During our last several time together we talked about how important it is for you to understand the different opportunities you have for "Godly Giving." Part of this understanding is to ask questions. These questions must be answered according to God's Word and not based on "public opinion." Before you finalize your Godly Giving plan, please consider these final questions and their biblical answers.
With whom should you give?
• First, there are some we are not to help! Paul tells you in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13, "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat.' We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat." There are many legitimate needs that you can help meet. But, there are also lots of phonies who prefer to live off others. Here you are told not to help those who won't help themselves. You are to help those who can't help themselves. Do you see the difference?
• Whom should we help? First, God requires that you provide for your family. In 1st Timothy 5:3-8 we find, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. We are to care for our own family and so repay our parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." Providing for your family goes beyond husbands, wives and children to include parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, right on down the line. This means you should manage your personal resources in responsible ways to care for family needs.
• Next, you are to help support your pastors and church workers. Somehow we tend to believe that those in full-time Christian service should live on less that anyone else. But, why shouldn't your pastors and church staff members live as well as someone in the business world? Consider 1 Corinthians 9:9: "For it is written in the Law of Moses: 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.'" Then 1 Corinthians 9:14: "In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel." Finally, 3rd John 6-7: "They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans."
In Luke 10:7 Jesus tells His disciples to accept hospitality graciously because their work entitled them to it. Ministers of the gospel deserve to be supported, and it's your responsibility to help make sure they have what they need. There are several ways to encourage those who serve God and you in His church—your home church.
• First, see that they have an adequate salary,
• Second, see that they are supported emotionally; plan a time to express appreciation for something they have done.
• Third, lift their spirits with special surprises from time to time.
• Your ministers need to know that you are giving to them cheerfully and generously.
I believe God tells you three things from these three verses.
• First, you are to meet the needs of those who minister God's Word.
• Second, you are to send them out in a way worthy of God, not as second-class citizens.
• And third, your pastors and church staff members are to receive their support from other Christians, not from non-Christians. If this third point holds true for the individual Christian, and I believe it does, then it also holds true for the church. I believe God's Word teaches that churches should not receive money from non-Christian sources. We should fund our work from within the body of Christ, just as John said, "Accepting nothing from the Gentiles."
One last comment on Giving with ministering Christians-I believe this applies both inside and outside the local church. To me this means that if you are regularly taught and blessed by Christian radio or TV, then you have an obligation before God to help support those radio and TV ministries above and beyond the tithe to your local church.
Who else are we to help?
1 John 3:17-18 tells you that, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." Simply put, we are also to help other Christians.
One final consideration
God directs you to give into the non-Christian community. In Matthew 5:42 Jesus says, "Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Do you realize that God spends about ten times more time talking about giving to non-Christians than He spends time talking about giving to fellow Christians?
You as a Christian cannot ignore human needs or refuse to help the needy. Whether you believe you have sufficient resources or not, you are to help because you love Christ. Measure your giving by Christ, who gave everything, rather than by laws or percentages. As a Christian steward, you cannot turn away from people seeking help.
Bob Louder is the Founder and President of Christian Financial Ministries (www.good-steward.org). Bob is also the author of the new best selling book, "Debt Free Living God's Way," available only on the Internet (www.debtfreelivinggodsway.org). Since 1987 Bob has helped people in hundreds of churches all across the country and in the European military community learn, understand, apply and pass on "Debt Free Living God's Way" principles and practical applications. He has represented some of the top Christian financial authors and ministries to include Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey, Christian Financial Concepts, and Crown Ministries.
Copyright 2006 Christian Financial Ministries, Inc., All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this "Special Report" in whole or in part without permission from Christian Financial Ministries, Inc. Please credit material used to Christian Financial Ministries, Inc.