by Dick Lincoln
Each Sunday in December, I've opened the sermon with some brief tips about 4 spiritual disciplines we as a church will be focusing on in 2015.
Missed any of them? Check them out here:
If giving is not a spiritual discipline you currently practice, I encourage you to start in 2015. To get started, or to refresh your attitude toward giving, here are some tips...
1. Get the point.
The point of giving to God is not to learn generosity or to support the church (though both of those are by-products). The point of giving is sacrificial worship. Until you understand that, giving will be a tug-of-war with God instead of the joyful act of worship it's meant to be.
2. Affordability is the least consideration--not the first.
Don't let your first question be, "Can I afford to give?" Giving sacrificially should cost you something, and you may have to say "no" to wants in order to give. Do some people genuinely have an issue with choosing between needs and giving? Sure. Affordability is a consideration--but don't let it be your first.
3. Accept God's standard of the tithe (10%).
God's grace is available when we don't live up to the standard, but the standard doesn't change for anyone. Make tithing (giving 10%) your goal. If you can't meet it now, make a plan for working up to it rather than making excuses for giving less.
4. Find a rhythm for giving and stick to it.
Decide when you're going to give--weekly, monthly, every time you receive a pay check--and stick with it. When giving is a decision you have to make in the moment, you're less likely to follow through in obedience. Choose obedience ahead of time and trust God to help you follow through with your commitment.
5. Sacrifice matters. A lot.
Giving is just one way God calls us to live a sacrificial life. Romans 12:1 instructs us to "present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice" as an act of worship. The Christian life is a life of sacrifice, as exampled by our Lord Jesus. Let your giving be just one of the ways that you sacrifice your will for God's way, and let it be an act of worship.
Ready to practice the spiritual discipline of giving? Submit a pledge for 2015 as a way of saying to God, "I'm committed to giving to you."