Where Should I Put My Money?
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
"I've always had a heart for missions and the needy," writes a Guidelines' friend, "and our church does not support Christian missions. Sometimes I don't approve the decisions of the church and how the money is used. A bit extravagant at times.... What is right in God's eyes?"
Like a barber who doesn't quite like the haircut and keeps snipping away until the customer wishes he could glue some hair back on, this issue of giving never quite goes away. Yes, we agree that what we have belongs to the Lord, and we want to demonstrate that we are committed to that truth by giving at least a tenth, as much as Old Testament saints. But to whom do we give it?
If you haven't noticed, friend, there are more outstretched hands than at any time in history. You can't support everybody, so who should get your money?
The first question that has to be settled is simply, "To whom does my tithe belong?" And Leviticus 27:30 settled that clearly. It says that a tithe--or a tenth of my income--"belongs to the Lord." O.K., who is God’s representative to collect it for Him? My local church? Missionaries? Groups such as Guidelines, Campus Crusade, or Navigators, a Christian radio station, or the lady ringing the bell for the Salvation Army?
Second question: "Are these various groups also an integral part of the church, ones specializing in outreach to different segments of a hurting, broken world?" If so, do they also deserve my support, and if so, how much?
The New Testament clearly says that the local church is to be supported. I Corinthians 15 is clear in this regard. But there are other areas of ministry today—a vital part of the church too--which can and also must be supported.
Some say, "Once you have given your money to the Lord, you are no longer responsible for what happens to it." Don't believe that for a moment. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25, stresses your individual, personal responsibility in seeing that what you give is used wisely and for the purpose for which it was given. When money that you give is squandered, or the lifestyle of the pastor or a Christian leader is extravagant, I'd invest God's money where humility and commitment are evident. God expects that. It is His money that you bear responsibility for, and in that sense you need to invest wisely!
The account of Abraham who paid a tithe or a tenth to Melchizedek suggests that we ought to give where we are blessed. True, you don't go to your favorite local restaurant for a meal and then send your money to your cousin who runs a hamburger joint in another town. Right? If a ministry meets a need in your life, and you are blessed by that ministry, and you believe that those in charge are good stewards of God's money, then that ministry is worthy of your support.
Today, no legitimate ministry can do less than commit to full and complete disclosure. "...Provide things honest in the sight of all men," wrote Paul in Romans 12:17, (King James version). Whether it is a church or an organization, accountability and full disclosure are reasonable responses; for they, too, are stewards of God's money.
A closing thought to this entire series: Your motive in giving is so important. Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians? "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). How improve on that?
Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 9