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How Christians struggle with money issues and the importance of financial stewardship and developing a biblical giving plan

A Biblical Giving Plan
By Bill & Maureen Sitter

God knew that 21st century Christians would struggle with money issues, and that the devil would try to twist any discussions of tithes, freewill offerings or alms for the poor. That's why His Word - the Bible - is so full of scriptural advice in the area of financial stewardship and giving.

We firmly believe that God wants our hearts and not "our money". Let's examine 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (KJV) for insight about the grace He wants to give us, so we can be blessed and cheerful givers. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." In verse 8:7, God again speaks of us excelling in the grace of giving.

Picture two hearts. One has Jesus at the center and one has a dollar sign. What's the point? If God has our full attention, we will make good use of "His Money" - not "our money". This may be a huge shift in viewpoints. That's fine, because God uses His Word and the Holy Spirit to convict us to change, but never to condemn us.

God's money? Yes - Psalm 50:10 & 11 explains that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. 1 Corinthians 10:26 and Psalm 24:1 reinforce the fact that the Lord owns the entire earth and all it contains. Deuteronomy 8:18 further tells us that even our ability to produce wealth (any talent we possess) is a gift from God. In this context - knowing that all we have or ever will possess comes from God - it is much easier to get our hearts tender about giving.

In the book Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus, a full chapter is devoted to developing a three-part Biblical Giving Plan. Briefly, let's touch on paying tithes, giving freewill offerings, and sowing alms.

Paying tithes is both an Old and New Testament concept. Malachi 3:8-12 is most often referenced (please read all five verses). The Word speaks of robbing God, and of bringing the whole tithe into the "storehouse" (church where you are fed); and of testing God who promises to rebuke the devourer (devil) and to pour out blessings. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus reinforced the ten percent tithe when he rebuked the Pharises. They were tithing on garden plants and not showing justice, mercy and faithfulness. He exhorted them to tithe but to also display righteousness in their daily lives. Proverbs 3:8-10 promises health, if we honor the Lord with our first fruits.

Today, most believers are not farmers so we tithe from our income. We encourage you to pray (together if married) and seek God's wisdom. We are confident that you will desire to pay the ten percent first fruits tithe to God. Your church is the ideal recipient of the full tithe because that is your "storehouse", where you are spiritually fed.

Freewill offerings are in addition to the tithe and the amount and timing are up to you. We do urge married couples to agree and to involve children in the giving plan, as this develops young hearts to be giving hearts. Jesus told His disciples, in Matthew 28:19&20 to go and preach the salvation message (Great Commission) to the world. In
1 Corinthians 9:14 Paul explains that preachers of the gospel should be funded by other believers. Today, there are many churches, ministries and missionaries who spread the good news of salvation. Pray and seek the Holy Spirit's guidance on where and how you should give, beyond the tithe.

Alms are sown for the poor, for widows, and orphans. There are a number of fine Christian and civil charitable organizations - such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. See the following scriptures: Proverbs 19:17 and 22:9, 1 Timothy 5:16, and Luke 12:33 & 34. Then put faith into action!

Develop and execute your own giving plan. Include all three: tithes, offerings, and alms as vital elements in your commitment to Christian stewardship.

Water your giving - your seed - with prayer and scripture. Give from the heart, with joy; and keep your giving private, in accordance with Matthew 6: 1&2.

Expect God to multiply your seed because He is the inventor of "heavenly math". That's right, in Matthew 13:23 (the Parable of the Sower), Jesus spoke of 30, 60 or 100 fold returns for seed sown in good soil. Use your calculator and see that this equates to 3,000%, 6,000% and 10,000% returns. Now, we don't know how God will multiply the seed, and we never want to try to manipulate God. But, somewhere He will do the math and a small seed will produce a big harvest. This kind of giving blesses others and blesses the giver.


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