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What if I can’t afford to give right now?

Even in times of scarcity, God wants our hearts. The widow who gave her last mite did not make a very big financial contribution, but Jesus said she gave the largest gift of all. Extravagant is about all of us coming together, giving generously, and trusting God to do the rest. It may mean that God is asking you to trust him by making a faith commitment that you do not know how to fulfill right now. God has supplied our every need in Christ, and we trust that he will honor a heart that wants to give generously in response to the gospel. Extravagant means all of us, together—for each other, for South Florida, and for the world.

There may also be ways to be sacrificial with your lifestyle to create margin for generosity in your life. Some will cancel cable, and some will ditch the unlimited data plan and return to a basic data plan. Others will play a little less golf, and still others will forego a few caramel macchiatos every week. Some families will buy a smaller home or rent a smaller apartment to be able to give generously for the progress of the gospel. Find ways to involve the entire family in the process of giving generously. Use this as an opportunity to teach children and grandchildren to obey the Lord with a generous heart and to trust him. This is a great opportunity to take a look at our overall stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us.


How much is enough?

Knowing that we should give can be easy, but knowing how much to give presents a greater challenge. God has always had his people give the “firstfruits” of his provision back to him. Throughout the Old Testament, this took the form of the tithe. Approximately 400 years before the Law was given, both Abraham and Jacob offered the Lord a tithe of everything that he had given to them. The word “tithe” simply means “a tenth.” In response to the provision and the promise of God, these heroes of the faith offered the Lord not merely a tenth of their income but a tenth of everything God had given to them.

The Law codifies the principle of giving a tithe, but it also makes provision for peace offerings and freewill offerings to the Lord. Even the Law encouraged the people of God to exceed the minimum requirements of the Law!

Christ fulfilled the promise of the Law. This does not give us an excuse for no longer giving a tenth; rather, it should motivate us to give in grateful response to God. He keeps his promise and allows us the joy of being a part of his plan for meeting the needs of his people. In Acts, the church did not allow a legalistic reading of the tithe to limit their generosity. Instead, they saw the immense needs among the body of Christ and gave accordingly.

In short, “firstfruit giving” is a universal biblical principle. The tithe is a good place to start for many believers, but it is not a good place to stay. The principle that guides us as we give is this: “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 by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV).

The King of Kings left heaven to give his life. So, how then shall we give?


Why do churches talk about money, finances, and giving so much?

Jesus spoke more about money than he did about heaven and hell combined. People take different spiritual steps at different times. Some people begin praying before they attend church. Others go to community group before they begin talking to God in prayer. Giving is a critical spiritual step, and it comes at different times for different people. Like all other spiritual disciplines, giving draws us closer to God, and God expects that faithful followers of Christ will be joyful and generous givers. Paul is so concerned about our tendency to separate our giving from our living of the Christian life that he admonishes us to excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7). Giving is an essential part of the Christian life.

The church mentions money frequently because money is a frequent area of spiritual attack. The enemy wants to rob the church of the joy of giving and allow the church to excuse its failure to give. He does this because a church that gives generously is a church that knows the joy of the Lord and is impacting its community. We refuse to believe the lie that we can be devoted followers of Christ while we are stingy with God’s resources.

Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). The questions God is calling us to consider are, “Do you really love Christ and his gospel?” “What is Christ worth?” and “How much do you long for the progress of the gospel?” According to Jesus, your answers to these questions are found in where you place your treasure. What does your treasure say about your heart for Christ and his gospel?