Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Motivation for Giving

Here we go, a post a giving. Everyone can now let out your collective sigh (insert sigh here _______ ).

The dreaded post on the subject of giving. For some reason, and I have several ideas, we get a little uneasy when the subject of money is brought up, especially the subject of our giving of it. I am not going to quote the typical passages on giving or get into a massive debate about Old Testament requirements vs New Testament requirements. We all know, regardless of what % you believe the Bible requires of believers, that followers of Jesus are called to be generous with their finances, and that giving/tithing in the local church is rooted in biblical foundations. Instead of debating the nuances of giving, I would rather get into what I believe is the most important thing: motivation.

In order to help discover your motivation, let me create a mock scenario and see how you would respond.

We are going to pretend for a moment that someone in the church struck it big financially. Rather than getting into a lottery debate, we will just say that someone started a business that became the equivalent to Apple or Microsoft. In other words: BIG BUCKS! This person in the church loves the Lord and is a generous person and so they give millions upon millions every year to the church. We can even take it up a notch; they give so much money that the church is wealthy and is searching for ways to give the money away for ministry purposes. Here is the question for you to answer: if this were the case in the church that you attended, would you continue to give faithfully or would you begin to tell yourself that you need the money more than the church does? Would you continue to give like the church needed every penny or would your giving be adjusted because of the perceived lack of difference it is making?

The reason I pose this scenario is because it is one way of getting to the core of your motivation. If you quit giving in the same way that you had previously, then your motivation for giving is driven by the basis of need that you believe exists, "The church needs my money; therefore, I give." Your giving in this scenario has less to do with a conviction about what giving does to you, and has more to do with how you feel your giving is contributing to the cause. I do not want to discount the importance of feeling like our giving is being used for the kingdom, but the primary motivator for giving should not be based on the "return on investment."

The motivation for biblical giving is supposed to be a desire to please the Lord because we love Him and His church. Our motivation for giving should be the fact that we have been given everything, yet we deserve nothing. Giving is supposed to be an overflow of our worship to God. We give cheerfully and with joy because we are serving the King of Glory in this way. Even if the church became independently wealthy, our individual giving should not plummet or disappear, rather it should continue as we always have, driven by a desire to give back to the One who has given us everything. Giving to the local church has less to do with the needs of the church (though that is important), and has more to do with the heart of the individual giving, and how the Lord is transforming them. 

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments. What do you think about the motivation for giving? What other motivators (good or bad) do you see?

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1 comment:

  1. As Luther said "My conscience is held captive by the Word of God. And to act against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

    I would still give the amount I am giving now out of obedience and love for Christ.

    Sorry for the Cliche' answer but it is the truth.