Why We Don’t Give
Christians are called to be cheerful givers (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). We should regularly give a portion of our time, talents and treasures to the Kingdom of God. As beings created in the image of God (see Genesis 2:26-27), we are hardwired to be charitable, since God is a generous God (see John 3:16). My pastor used to say, “We are never more like Jesus than when we give.” The New Testament instructs us in this matter, telling us “to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). Despite the Bible’s teaching, many Christians fail in the matter. Let’s examine three reasons this occurs.
Lack of Faith
I remember a discussion I had with my father-in-law when my wife and I were first married. We discussed my newly formed family’s commitment to tithe. My wife’s father shared his opinion concerning why many people don’t give. He said it is usually a matter of faith. A vast number of households don’t give God a tenth of their income because they don’t really trust God. Though they own a Bible and attend Bible studies on a regular basis, they don’t believe it’s instructions concerning giving. They are willing to trust God with their eternal destiny, but they are scared that He can’t save them from economic downfall. As a result, they cling to their cash, refusing to heed God’s Word. When we find ourselves in such a faithless state, we need to ask God to help us grow in faith (see Mark 9:23-25). By committing ourselves to personal worship and surrender, He can help us with our trust issues (see Romans 1:17 and 10:17).
Lack of Love
Despite their arguments to the contrary, those who don’t give are deficient in their love towards the Lord. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (John 14:15). Obedience to Christ’s precepts is natural for those who are truly devoted to Him. Disobedience unearths a lack of love. This principle holds true in reference to giving. Many withhold their monetary resources from the church, because they have greater aspirations for other things. Caught in the classic battle of a love for the world (see 1 John 2:16-17) versus a love for the Lord (see Matthew 22:37-40), they fall prey to earthly desires. Their life priorities and budget begin to portray their passions orbit around material passions most of all. When we find ourselves in such a state, we must do the hard work of redirecting our souls towards the Lord. Through personal worship and stewardship, we can lead our hearts to love the Lord more (see Matthew and Romans 12:1-2).
Lack of Knowledge
Finally, many are delinquent in financial faithfulness because of a lack of knowledge. As a pastor, I have heard many opinions on giving. When it comes to money matters, it is best to first search God’s Word for truth. In doing so, we will discover that the Lord desires for His people to honor Him with their wealth by giving a first portion to His Kingdom causes (see Proverbs 3:9). If you are hesitant in regard to stewardship, take time to test God. Study His Word. See what He says. Like you, I had to learn what the Bible said before I was convinced I needed to be a systematic giver.
Dr. Patrick Latham