In the good old days when we didn’t have CBC, i.e. competent based curriculum in the country, but rather the great, -though poorly implemented 8-4-4 system, I read somewhere in one of our school books a poem that went like this;
Mud! Mud! Mud!
Who can find mud!
Maybe if it were gold,
Do you recall that poem? I bet you do.
So, why am I beginning from there? The point is, we hardly take notice of the common graces that we’ve been freely bestowed by God, but rather, we simply tend to look for things that we’ve put upon them value, and no matter what, we will climb every ridge possible so as to take possession of the, hata kama it means that we might endanger our lives in the process.
The same is true with money. Each and every human being, and institution overwork ourselves silly so as to get hold of it in order to ensure our survival whilst we live upon this cursed planet, after all, doesn’t the wisest man ever say that money is the answer to everything, Ecclesiastes 10:19! Ndio maana we keep on chasing after it, sometimes legally, and sometimes unfortunately illegally, and this is not just us individual people, but also the church.
In this article, I’ll try to say in a few words about what the Bible says about giving in the church.
Whom are we giving?
When us as believers gives, though it be to individual people, or corporately to the church, nonetheless, we’re actually in the ultimate sense doing so to God (see Proverbs 19:17; Matthew 6:2-4; 22:17-21; Acts 5:4; Romans 14:4-8; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Colossians 3:22-25).
Who Should Give?
Only the people in covenant with God, those who have professed their faith in Christ as their only hope of salvation are to give to the church, and support its mission, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, and the church is commanded not to take any contribution from pagans, i.e. unbelievers, 3 John 7.
Reasons for giving
Both Israel under the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Haggai 1:1-11; Malachi 3:7-12) and us believing Christians in the New Testament (Romans 12:13; Galatians 2:10; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17), are being commanded to give, and when we don’t do so its disobedience. However, not all giving is expected (see Leviticus 7:16; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15).
Say privilege. That is what giving is. This is especially seen in the attitude of the believers in Macedonia who gave joyfully to assist in Paul’s mission (2 Corinthians 8, 9; see especially 8:4, 9). Paul tells us that even Christ said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
Proper stewardship was often equated in terms of money by Jesus (Luke 16:1-13). Our and thus we’re expected to be faithful stewards to the resources our Master has given us (see Luke 16:9-12).
The Old Covenant saints approached God in worship with a sacrifice, which was a gift, whether who. For us in the in the New Covenant, offerings that we give are also designated as sacrifices offered up in worship (Hebrews 9:1-10; 10:1-25; 13:10-16).
Jesus asked his followers to "lay up treasure in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-21). By giving to the church, we are supporting the mission of the church to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, and this is the best investment decision we can take (Luke 16:1-13).
All believers service should be a sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). In giving, we seek not man's praise, but God's (Matthew 6:2-4). We should not give with the hope of getting ahead in this life, but with the faith that God will reward us in heaven (Luke 14:12-14). We should not give under pressure, but willingly and cheerfully, with gratitude for God's grace to us, according to our ability (2 Corinthians 8, 9).
When we give, we express brotherly love and unity. Just see Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 3:11; Romans 12:13; James 2:15-17 & 1 John 3:15-18. In practice in the early church, just see Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35; 11:27-30; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Philippians 4:14-19.
How were contributions handled?
The early church was very duteous in not only how they obtained offerings, but also how they utilised it, so as to maintain a clear conscience before a watching world, thus keeping their testimony (see 2 Corinthians 8:20-21). As givers, we must be honest and forthright in our giving (see Acts 5:1-6).
Should a church take money from politicians?
Ever since Constantine professed faith in Christ, the church has been intrinsically linked to the hip, and pockets of the state in majority of the countries. This is not something that is new, after all, each government is linked to a religion in one way or another throughout government history. However, the church wasn’t supposed to be like this, John 18:36, but ever since that moment the visible church (not true church) thought it wise to join politics in the time of Constantine, it will forever be soiled by it even when antichrist will use it, then discard it during the tribulation period, Revelation 13:11-18.
From this article, we’ve seen that giving to the church is only reserved to professed Christians, giving their honest offerings. So, when we come to politicians, I believe we go beyond the profession, to the ethical questions such as; how was the money being given obtained? What message is the person giving the money trying to communicate? By us taking the money, will be implicate the testimony of the church before the watching world? Are we distorting the message of the Gospel given to the church by taking this money? On and on, they can ask lots of questions, before accepting any money from politicians, and thus it is of great necessity to come up with a giving policy.