I remember when I was little, wanting to be like the adults giving money to the offering on a Sunday morning. So I started saving some of my pocket money. Even then I remember how hard it was parting with money that I didn’t even earn. As I’ve gotten older the commitment of my money to God has become even more difficult.
It’s not just sweetie money anymore from my parents – it’s money I’m working for that could go towards university or my thrifting addiction! Very quickly I begin to make excuses that I’ll give when I finish uni or have a ‘proper full-time job’. But I’ve recently been challenged by the Bible’s teaching on giving our all to God.
Never too young
When Paul writes to Timothy, a young person who he’d been mentoring to help spread the gospel, he said: ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’ (1 Timothy 4:12). It’s clear that Timothy’s age shouldn’t be a barrier in glorifying God. Paul reminds him that he’s already having an impact and is an example to others right now.
I think the message version of Romans 12:1-2 puts what Paul is asking of Timothy really well: ‘here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering’. And we’re called to do likewise, no matter our age. This is our worship – to welcome God into every area of our lives, including how we use our money.
Never too little
There’s a story I love in Mark 12 where Jesus was watching people put money into the offering box at the temple. Many rich people put in massive amounts of money. But when a widowed woman contributes two small coins, Jesus commends her sacrificial giving. He tells his disciples that the others won’t miss the money they gave, but this woman gave all she had to live on.
Now, would I recommend giving away all the money that pays for your necessities? No, in many ways that would be irresponsible. But the challenge stands to us today – it doesn’t matter about the amount, but about where our heart is. So we’re forced to ask the question: where is our heart? Jesus’ heart was to ‘proclaim good news to the poor… to set the oppressed free’ (Luke 4:18). And as Christians today, part of continuing that work is through our giving. Whether it be supporting disaster relief or ongoing community transformation, our generosity can help to meet people’s basic and spiritual needs.
More than money
This article’s been focused on giving money, but this isn’t and shouldn’t be the only way we serve God. So often I catch myself, like the Pharisees, trying to box in God and look for a checklist of laws I can follow to be a ‘good’ Christian. But in the spirit of taking our everyday lives, we’re called to give over more than just money. We’re called to give our time, our words and actions, all for God’s glory. This may look like using your gifts to organise a fundraiser; volunteering your time or even raising awareness of social injustice to inspire action in those around you.
Ultimately ‘where your treasure is, your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21). Each of us are invited to lay our treasure at Jesus’ feet, whether that be our money, gifts or time. For when we do, it paints a beautiful picture of Jesus’ sacrifice of love for his people in our everyday lives.