Sunday at Grace Fellowship, we looked at Philippians 4:10-20 together in our morning sermon. I know that many people were wanting the answer to the question, “Should we tithe or not as Christians?” That was not the point of our text. As we saw, Paul is praising God for the faithful giving of the Philippian church. The outline of the sermon centered on five points:
- We thank God for the giving of believers (4:10).
- We are content in whatever circumstance because Christ strengthens us (4:11-13).
- We are partnering together and with others for the work of the Gospel Mission (4:14-16).
- We embrace the spiritual and eternal importance of giving (4:17).
- We worship God through our giving and trust in His supply for our giving (4:18-20).
As you can see, nothing in this passage indicates that there is a required amount that believers should give to the cause of the Gospel Mission. The New Testament does not teach that our giving is tied to a percentage of our income or a total amount of money. But I want to ask this question: “Do you believe that the Apostle Paul would have expected believers in the New Covenant to use their freedom to give less than the believers of the Old Covenant?” I can’t imagine that the attitude of the early church was to give the minimum offering to the Lord and His Church. The principle of extravagant grace is that because God has given us everything in Christ, we are free to give without reservation back to Him and His Kingdom! According to 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 we are to be cheerful givers. We could never out-give God!
So, I offer these practical considerations with all that I have stated above in mind. The last thing I would ever want you to do is raise a lawful standard in your heart that is rigid and not seasoned with grace. But, as one of your pastors, I do want to give you some practical guidance in giving.
- When thinking about the opportunity to give to the cause of Christ through your local church, begin with a heart of thankfulness for the privilege to be part of the mission.
- Make a commitment to give at least 10% of your total yearly salary to the local church.
- After giving 10% as a minimum, pray about increasing your giving each year. The easiest way to do this is by giving 10% the first year. Increase your giving by 1% each year for the rest of your life. Most of us would never notice a 1% increase in giving per year. It is steady and incremental so that it can be maintained over the course of your life.
- Consider giving to approved missionaries and Christian agencies that are helping to take the Gospel to the world. This should be done over and above your commitment to the local church.
- Keep a close watch over your heart and your family so that you do not slip into materialism. Our culture is always pushing us to want more stuff to try to make us happy. Keep a close eye on your heart and family so that you do not slide into idolatry through materialism over the course of time.
I am convinced that if we all gave in this manner to our church that God would overwhelm us with the amount of work that could be funded through Grace Fellowship. You might have a plan in the area of giving that you already feel is what God is using in your life to His glory and your good. The above five step plan is meant as an encouragement and practical application of what I believe the Bible teaches, but you do not need to treat this as binding to your conscience. Let’s be cheerful givers together for the glory of God!!