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Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
-2 Corinthians 9:7
Giving and Stewardship
Cornerstone Christian Church is committed to building a community centered on Jesus Christ to invest in the next generation and generously serve a world in need. What does that generosity look like in our regular giving?
Giving is ultimately an act of worship. It is a tangible way of living out the truth that all that we have, belongs to God (Ps. 24:1). We are not enslaved to money; we do not worship it (Col 3:5). We worship God and our regular offerings express this. Our giving is not philanthropy and not charity. It is an expression of worship, something we do regularly regardless of our financial situation or even of the needs around us.
Stewardship is the call to be faithful with all that we have including not only our money, but our time and our abilities as well (1 Cor. 5:1-2). We recognize that everything we have comes from God and belongs to God, so we seek his will as to how to use what he has given to us. This is an act of discipleship. Our stewardship is a response to the gifts we have in view of the needs around us. This affects giving because our desire to use our finances for God’s glory may cause us to give beyond our regular offerings.
You should give regularly as an act of worship. It is done weekly or monthly or in some other regular way. It is not sporadic and not a result of “having extra.” Jesus said where our treasure is our heart will be also, so we give as a way of loving God (Mat. 6:21).
Your offering should be a percentage of your income. Look at your regular income, regardless of whether it is large or small and decide on a percentage to give to the Lord. In the Old Testament the tithe was 10% of income and many have found this a good bench mark. But more important than the number is the fact that you set it aside and give it regularly. If 10% seems impossible, pick a number and pledge to give that to the Lord in recognition that everything you have is his. As you give regularly you will find that you are still able to do all the things you need to do and you can pray about raising your percentage year by year.
Your church should get the largest portion of what you give. You may feel the desire to give to things other that the local church. This is understandable and acceptable. The Kingdom of God is larger than one local church and these ministries (often called para-church ministries) rely on God’s people to support their important work. But the largest part of your giving should be to your local church. If the local church struggles all the other ministries are affected. When the local church is strong para-church ministries, charities and missionaries will thrive. The church is God’s primary community for sharing and living out the gospel on earth. It is what we are baptized into, where we worship, take communion and love one another faithfully until he returns. All other ministries grow from the local church so it needs to be your first consideration when deciding what and where to give.
Start somewhere and build from there.
Look at your financial situation, pray and decide what percentage you are going to give. Then, start giving. Give regularly and faithfully trusting that God will meet your needs as you obey him.