‘Tis the season for raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and dreaming of a white Christmas. Oh, and I almost forgot! Standing in line to shop all night, embracing the commercialization of the holidays, and dropping some hard-owned dough in a little red bucket. Seriously, this has widely become the theme for many Americans—including Christians. Last week, we talked about every season being a season to serve, and it seemed appropriate this week to talk about something that goes hand-in-hand with serving: giving.
Christians often get a bad rap because of prosperity gurus spreading false teaching on television and in their bestselling books. As you know, the topic most commonly addressed by false prophets is money—how to make it, how to be “blessed” by it, and, of course, how to give it. I am assuming many of you reading this attend Stonebriar Community Church, so hopefully your theology is on a different level altogether; you may not be exposed to people preaching on “blessed lives” and getting “your best life” now.
As Bible-believing Christians, we know that being “blessed” does not always mean in our bank accounts. We also know that everything belongs to Him, so we tithe out of love for the Lord, using the resources He provides us to build up His Kingdom. We do not give because we are looking for some sort of bobble-head, make-a-wish Jesus to present us with a better job, bigger house, or larger tax return—or, as I recently heard from a very popular pastor in the DFW area: “when you fail to tithe, you are a thief and inviting demonic spirits in.” Wow! It is heart-wrenching that such false messages are being presented, but the Bible is clear that “false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1) and “people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3).
Having said all that, it seems the topic of giving is in overdrive this time of year with everyone from cashiers asking you to donate a few dollars to support the organization of the moment, to ministries needing to meet their year-end goals. While there is certainly nothing wrong with choosing to support those things you feel led to, our giving should not be centered around any false guilt we feel. Our giving should come from the overflow of our hearts. It is important to remember as you prayerfully consider where and what to give that giving does not necessarily mean monetary giving (see ‘Tis the Season for Service). Giving should be fluid and frequent, not seasonal. The mission field, the local church, your favorite parachurch ministry, and every secular non-profit operate year-long and lean on the financial contributions of believers at all times—not just when we celebrate George Bailey coming home or hanging the stockings by the mantle with care.
So how can we teach our children to give all year around? First and foremost, we include them in the act of giving. We should not hide budgeting, giving, saving, or spending from our kids. From the earliest of ages, children should be taught the difference between wants and needs, and how their wants and needs typically cost money. Talk about how Daddy and/or Mommy go to work and make money in order to provide physically and give to others. Give your youngest children a piggy bank—or, if you are a Financial Peace University fan, I highly recommend Junior’s Smart Saver Bank system with three piggy banks designed to teach the “save”, “spend”, and “give” process. There are even wonderful books intended for children as young as three to start understanding how money works, how we are to view it, and how we are to use it in our lives.
Dave Ramsey speaks about a brick having no power on its own, but the person who holds the brick can use it to build hospitals or break windows. Similarly, we can either build up the Kingdom of God or we can hoard, spend, and teach our children to love money rather than the God whom we serve by giving it. Money, my friends, is not the root of all evil—the love of it is the problem.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:10).
As we seek to serve and give, let us do so with generous hearts—not out of guilt, pride, or a desire to “be blessed”. And when we give, let us not flaunt it everywhere we go.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:2-4).
What are your thoughts on giving? Do you have conversations with your children about money, ministry, and providing for others? If so, we would love to hear your thoughts via e-mail, a comment on this blog, or by joining our closed Facebook group HERE.
For His Kingdom,