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Give More: The Call to Generous Living

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reflecting on the call upon all Christians to live and give generously. As Paul exhorts the church in Corinth, we are to “excel in thisgrace of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7). When I teach on giving, I will typically use a phrase borrowed from Randy Alcorn.

  • Give more
  • Give more often
  • Give more strategically

Over the next few days, we will reflect on each of those phrases and what it means to give more, give more often and give more strategically. We will look at the first two today as they are simple and straightforward to understand (though convicting and challenging to implement), and then the third (and least understood) over the next two days.

Give More

To give more is to reflect on what you currently give and to ask God how much he wants you to give. While you may need a plan to progressively move from your current giving to that new level of giving, even in so doing, you are giving more than you had previously.

I know that throughout Christianity, there is a lot of talk about the ongoing role of the tithe in the church. Randy Alcorn makes what I think is a helpful comment on this point, “The tithe is giving’s training wheels.” Ten percent, what was required as a minimum from the poorest Israelite, gives us a good starting point as we learn to trust in the provision of God. From there, we grow our giving both in absolute dollars and in relative percent. There is one person I know who made a goal to be a “reverse tither,” that is, he and his wife wanted to give 90% and live on 10%. Now that is a radical commitment to giving more!

Give More Often

Similar to the first, the concept behind “give more often” is easy to comprehend. My recommendation is that your goal would be to give as often as you get paid. There are many people who give monthly or quarterly or even yearly. That $10,000 check in the offering plate sure looks impressive. But my challenge to that person would be to give $200 every week rather than $10,000 once a year. The amount may be the same. The difference is incalculable.

There are two primary reasons that giving more often that I put forward to people wrestling through their giving: for their own good and for the church’s good. First, giving is a spiritual discipline where we consciously say, “God, this is yours, not mine.” We learn to trust in God’s faithful provision. We learn to let go of the things of this world for the purpose of inviting others to join us in the next one. Giving, at its core, is a discipleship issue. When we give more often, we bear fruit of growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The second reason to give more often is for the good of the church. Those “big” once a year gifts are nice, but they are awful, from a practical standpoint, in helping the church budget. A cash infusion can be a nice boost, but I don’t know any church (or any other non-profit for that matter) that prefers big gifts over regular, ongoing gifts. It is those faithful, regular gifts that allow the church to budget well for its ministry to the world.

Having discussed the first two of give more and give more often, tomorrow’s post will address the mostly frequently asked question on this point, “What does it mean to give more strategically?”

Interact: What steps have you taken in your own life to give more or to give more often?

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