Why do Christians give? In other words: why would someone ever decide to regularly take part of their income and give it away? The answer is simple, yet somewhat complex. And I started answering this question in my last article – if you missed it, no worries, check it out here!
Though there are many reasons Christians give, I believe there are five overarching principles we see in Scripture for giving! First, Christians give because what we “own” is actually not “ours.” It’s God’s! Second, we give because God calls us to give (in other words, we give out of loving obedience). But these aren’t all the reasons, let’s take a look at three more!
3. We Give as an Act of Sacrificial Worship
Giving is a financial act of worship. When we give, we sacrificially lay down the money that God has generously entrusted to us. We are saying, “Lord, I love you; I want to honor you, thank you, praise you, and trust you by giving this money to the furthering of your kingdom.”
We see sacrificial giving as worship very early on in Scripture! In Genesis 4:4, Abel worships the Lord by bringing an offering that consisted of “the firstborn of his flock.” For Abel to give of the firstborn of his flock means that he gave the best and costliest portion of what he had. Abel gave out of an extreme act of devotion to the Lord, to worship and honor him.
One of the most beautiful acts of worship in Jesus’s earthly ministry is found in John 12 when Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus’s feet with a pound of “expensive ointment” and then wipes Jesus’s feet with her hair. In this action, Mary worshiped the Son of God by sacrificially giving (or gifting) him with a very precious and costly perfume. In this one generous act, Mary made her deep love, affection, and honor known. She worshipped him.
4. We Give to Advance the Gospel
The very reason Paul calls on the Corinthians to give in 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 9 is to support the work of the gospel in Jerusalem—the Galatians gave to Jerusalem as well. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 16:3, “And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.”
The ministry of the Apostle Paul himself was supported by the generosity of local churches that were enabling gospel advancement throughout the Greco-Roman world. Paul thanks the Philippians in 4:18 stating “I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
This demonstrates that the Lord works through you and I to further his kingdom in many ways. He brings about strategic gospel impact through the talents he has entrusted to us, through our geographic location, evangelism, relationships, and generous giving. When you give to your local church, you are giving to further spread the good news of Jesus Christ in your community and around the globe!
5. We Give Because it’s Better
In Paul’s final words to the elders in Ephesus, he reminded them of the need to work hard and care for the weak and hurting in their community. To make clear his command for generous giving, he quoted Jesus in Acts 20:35, stating “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “
Quite simply, why do we give? Because it’s better!
So, why have followers of Jesus Christ, sought to be generous with all that God has entrusted to them for thousands of years? Why do Christians give?
- Because all we have is God’s (we are stewards, not owners)
- Because God calls us to give
- Because it is an act of sacrificial worship
- To advance the Gospel
- Because it’s better
Maybe you’re reading this article and you’ve never given to your local church. My encouragement to you today, is to prayerfully consider taking this step of faith to begin your giving journey!