Giving. A subject nobody likes to talk about… except Jesus (no wonder He got crucified!). “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt. 6:21). In other words, “Your heart follows your treasure; it must be led.” And, “No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and money” (Mt. 6:24). “In other words, one must be yielded to the other. Giving yields money to God.” And, “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mt. 13:22). In other words, “Money is deceitful. If it isn’t given, it will choke.”
Giving in support of Christ’s mission, then, guides our hearts toward true and lasting treasure, establishes and reveals our true allegiance, and keeps the Word from being choked and proving unfruitful. No wonder Jesus talked about it so much!
As the new year begins, it’s a good time to talk about your giving, the spiritual discipline and benefit of giving and the actual amount you plan to give. The truth is our vocations (our callings in life) make claims on us. Are you a father or mother, husband or wife, neighbor, student, citizen, or church member? These vocations make claims on you, on your time, on your resources, on your prayers. They call you beyond yourself to give of yourself – and this is good! Giving does the same thing; it pulls our inside out, from inside ourselves out into the lives of others and into the mission of Christ.
God pulled Israel beyond itself when He called them to give in support of the tabernacle. Scripture says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution… And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst’” (Ex. 25:1, 8). Take careful notice of God’s Word: that I may dwell in their midst. Through the tabernacle, through the priesthood, through the festivals, through these God-given means, God would dwell among His redeemed people. Their giving supported the means through which God made Himself present among His people.
God dwells among us still today. We celebrate the enfleshed tabernacling of God among us in Christ’s incarnation: and the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:14). This Word comes to us through the preaching office in which the Word and Sacraments of God are brought into our midst. As such, we give not to a budget, but to the support and furtherance of this mission and ministry.
How much should we give? While the precedent of the tithe (10% of income) is presented in Scripture (and endorsed by Jesus!), there is no Biblical law. If the tithe is beyond your reach, you will find wisdom in the practice of percentage giving. You can pick your percent: 2%, 4%, 8% (or you may consider something higher if God has blessed you with greater resources). If your income increases, so will your gift; if it decreases, so will your gift, but your percentage can stay the same.
There is wisdom in percentage giving. Try it for 2020. Try it and watch your heart follow your treasure and see the mission and ministry of the Church grow! – Pastor Conner
Want to talk more or learn about automatic electronic giving or giving online or through Zion’s app, stop in and visit or log on to www.zionmanning.com or download the Zion app.