The landscape of money, God and the Church is filled with landmines. Unethical televangelists and prosperity preachers have left a bad taste in many mouths. But how we handle our finances — His provision — doesn’t need to be a negative experience.
Following are some questions from readers about giving to the Church, answered by Billy Graham.
Why do churches keep asking for money all the time?
Billy Graham answers: The Bible says we should give because we want to, and “not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). At the same time, churches and other ministries need money to operate; to be blunt, if they don’t have any, they’ll go out of existence.
Even Jesus’ little band of disciples had a treasurer, and the Bible mentions several women who “were helping to support them out of their own means” (Luke 8:3).
In our own ministry, we have always tried to make people aware of the opportunities we have before us, and encourage them to support us if God leads them to do so.
Does a Christian have to tithe? What is that?
Christians who want to please the Lord often have questions about tithing. The dictionary defines the word “tithe” as “a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment.” It was a common practice in the Old Testament and required of members of the nation of Israel.
Many Christians believe that this principle of giving one-tenth should be carried over to the New Testament in giving to the church and other Christian organizations. Billy Graham would fit into this category. He has said, “We have found in our own home, as have thousands of others, that God’s blessing upon the nine-tenths, when we tithe, helps it to go farther than ten-tenths without His blessing.”
The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced.
Isn’t tithing just for rich people? What if I can’t afford to give?
Billy Graham answers: Tithing is a commendable goal and is a worthy standard for our giving–and no, it isn’t just for rich people. On one occasion, Jesus commended a poor widow because “she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44). She did it out of her love for God.
In the Old Testament, tithing was an important part of the worship of God’s people, and God promised to bless them if they obeyed His command to tithe. The Bible says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse … and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10). Think how much greater our impact on the world would be if every Christian followed this injunction.
Someone has said that our giving is the true measure of our commitment to Christ–and it’s true. Which should be more important: your wallet, or God’s work? But which actually is more important to you and your husband? Put Christ first in your life, and then ask Him to help you use the resources He has given you for His service.
The Bible says, “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). The more we love Christ, the more we will want to advance His work by our giving.
OTHER ’101′ ARTICLES: