Q. There’s been a lot of distortion on giving. You have taught for thirty years how people should give. If you could briefly, in a few words, say what giving should mean, what would you say?
A. We are creatures and we have needs. God is the Creator and He has no needs. The first thing I’d say is what a shame it is that people in the churches raise money as though God needs the money. “The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof.” (Psalm 24:1) God doesn’t need our money. Jesus told his disciples not to take a scrip, which was a begging bag that heathen priests carried to beg money for their Gods. God doesn’t want us to be beggars for Him. God is the provider. Now, C.S. Lewis said it brilliantly. He says God as Creator has no needs. We as creatures have needs. God was kind enough to humble Himself to meet one of our greatest needs, the need to be needed. God could do His work with angels. He doesn’t need us. But God bowed Himself in humility and let us partner with Him, and lets us give as an expression of our value for Him, His Word, and the opportunity to serve Him. Now, we need to understand the distinction between the tithes and offerings.
The tithe is the Lord’s. That gets to the guts of honesty in relationship to God. That gets to the guts of whether or not we recognize we are bought with a price and we are not our own. That gets to the guts of the Lord’s ownership of everything, and the rest of the world are squatters on His territory. We as Christians recognize His ownership and we are honest in our dealings with God as He is faithful in His dealings with us. We give because we recognize we are the Lord’s and the earth is the Lord’s. We believe that He has promised, without any qualification, to bless those who honor Him with their tithes and offerings. Offerings go beyond the tithe and are a voluntary expression of value. Galatians 6 says, “Let him who is taught in the word share (koinonea in the Greek) share with the one who taught him in all good things.” That’s not spiritual prayers, that’s THINGS—boats, houses, land, money, jewels. God doesn’t need any of these things, but He wants us to express our understanding of the value of who He is and what He has done for us.