The MATH of Giving is part of the series, Mrs Disciple 101.
Is there a touchier subject than giving in the evangelical church? Images of sweaty t.v. preachers wearing olive green aviator eye glasses giving a plea for more money have forever marred the beautiful exchange between believer and Savior. In our pursuit of discipleship, however, the practice of giving cannot be avoided.
What We Give
There is more to giving than dropping cash and coins in the plate as it passes in front of you on Sunday morning. We give our material possessions and ourselves. God calls us to give our Money, Attention, Time, and Honor. (M.A.T.H.)
Sacrifice is woven through the Old Testament like a red thread in a tapestry, starting in Genesis 4:4. The command to tithe (a tenth of our income) originates in Leviticus 27:30. It carries through to the New Testament (Hebrews 7:1-11). It is a step of faith to write that check when we our finances are uncertain. It is an act of worship, this sacrifice of our financial resources. He promises to meet our needs as we give Him the first part of our income (Malachi 3:6-12).
When we attend to the needs of others, we offer a “fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). Jesus taught us that, as we serve those around us, we are, in fact, serving Him.
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)
It is really, really, really hard to stop. Listen. Be still. Giving God our time, that can sometimes challenge us more than giving our money. He calls us to be still and focus on Him (Psalm 46:10). That means putting away our lists, turning off our phones, and often times waking up a little early to give Him the time He wants with us. Jesus was busy with being Messiah, but even He put a priority on time with the Father.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)
God delights in our praise. He created us to bring himself glory. We honor Him with our sacrifice of praise. We honor Him when we share the Truth of the Gospel with others. We honor Him when we speak His name, offering hope to those around us.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
Let us not stop at placing our gifts on the alter. It goes deeper than that. The condition of our heart matters more than what we give. We explore that in The GRACE Behind the MATH.