The Bible clearly says that Christians are to give, but is it always as clear about where we should give? We all have to make decisions about where we will give from our limited resources. So a good question to ask is, does God care where we give? We’ll talk about that with David Wills.
David Wills is President Emeritus of the National Christian Foundation. He’s spent a lot of time helping individuals and families decide not just how, but where to give.
- Wills recently wrote an article for NFC titled “Does God Care Where We Give?” In that article, he points out that we sometimes have things backwards. David explains:
- The main idea is that we tend to give in areas of personal passion or to places we care about. And yes, it’s possible we have this a bit backward. Isn’t it important to put God at the center of the equation and see what he thinks? How do you decide where to give?
- And how do we determine what God thinks in such a unique time as right now?
- God cares about each of us. He allows us to steward financial resources for his glory and our good. He knows that as we glorify him out of gratitude for his gifts to us, we experience true life. And he desires that we reflect his generosity through our giving.
- If we make obedience to God and reflecting His love to the world our supreme motivation, then giving comes into view as an excellent context to glorify God.
- HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHERE GOD WANTS US TO GIVE?
- God’s Word isn’t silent on this topic. We see three geographic areas for us to target and two things to support in six specific areas. Acts 1:8 gives us a glimpse of three areas where we will be witnesses for Christ. It says:
- “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
- Picture this as concentric circles: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth.
- This is instructive for us when we’re thinking about our giving, too. Jerusalem identifies what is local. Judea, for Jesus’ disciples, meant going further and broadening the scope of their work to bring the message of the gospel to everyone. Samaria meant going somewhere they wouldn’t have gone had Jesus not chosen to send them, and the ends of the earth was as far as they could go.
- So how does that challenge us to think about our giving? Does God’s Word tell us who we should give to?
- It challenges you to ask, “what about me? Am I strategic enough in my giving to think where I’m giving locally, nationally, and internationally?” God has a heart for all three.
- And that leads us to the next issue. There are two things that God’s Word tells us will last forever. We can safely assume that God cares deeply about both of them. Those two things are God’s Word and people.
- We can give toward God’s Word, by supporting the translation, distribution, teaching, and preaching of the Scriptures. We can give toward God’s people by supporting workers spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to those who have not yet heard it. We find this in 3 John 5-8:
- “Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”
- That kind of giving undoubtedly glorifies God.
- While the Bible doesn’t spell everything out in as much detail as we might like, when it comes to people, it does give us a few more clear instructions about where (or to whom) we should give. In the Bible, six groups of people surface repeatedly as recipients of giving. God seems to have these groups on His heart, so we probably should, too!
- The first is to care for the poor and oppressed. God has a special concern for the poor “in need,” especially those within the Christian community. We see this in 1 John 3:16-17:
- “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”
- That's a fairly general statement, but the Bible also specifically says we should care for orphans and widows, the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, prisoners, refugees, and victims of calamity.
- As you focus on laying up treasure so that your heart aligns with God’s, remember these categories don’t exhaust the things to which a Christian may give. But they point you to support what God cares about locally, nationally, and internationally while giving you room for creative freedom. And more creative thinking may be needed when God is calling you to something specific.
- Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” So, my best advice is to focus on laying up treasure in such a way that it aligns our hearts with the heart of God. I’m not sure there is anything that could lead to greater joy.
On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- After helping out family members in getting a mortgage, does it make sense to do a quit claim deed as they refinance to take your name off the loan?
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