God’s plan is for Christians to support the advancement of the Gospel through tithes and offerings: “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
The idea of tithing goes back to earliest biblical history. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:6). The Law of Moses specified that the Levites should collect tithes from the people (Hebrews 7:5). Though a tenth part of one’s income is indicated as the tithe, this should not limit the extent of giving for those who have the means and the will to give more.
The New Testament teaches that Christians should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately to support the local church, the needy, evangelism, and missions (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Giving out of a heart filled with God’s love is to be a characteristic of the born-again believer: “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for
God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6–8).
As we respond to the needs of God’s work, He promises that our own needs will be supplied: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
1. Determine if the inquirer is a Christian. If not, explain that the first gift God expects of us is ourselves. Present “Steps to Peace with God,” –Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD
Encourage him or her to take a positive stand for Christ, to get into the Word of God, to cultivate habits of prayer, and to become a part of a Bible-teaching church for the purposes of fellowship, Bible study, and opportunities for service.
2. Share the following with anyone asking advice on giving:
A. Become an active, participating Christian in a local, Bible-teaching church. Being part of a fellowship of believers will provide challenges, along with motivation and perspective, in giving.
B. Pray for wisdom in your giving, then investigate, so that you know to whom you are giving. Many non-evangelical and even cult-like organizations receive regular gifts from Christians who lack spiritual discernment. Know before you give!
C. To whom should the Christian give?
(1) A substantial part of your tithes and offerings should go to your own local church.
(2) Another portion should be set aside and used for the poor or for those with special needs. This also may be handled through your local church.
(3) There are many ministries in evangelism, missions, and benevolence which are worthy of the Christian’s support. Make provision for some of them.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10).
“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove 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 such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’” (Malachi 3:10).
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2–4, NIV).
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17–19, NIV).
Other suggested Scriptures:
The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996