Sending missionaries costs money
Our Lord Jesus Christ, before his ascension into heaven, said to his disciples (and that includes us as well) — ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’.
Obedience to this command calls for money as well as man power. It takes money to get dedicated people to the mission field, and yet more money to keep them there, and also to provide the tools that they need to do the job.
Faithful stewardship of time, talent and money are called for, if the work of God around the world is to move forward. As Christians we cannot serve God and money, but we can serve God with our money.
God’s Word basically gives us two reasons for giving, and each in some way is related to the character and activity of God. First of all, creation is a vivid reminder that God is the creator and owner of everything: ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof’ (Psalm 24:1).
God is still the owner and we actually own nothing in any absolute way. You and I are only stewards in the world. We are accountable to God for the way we manage the resources that he has entrusted to our care.
Secondly, God’s redemption in Christ is a call to us to commit our time, talents and money to him in grateful response for his redeeming love. One reason why Christians are so poor in giving their money to God is perhaps because they have not first given themselves to God.
So what should characterise our giving? The Bible makes it quite clear that first of all giving is an act of worship.
David the psalmist said, ‘Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name: bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness’ (Psalm 96:8-9).
Giving must also be with a free spirit and not of compulsion. Jesus said, ‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). He then went on to say, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).
In fact, Jesus enlarged on this principle when he said, ‘Give and it will be given to you; a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’ (Luke 6:38).
Paul in writing to Timothy says, ‘The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching’ (1 Timothy 5:17). The church has an ongoing responsibility to support those who are engaged in God’s work.
Regularity in giving is also emphasised in Scripture. ‘On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income’ (1 Corinthians 16:2). Samuel Chadwick said, ‘Unless a man cultivates the habit of systematic giving when he has not much to give, he will give little when he is rich’.