Excerpt from Tim’s forthcoming book The Good Steward
Now that we’ve covered our reasons for giving and understand the concept of grace giving, there are a few more important points to address. We have already stated that Christians should seek to start their giving at about 10 percent of their income. But to whom or what should we give these funds?
Giving Basic #1 – Giving goes to your Local Church.
This first point may seem obvious: we should give to our local church. But why? We give to our local church because God has called that church to preach and teach the Word to you. Your pastors have a responsibility before God to lead, and feed, and spiritually protect your family. They are the ones who answer the phone at 2 a.m. when disaster strikes. It is through the local church that the gospel is shared and your community is encouraged.
Giving to your local church does not include giving to other worthy non-profit organizations. We have met with Christians who believe they can give $50 a week to their local church and hundreds of dollars to other ministries. While you should give to other ministries as you are able, these funds should not come from the money that you have reserved for the local church.
Giving Basic #2 – Giving goes to the General Fund.
Rather than designating your giving to “missions”or a “building fund,” we encourage believers to give to their local church’s general fund. This is because the general fund covers the core functions of the body of Christ. You are free to give to missions, but that falls under the fourth Biblical stewardship principle of “offerings,” which we will discuss in detail later in this chapter.
Giving Basic #3 – Giving should be regular.
How often should we give? We should give regularly and consistently. If you get paid weekly, consider giving weekly. This can become a regular part of your worship pattern. If your income fluctuates, consider monthly giving based on the prior month’s income. Do not wait until the end of the year to do your giving, as it’s more likely you will be tempted to give less out of fear that you won’t have enough money for future needs. Also, when you give throughout the year, it’s likely you will limit your extra spending to keep it in line with your commitment to give.
Setting up a systematic giving plan through direct deposit, your church’s electronic applications, or through online billpay is a great way to make sure your giving is consistent. Make sure you continually review and update your giving as your income changes. We recommend that you conduct an annual review to ensure your giving reflects your current income and ability to give.
Giving Basic #4 – Giving should be anonymous and have no strings attached.
The Good Steward gives with no strings attached. We don’t give to manipulate others or for our giving to be seen by others. The Good Steward’s primary goal is to honor God who has given us everything, and to contribute funds for our local church’s Gospel ministry.
When we say giving should be anonymous, we don’t mean that you should only give cash or through completely anonymous means. We mean we shouldn’t give primarily to receive the praise of man. As content from the rest of the book will prove, we are in favor of taking tax deductions when they are offered. Anonymous giving does not mean that you shouldn’t seek to legally reduce your tax liability. Just don’t do your giving primarily for a tax benefit. Someday those tax benefits may be taken away.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (Matthew 6:3, NIV84)
Advanced Giving Bonus Points
- “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, NIV84)
- Give to inspire others (Hebrews 10:24-25). There are times and places to be anonymous, and there are times and places to inspire others with generosity.
- Take advantage of our free personal stewardship reviews so you can take your next steps to being a better steward.
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