Giving builds our relationship with God
The beauty of Jesus’ life and message is that anyone can know God in a personal way. You don’t have to give anything, act a specific way, or do anything to earn a relationship with God. If you’re looking for the minimum you need to give to a church to have eternal life, we’ve got good news for you: $0 (Jesus already paid it all through his wilful death on the cross for us). Jesus met people physically where they were at and gave them the opportunity to know God. As modern-day followers of Jesus we get a similar privilege and opportunity to know him personally.
In our journey of knowing Jesus, one of the challenges we run into is how to grow in our relationship with God in practical ways. It can be difficult to know how to “trust God” and some are disheartened by the lack of clarity of this direction.
So how do we actually grow in trusting God and develop a deeper, real relationship?
Whatever we give our time, money, and attention to shows us, and the rest of the world, what we truly value. Jesus said “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21). What we do with our money reveals what our priorities are.
Giving is one major way to tangibly develop our trust for God. It’s not ambiguous, unclear, or vague. Rather, it’s a practical, straightforward way of telling ourselves and our money who God really is. Jesus changes our hearts and deepens our relationship with him when we give.
What if I can’t afford to give?
Many people are facing difficult financial situations. When bills are constantly around the corner and the cost of living keeps going up, giving can feel like an unaffordable luxury. But the paradox of God’s kingdom is that those who have the least to give actually have the greatest opportunity.
Consider this story from Mark 12:41-44:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
This woman didn’t give to be noticed by others or to feed her pride, but despite how little she had to give, Jesus said she gave “more” than all the rest. Why? Because everyone else waited until they had the means and abundance to give, but she gave even when she couldn’t afford to. She gave everything sacrificially. It hurt.
When we give sacrificially is often when we make the biggest impact. Money, or more realistically the lifestyle it promises, can quickly turn into an idol and take the affection of our hearts when we don’t give sacrificially.
But that’s not the real reason to give…
The real reason is because we miss out on God’s work in our lives when we don’t give. One prophet in the Bible stated that God would bless his people when they gave. ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’ (Malachi 3:10). Today, that blessing isn’t necessarily financial, but God absolutely grows our relationship with him when we’re obedient.
The question isn’t “can I afford to give?” it’s really “can I afford to not?”
Why give to Multiply?
So why not just give somewhere else: missionaries, friends, whoever we run into? First of all, that’s a great way to use the money we have to make an impact in the world. Individually, we regularly financially support several missionaries and take advantage of opportunities to give to people in need we meet. But giving to a local church demonstrates a different level of buy-in and surrender to God.
When we only choose the people we want to give to, we still maintain an illusion of control of what happens with our money. When we give to a local church, we tangibly trust God, and the people he’s put in place.
When God originally created a nation of his chosen people, he commanded them to return the tithe (a tenth of whatever they had made) to the temple (Numbers 18:21,26,28b). It was viewed as money that belonged to God that he gave to the priests and Levites to run the temple duties. Jesus affirmed this command in Matthew 22:23 and the early followers of Jesus went so far as to share everything they had with one another (Acts 4:32-37).
There’s nothing wrong with giving to missions or others in need (we highly encourage that), but this giving or offering is different than a tithe given to the local church.
What does Multiply do with the money?
As Multiply, we’re dedicated to making the largest impact in the world with the money we have. We invest almost exclusively in people and food. Part of our budget makes it possible for us to have Sunday evening dinners free for anyone who comes.
We also invest in developing leaders and supporting other nonprofits (such as Greater Impact and Sacred Portion) that are helping meet tangible needs locally and globally.
Lastly, we have a small staff team that we support in order to help equip the church for ministry. We’re pretty transparent with our finances, so if you have more questions, we’d love to chat!
How do I start?
Deuteronomy 12:6 makes a distinction between a tithe and a freewill offering. A tithe is simply 10% of whatever someone made and wasn’t even viewed as something they owned, but rather something that belonged to God. 10% was given to the local temple (or in our context, church). Then freewill offerings were when someone gave above and beyond this initial tithe.
Following the example set in the Bible, a great place to start is to give 10% to the church you’re part of. Then great next steps are to give above and beyond. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of sacrificial giving (giving when it hurts) because of how God uses that to grow us spiritually.
Want to tip the credit card companies? We don’t either…
Imagine you’re in one of those old-school churches where they passed around a bucket for the offering. But at the back of the room Visa and MasterCard reps take their share of the funds leaving less to go towards the people who need it.
Unfortunately, that’s what happens when we give via debit or credit card… But there is a solution!
When we link bank account info (which we only have to do once) then the only digital cost is a 25 cent processing fee (the lowest of any processor we could find).
How can I learn more about giving and tithing in the Bible?
Here’s some additional scriptures that are worth studying to learn more about God’s view on giving and tithing:
- Numbers 18:21,26,28b
- Malachi 3:8-12
- Matthew 23:23
- Acts 4:32-37
- Matthew 6:19-21
- Mark 12:41-44
- Hebrews 7:1-10
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-10
If you have more questions we’d always love to talk