“That’ll be $8.55.” That’s how much you pay to get one dozen, delicious, “Hot Now” doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Money well spent. $119 per year is how much you pay to get two-day shipping from Amazon. What else do you find yourself paying for? If you’re like me, you find yourself constantly having to pull out your wallet to pay for this or that thing you MUST have or do. So what is your response on a Sunday morning when a pastor asks you to give generously as the offering plate passes by?
Is the church just another thing you enjoy or a membership fee you have to pay? Or is it maybe something else entirely? Why do we give to the local church?
1. For the Bible Tells Me So
In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul tells the church in Corinth that every believer should regularly give generously according to their financial situation. Check out this article for more on that. So if that’s true, where should we give our money? Pastor J.D. Greear says that “…the local church is God’s ‘Plan A’…When we give to the local church, we give to the central institution for the mission of God.” As Christians, we believe that God is ordering our steps. That means he has placed you in the local church that you are a part of on purpose--so you can give generously to it first and foremost. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give to other things too. You probably should! But you should primarily give to your local church. And why do we do that? To reflect and advance the gospel.
2.To Reflect the Gospel to the World
What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news of Jesus sacrificially paying for the sin debt of all of his people in their place. Jesus generously and sacrificially gave his life for his people. One of our responses to this wonderful good news is to give generously and sacrificially. When we give generously and sacrificially, week-in and week-out, we reflect the gospel to the world. We show those around us what Jesus has done for us, in our place. It’s not a one-and-done event. It is good news that changes everything! And that’s good news that we should work to advance.
3. To Advance the Gospel
When you give to the local church it truly does advance the gospel. Giving to other great places like directly to missionaries, orphans, and other efforts does too! But giving to your local church allows your church leadership to use your entire church’s gifts to advance the gospel. Depending on the size of your church, that could mean that your gift times hundreds could be going towards gospel advancing work! So instead of you giving a truly generous gift of a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to advance the gospel, your church and it’s partners will give millions to fund church plants, missionaries, mercy ministry, and more in your hometown and around the world.
Next time you are asked to give to a church, reflect on the Bible’s teaching about giving and the gospel. It is from those gifts from Jesus that you will grow to be a more generous giver to your church and to other gospel efforts.