Writer: Patrick McDonald
Big Idea: What if I need money for something else? What if I have an unexpected expense? Is anybody else giving this much? The reason most of us are hesitant to give isn’t greed but fear. Yet, the principle of sowing and reaping applies to our finances. God promises to refill generous sowers with enough seed so they can continue sowing for their entire lifetime. In order to overcome our fear, we must recognize everything we have is already God’s. In every area of our life God is asking, “Do you trust Me here?” What’s a good giving strategy? Priority giving (prioritize giving in your budget), *Percentage giving (this puts your giving into proper perspective), Progressive giving (increasing the percentage over the years so that your faith continues to grow). Giving is a spiritual experience and when your Father meets your needs, your fear will have met its match. Eventually, giving provides joy . . . deep joy. Just beyond a fear of giving is a depth of joy only generosity will deliver.
*If a tithe of 10 percent feels too scary, pick a percentage where you can start. Try it for one or two months and see what happens. God is probably asking you, “Do you trust me here?”
Key passages: 2 Cor. 9:6-11, Matt 6:25, 31-33
When Amy and I were newly married, money was tight. Rent, loans, gas, and groceries added up very quickly, so every dollar was precious to us. We knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but we saw tithing as an opportunity for us to worship God and trust in His provision. Some months it was easier, some months it was harder. But along the way, God made it clear that He was trustworthy.
After going on a short-term mission trip, we sensed God asking us to financially support our friends who were serving overseas. Our giving provided less than 1% of their annual budget, so we knew this was really about God stretching us in our faith. During these early years of marriage, we learned to trust God when we were willing to obey Him in faith. Sometimes this meant budgeting well and learning to live with less, because that is what following Scripture required. Other times we experienced God’s provision through the generosity of others in big ways and in small ways. The whole time, God was giving us opportunities to grow in our faith and to learn to trust Him, both now and in the future.
It doesn’t matter if you make a lot or if you make a little, giving money to God’s Kingdom takes faith. If you are a spender, tithing takes faith, because you know you are “missing out” on some fun purchases when you choose to give money to the church instead. If you are a saver, you are fully aware that saving up for a down payment on a house or a car repair is going to take longer if you regularly tithe instead. I think Scripture talks about how we view money, because God knows that money can get in the way of our relationship with Him and our relationships with others. He knows giving isn’t always easy for us, which is why He promises to take care of us.
The Bible talks about giving in obedience, giving with a joyful heart, and trusting God to provide for us. I can tell you firsthand, that giving doesn’t always “feel” joyful, and it doesn’t always “feel” easy. But the best way to get there, is to step out in faith, and start giving. When we give to God’s Kingdom, He transforms our hearts to seek Him first. And He promises to take care of us and to reward us in different ways. I can also speak from experience that the best rewards come from seeing God work with the money that I have given to various ministries. The deep meaningful joy that I’ve experience by seeing lives changed, is worth more than anything else I could have spent the money on.
- If anyone is new, start here, if not go to question 2: When/how did you become aware of God’s love? Who were the people who played a key role in your spiritual journey? How? What are 2/3 key moments in your relationship with God?
- What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word money? Why?
- What is your experience with tithing?
Read Matthew 6:19-34, 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
- What treasures do we store up for ourselves on earth?
- How do we store up treasure in heaven?
- Why are we as people prone to trust money rather than God?
- What makes giving money to ministry hard? What makes giving money to ministry easy?
- What is the difference between healthy and unhealthy consuming and hoarding?
- What is one way that God might be asking you to take a risk with your money this week, this month, or this year?
Prayer: Take a moment to share prayer requests and pray for each other.
Weekly Prayer Focus: Ask God where you need to take a risk and trust Him with your finances.