“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness,
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions…
For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also.”
— Lord Jesus Christ
In light of the fact that God, by his gracious and generous providence, keeps supplying what we need when we need it, we wish to give him all glory and praise, for from him, through him, and to him are all things.
We do not teach on stewarding, tithing, and offering often enough — so rarely, in fact, that it’s hard to recall the last time — but we need to touch on it every once in a while for God’s glory and for your good.
As we were reminded in a recent sermon, there are right ways and wrong ways to look at our possessions. To help us keep our money and other things in proper perspective, the Lord has given us the responsibility and liberty to give of our means, make tithes and freewill offerings, and share our resources with each other, as an act of worship and service, in order to support the ministries of Christ the Lord and his church.
In accord with the Scriptures, the Directory for the Worship of God in our Book of Church Order states:
54-1. The Holy Scriptures teach that God is the owner of all persons and all things and that we are but stewards of both life and possessions; that God’s ownership and our stewardship should be acknowledged; that this acknowledgment should take the form, in part, of giving at least a tithe of our income and other offerings to the work of the Lord through the Church of Jesus Christ, thus worshipping the Lord with our possessions; and that the remainder should be used as becomes Christians.
54-2. It is both a privilege and a duty, plainly enjoined in the Bible, to make regular, weekly, systematic and proportionate offerings for the support of religion and for the propagation of the Gospel in our own, and foreign lands, and for the relief of the poor. This should be done as an exercise of grace and an act of worship, and at such time during the service as may be deemed expedient by the Session.
As explained in our Membership Orientation Guide, all members of Christ Covenant Church are expected, in obedience to the Word of God, to practice grace-giving by cheerfully and freely giving of their material increase to the ministry and mission of this church (Matthew 23:23; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14; 16:1; Hebrews 7:1-10). Our tithes, gifts, and offerings are a token of God’s gifts to us our gifts to him.
All baptized Christians wishing to become members of a PCA congregation have prayerfully considered the following question — Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability? — and humbly answered in the affirmative.
Tithes and Offerings
Supporting the worship and mission of the church to the best of your ability certainly includes much more than giving your money, but it does not include less.
God is sovereign over all things, yet he works through ordinary means to accomplish extraordinary ends.
Like other institutions, churches need resources, including money, to carry out their ministry and mission in the world. A glad, generous, grace-giving church is able to do many more things for the glory of God and the good of others than a grumpy, greedy church.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, so we do not require any members to give beyond what they decide to give according to their faith and good conscience. However, we would like to see our members grow in the grace of giving – to make a commitment to give joyfully, intentionally, regularly, and generously as an act of worship.
Statistics show us that most Christians only give 3% or so. Yet we have received much more under the Gospel than our forefathers received under the Law. So we want to urge our members to make every effort to give at least 10% of their income to the Lord. As grace enables them, they may freely give above and beyond that. (Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:3-5, 8-9; 1 Timothy 6:17-18; Hebrews 13:5-8)
We want you to think and pray about ways you can faithfully steward what God has given you. Meet needs around you generously as you see needs. Give to specific ministry projects as they arise. Pay your bills and debts. Invest wisely. But, give the first-fruits of your money to the Lord first. As the Scripture says,
Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
When we give in this way, we are trusting and obeying God’s word. We are also reminding ourselves that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Finally, we are demonstrating that we possess our wealth, but it does not possess us.
A Giving Plan
1. Evaluate your own heart and life with regard to money. What do you most enjoy spending money on? What percentage of your income is going 1) to God’s Kingdom (your church, other Christian ministries), and 2) to help those in need (outside your family)? How close is it to 10% of your income? Read Matthew 6:19-34, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 9:6-15. How might you need to adjust your giving in light of gospel virtues?
2. Do you have a regular plan for giving? First, decide what percentage of your income you will give to the Lord’s work this year. Then, ask yourself if this is sacrificial and, on the other hand, if this is responsible. Last, whenever money comes in, set aside the Lord’s portion first, with the understanding that it is his, not yours.
3. Prayerfully distribute the money among Christian causes. We hope your local church is your primary avenue of spiritual growth, and giving to your home church will be a first priority. But there are other churches, missionaries, and ministries that are worthy of support as well.
4. Evaluate your use of “non-liquid” resources. For example, are you using your car for God’s glory by giving people rides? Are you using your house to God’s glory by inviting people in (hospitality)? Do you have special resources that God has blessed you with? If so, are you generous with those?
A Giving Worksheet
Your income and giving is between you and the Lord. We do not ask or require you to show us the results of this exercise, but it might help you prioritize and set goals according to God’s word.
My annual (weekly / monthly) income is $__________________ A tithe of that take-home income (10%) is $__________________ My offering beyond the title will be $ _______________
You can give weekly or monthly as God’s grace allows.
Giving is an act of worship, so we encourage you to give your tithes on the Lord’s day. Or you may give online as well.
As always, we commend you for your growth in the grace of giving and for your faithful generosity over the years, without which we would not be able to do the Lord’s work in our corner of the world. But there is always room to grow.
Resources on Money Matters
Video: A Short Theology Of Financial Giving
Note: Much of this was taken from our Membership Orientation Guide. That guide draws on various resources shared with us by other PCA pastor friends.