Even with the tax benefits, our giving will never make rational sense (especially financially speaking) unless viewed from a biblical perspective. So what does the bible say about giving and what are some principles to follow?
One day all believers will stand before the Lord for an evaluation of their lives on earth. Each of us should wonder whether I will hear Him say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:21), or watch as most of my works are destroyed by the fire of judgment (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10).
With this in mind, take a look at Mark 6:30-44 for some key principles that can aid you in your giving process.
Principle 1. Jesus instructed His disciples to "come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). The first step in determining your giving plan is to get alone with Jesus. Unless you hear His still, small voice, you cannot take the second step profitably.
Principle 2. Mark 6:24 tells us that when Jesus returned, He saw a great multitude and "was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd." The second principle is that our plan must not become our god. Jesus planned to go away to a quiet place with His men; but when He saw the needs of so many, His plan changed. Rigid, unalterable commitment to any plan is a serious mistake. Allow God to work in and around your plan. Consider it to have been written in the sand, and give God the opportunity to wash it clean and say, "Start over."
Principle 3. In Mark 6:35-36, Jesus' disciples suggest that the crowd be sent away so they could buy food before it gets too late. What's wrong with this advice? Nothing really - it is practical and logical. Even so, it is wrong because it is not in accordance with what Jesus intended. The point is, do not look merely at what is practical when it comes to giving. Let God do things His way in His time. Furthermore, realize that worldly advice may be logical but not necessarily right or Godly.
Principle 4. Next Jesus instructs His men to have the people sit down. That really makes little sense, because they had no food to feed them. But they obeyed Him nonetheless. The principle here is that we must obey God, no questions asked. If God says to give, then give.
Principle 5. The disciples tell the people to sit down (v. 40). Three elements were present that are always present in a faith plan: (1) The disciples could not see how the people would be fed; likewise, we may not see how our financial goal can be accomplished. (2) They did not have the resources to meet their objective, which may also be the case with our financial plan. (3) They did not know the next step to take to fulfill God's plan. In the same way, our faith plan may require action we don't fully understand. That's why it is called a faith plan.
Principle 6. Of course, it was a miracle; all the people ate and were filled, with 12 baskets of leftovers. The results of operating according to a faith plan are that the goals will be reached, God will be glorified, and personal growth will result. You would at least expect the disciples to grow in their faith, but then you read Mark 6:51-52. The disciples were on a boat in the middle of the lake, when here comes Jesus walking on the water toward them. "And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their hearts were hardened." It seems unbelievable that the disciples would react that way, but they did.
Your challenge is not to leave God out of your plan for giving. Don't close your mind to what may look like impossible goals; do not miss the miracle.
God simply wants you to take the first step. Then you can take the second, and the third. As a result, your giving can bring joy to you and pleasure to God, so that when you stand before Him, you will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
[The bible has more to say about money and possessions than any other topic and no one article can scratch the surface. Please use the information in this article as a personal spring board into your own study of what God would have you do with what he has provided.]
The National Planning Group of Ronald Blue & Co. is a unique division within RB&Co. that serves the everyday steward - For more information you can visit their website: www.everydaysteward.com.