Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.
After forty years of preaching, I have discovered an interesting anatomical insight: the most sensitive part of the human body is the pocketbook. Trust me, nothing evokes more controversy in a church than whenever you start talking about giving. Yet giving is an important part of church life, and our view of giving to the church is impacted by our understanding of grace.
Some people take a very rigid view of giving. They say 10 percent is the standard for giving–no more, no less. They quote Malachi 3:10, where God told the Israelites to “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.” They even point out that Jesus, who condemned the Pharisees for many things, at least commended them for giving their tithes (Luke 11:42).
However, there are other people who point out that this is the only mention of tithing in the New Testament. They say the New Testament standard is not tithing but “grace giving.” They quote 1 Corinthians 16:2, in which Paul said everyone should give as God has prospered him. In reality, for most people, “grace giving” means giving as little as you possibly can to the church without being overwhelmed by guilt–and apparently, there are a lot of Christians who have a high threshold for guilt because they give very, very little. That is a poor understanding of grace. Bad grace says I can give as little as I want, but good grace says I should give as much as I can.
When we understand the concept of grace, we understand that everything we own belongs to God. One problem about getting fixated on that 10 percent number is we have the idea that the other 90 percent belongs to us, and we can do whatever we want to with it. The fact is, it all belongs to God, not just the 10 percent. In Job 41:11, God said, “Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.” We do not own anything; we are simply managers of what God has given to us.
Randy Alcorn talked about that in his book “The Treasure Principle.” He wrote, “Our name is on God’s account. We have unrestricted access to it. As His money managers, God trusts us to set our own salaries. We draw needed funds from His wealth to pay our living expenses. One of our central spiritual decisions is determining a reasonable amount to live on. Whatever that amount is–and it will legitimately vary from person to person–we shouldn’t hoard or indiscriminately spend the excess. After all, it’s His, not ours.” Everything we have belongs to God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Churches – Part 2” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Randy Alcorn, “The Treasure Principle,” rev. ed. (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2017), 27-28.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org