Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Giving Methods

Gary and Marylyn Underwood co-authored a book entitled, "First Principles, Topical Studies for New Converts." In this book there is a section on stewardship. In discussing this topic the Underwoods mention five different methods people use as an approach to their giving to the Lord. I would simply like to mention the methods they have listed, and then add a few words:

1. The Tip Method. This method has no rule or purpose. Of course it is understood that it should be a certain percentage, and it is also assumed because it is expected. When you think about a tip at a restaurant, you recognize that tipping is a part of it. Tipping is often done out of compulsion. This is not the proper attitude for giving.

2. The Entertainment Method. The person who uses this method is only going to give to the Lord if they happen to be present, and that giving may vary based on what a person has left in their wallet or the atmosphere of the particular day they have been to worship. This method does not lay by in store. This person may give more when the singing seems better or the preacher is more enthusiastic and charismatic. It's like going to the movies, but only paying afterward if you happened to enjoy the picture.

3. The Sponge Method. This person only gives under pressure. Perhaps a sermon on stewardship may increase the sponge giver's contribution for a while - until they forget or get distracted again by the world and its financial demands. The sponge giver is the guilty giver, the giver who has forgotten too many Sundays past. The sponge giver has to be begged and bullied, and frustrates the kinder efforts of the leadership.

4. The Tithe Method. "How much do I owe? Ten percent? Ok. Here, Lord, here is your ten percent." When are we going to realize that the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness (1 Cor. 10:26)? There is nothing that we have, nothing, that is not already God's. The tither means to do well, but needs to be careful about giving ten percent. God expects one hundred percent in everything. Perhaps we limit what people would be willing to give, by accepting the idea of the tithe! Giving is not about percentages, it is about the heart.

5. The Christian Method. The Christian Method goes beyond percentages. It goes beyond Biblical examples of accepted righteousness (Matt. 5:20). The Christian who desires to give acceptably does so willingly and totally. They are excited about giving. They are moved with love for God and thanksgiving for understood blessings. The Christian gives more and more with time. They give in faith, and they do not cut back in periods of financial struggle.True Christian giving starts with the complete and total giving of self to the will of God (2 Cor. 8:5).

There is a method to everything we do. What type of giver are you?

"But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

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