point of being out of sight, out of mind. Whether this was in response to an overemphasis that had left a bad taste in the pastor's mouth or the desire to rely fully on the Lord's provision I am not sure. I certainly am not judging that ministry decision, but what I do know is that it wouldn't be until later on that I would discover the richness of all that the Bible has to say about the subject and it floored me.
Consequently, during that period I sporadically gave when I felt "led," which, if I'm honest, wasn't all that often. It was more like a "tip" for a good sermon, or when I felt extra generous. I might have called it a tithe but it wasn't, it was nowhere near a tenth of my earnings. Things certainly seemed to be humming along at the church though, and for all I knew the congregation was full of millionaires that gave so much that it really didn't matter if I contributed or not. Also, I made very little in my job at that time and so I felt justified in keeping almost all of what I earned for myself.
Looking back, I am horrified that I would enjoy teaching that I didn't support, be led in worship by a team using equipment that I did nothing to offset the cost of, and bring friends to church, taking for granted that a chair was there for them to sit in and hear about Jesus but not help cover the costs to make it all happen. At one point in my life I attended a church that was extremely laid-back about the subject of giving. It wasn't talked about much at all. There was no offering of any kind and the issue of money came up extremely infrequently. It was downplayed to the point of being out of sight, out of mind. Whether this was in response to an overemphasis that had left a bad taste in the pastor's mouth or the desire to rely fully on the Lord's provision I am not sure. I certainly am not judging that ministry decision, but what I do know is that it wouldn't be until later on that I would discover the richness of all that the Bible has to say about the subject and it floored me.
If I could go back in time I would tell a younger version of myself that only having a little to give doesn't let you off the hook either. God expects us to honor Him with what He has entrusted to us and He is able to do a lot with a little. Yes, the amount I would have given (if I had been tithing) would have been a relatively insignificant amount compared to the staggering costs of all these things, but what I would later learn is that giving is less about my money being needed, and more about me needing to give it.
I could give many, many more but here are five reasons why I love to give and why there is nothing on earth that could stop me from returning the first and the best of all God puts in my hand right back to Him.
1. You only get to keep what you give away
Every penny I keep and everything I buy here on earth I will eventually walk away from when I die. Naked I was born and naked I will return, but every cent I have given to God is waiting for me in Heaven with serious interest. My daughter Lenya who is in Heaven left all her toys and clothes behind, but everything she gave to God is hers to keep forever.
2. It breaks down idolatry and greed
When your hand is clenched and you hold on to things tightly it is easy for your possessions to possess you. When you open your hand to give it is easier to keep a light touch on things. Worshipping God through giving money away is the only way I know to keep myself from worshipping money as god.
3. You get equity in the only thing that will outlast everything
No earthly companies, businesses, institutions or non-profit organizations will be in Heaven, but the church that Jesus Christ is building on earth will go marching on. The church is the only thing that exists today that will be here forever. By helping fund the building of the House of the Lord, as Jesus constructs it out of living stones, there is fruit that abounds in your account.
4. It causes you to be obsessed with the things of God
When you invest in the stock market, be it technology or agriculture, you don't have to remind yourself to check up on it. You automatically think about it. To a degree that is borderline OCD if you have an obsessive personality like me. It's the same way with giving to God. Where your treasure goes, there goes your heart. The fastest way to have a greater heart for God is to invest in His Kingdom.
5. You are opened up to God's blessing
This has been the biggest surprise to me. It shouldn't really, because He is God after all. I have found that He can't be out-given. No matter how much I have increased my giving over the years above tithing (fair warning-giving is addictive) He has boomeranged it back to me and then some. Not just in entrusting me with more money to steward, but with opportunities, answered prayers, peace in storms, and dreams that have come true far beyond what I could ask, think or imagine.
Levi Lusko is the pastor of Fresh Life Church, a multi-site church in Montana. His teaching style is real, relevant, and raw. In addition to communicating Gods truth, he loves to snowboard, surf, cycle, read and drink coffee. His 5-year-old daughter, Lenya Avery Lusko, went home to be with the Lord in Heaven after a severe asthma attack on Dec. 20, 2012. Website: LeviLusko.com Twitter: @levilusko