How Believers Are To Give Financially To Support God’s Work In The New Testament

Giving to support God’s work and God’s people is encouraged throughout Scripture, as it helps to meet needs in God’s house, as well as foster God’s work on earth. God is well pleased with such sacrifices and has promised to bless such gracious givers abundantly. In the Old Testament, giving was achieved mostly through mandatory offerings like tithes, first-fruits, sin-offerings, peace-offerings, etc,. How are believers to give financially to support God’s work and the needy in the New Testament, now that Christians are no longer under the Law, and are not subject to the mandatory laws of giving as contained in the now abolished Old Covenant? We shall examine relevant portions of the New Testament Scriptures to find the principles of giving for New Testament believers.

2 Corinthians 8:7 But since you excel in everything —in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich (NIV).

According to the Apostle Paul, giving is a grace that believers are to strive to excel in. There’s no commandment anymore in the New Testament regarding the proportion of one’s income to give in support of God’s work or God’s servants, including the poor and the needy. Giving in the New Testament is propelled by love, not by law. The love of God that’s been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit should inspire us to love God and the brethren sufficiently to want to support God’s work and God’s people in whatever way we can. The example of Christ’s sacrificial love is given here: though rich, he made himself poor for our sakes, so that we through his poverty might become rich. Love is demonstrated by giving! When you love much, you give much!

St. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (NIV).

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (NIV).

Giving should be done willingly, and not by compulsion. If there is a willingness of the mind to give, based on love of God and love of the brethen, then giving will not be a problem. The willingness to give stems from a heart that’s been conquered by the love of God. And once there’s a willingness to give, giving will be a cheerful experience! If you believe in a cause, you’ll willingly give to support it. If you’re convinced about a project, you’ll be concerned about it. And if you’re in love with someone, you’ll do all you can to express it. Love is identified by its characteristics, which are expressed by giving!

2 Corinthians 8:10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.

2 Corinthians 8:11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.

2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have (NIV).

Paul also makes an important point about giving willingly in love: when there is a willingness to give based on the out-working of love from the heart, whatever one gives is acceptable! What makes the gift acceptable in the sight of God is the motive behind it, and the willingness and cheerfulness of the giver. God loves a cheerful giver, whatever the amount given to support his cause on earth! God does not want his people to give their gifts grudgingly, or by compulsion. And he doesn’t want us to give what we don’t have! God doesn’t like people being manipulated to give offerings. He doesn’t like psychological pressures put on people that literally force them to give what they don’t plan or feel comfortable to give. God hates compelling and manipulating people to give offerings. We should not manipulate people to give offerings, because such offerings given under duress are given grudgingly, and they do not attract any blessings for the givers!

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (NIV).

Another important point to note about giving is that, the measure you give is the measure God will give back to you. The blessing that comes with giving is proportionate to what one gives. If you give bountifully, you should expect a bountiful harvest. If you give sparingly, you should expect to reap sparingly. Giving is like sowing: if a farmer sows a few seeds, he should expect to harvest few crops. Conversely, if he or she sows plenty seeds in a farm, all things being equal, he or she should expect a bountiful harvest. This is what the Scripture teaches.

2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” (NIV)

St. Luke 6:38 If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” ( NLT).

Believers should not be tired of giving to support the weak and to meet needs in the house of God. We should help to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. When we help relieve the needs of brethren in the body of Christ, we strengthen people’s faith in the brotherhood and make thanksgiving to abound to God’s glory. Those we help thank God on our behalf and give glory to God. When we help people in need, others too will help us in our hour of need, ensuring thus that there’s no lack in the house of God.

2 Corinthians 9:11 Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:12 So two good things will happen—the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:13 You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

2 Corinthians 9:14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.

2 Corinthians 8:13 Of course, I don’t mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little. I only mean that there should be some equality.

2 Corinthians 8:14 Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met.

2 Corinthians 8:15 Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” (NLT).

Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ (NLT).

Scripture teaches us that there is more blessing in giving than in receiving. All that are able and fit should labour to take care of their needs and those of others around them who are weak and disadvantaged. Christ himself became poor on our behalf that we through his poverty might become rich. We should not be tired of doing good, because harvest time is coming when we shall receive our rewards from the Lord. Don’t wait for others to give to you! Labour to take care of yourself and the poor and needy around you! Even someone as busy as Apostle Paul laboured in some places to take care of himself and others around him, while still preaching the gospel!

The Acts 20:33 “I have never coveted anyone’s money or fine clothing.

The Acts 20:34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to pay my own way, and I have even supplied the needs of those who were with me.

The Acts 20:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help the poor by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘ It is more blessed to give than to receive. ‘” (NLT).

1 Thessalonians 2:9 Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that our expenses would not be a burden to anyone there as we preached God’s Good News among you (NLT).

Galatians 6:9 So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.

Galatians 6:10 Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters (NLT).

When we examine some instances in the New Testament when needs arose in the Church, we see how love can inspire and motivate people to stretch themselves beyond their limits inorder to meet needs in the house of God. The New Testament believers were not under any mandatory law of giving like tithe-paying, giving of firstfruits, etc, as was practised in the Old Testament. There were no threats of curses to compel people to give as was applicable under the Law. However, under grace and motivated by the love of God, some believers in the New Testament gave up to 100% of their resources to support God’s work as well as help the poor and needy of God’s people! People were known to sell their properties and give the entire proceeds to the church, to meet urgent and serious needs! Because of this extraordinary display of love, no one lacked anything in a congregation that ran into tens of thousands! The people gave out of palpable love, and the church leaders, neither greedy nor covetous like most of our shepherds of today, didn’t just corner the money for themselves, but ensured everyone in need in God’s house was taken care of! Selfless and exemplary leadership will always inspire sacrificial giving that will make an extraordinary impact among God’s people!

The Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

The Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need (NLT).

The Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

The Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

The Acts 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

The Acts 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

The Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

The Acts 4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet (NLT).

Preachers in the New Testament don’t have to take believers back to the bondage of the Law to compel them to pay tithes, first-fruit offerings, vows, etc, inorder to raise funds to meet needs in the church. That’s not only fraudulent and dragging people back to the curse of the Law that Christ has delivered us from, it’s also taking people away from the grace of God! Teaching New Testament believers to pay tithe as a mandatory law with curses attached for non-payment is doing a great disservice to the gospel of grace. Believers under grace, inspired by the love of God and exemplary and selfless leadership, will easily outperform people under the Old Covenant when it comes to giving, as demonstrated above. Once church leaders are not covetous and greedy and do not try to selfishly grab church funds to finance their lavish and flamboyant lifestyles while the flocks in their care suffer deprivation, people will give even beyond their abilities, to demonstrate their love for God!

2 Corinthians 8:1 Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 8:2 Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity.

2 Corinthians 8:3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will.

2 Corinthians 8:4 They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem.

2 Corinthians 8:5 Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them (NLT).

Finally, give what you have and not what you don’t have! Don’t borrow to give! Don’t pledge or make a vow of what you don’t have! God understands when you don’t have. He does not expect you to borrow to please him. Don’t feel bad or guilty that you can’t give to support God’s work because you don’t have to give at the moment. Opportunities will always be available for you to give when you have. Resist the temptation and pressure of manipulative men of God to make rash vows that may be hard for you to fulfill later. It is better not to make a vow than to make one you may not be able to fulfill, for that may attract curses rather than blessings! When you don’t have, you should be supported by the church and others at that time, rather than being made to feel bad that you can’t give!

2 Corinthians 8:14 Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met.

2 Corinthians 8:15 Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” (NLT).

Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.

Ecclesiastes 5:5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.

Ecclesiastes 5:6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? (NIV).

In conclusion, giving in the New Testament is to be done voluntarily, cheerfully and without compulsion. There are no mandatory laws compelling people to give any particular proportion of their income to support God’s work. However, the love of God constrains God’s people to give willingly, cheerfully and bountifully to support God’s servants and the needy among God’s people. People should give what they have, from grateful love-filled hearts. No one should allow himself/herself to be pressured to give beyond his or her means, or to make pledges to God of what he or she does not have. Give what you can afford, without grumbling and complaining, for God loves a cheerful giver! But remember that giving is like sowing: if you sow sparingly, you’ll reap sparingly; if you sow bountifully, you’ll reap bountifully. May we never be weary of doing good and helping those in need, because harvest time is coming!

Hebrews 13:16 Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God (NIV).

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo is a teacher and an expositor of the word of God with an intense passion for doctrinal purity and the restoration of the Church to the original Apostolic faith.

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