Financial giving is an uncomfortable topic for many Christians. You may want to ignore what I’m about to propose, but please don’t without giving it some serious consideration and prayer. I’d like to propose that if you are a young person (teenager or early twenties) and a Christian, you are not exempt from financial giving. You have just as much opportunity and right and responsibility to give as older Christians.
Now, maybe this is not news to you and you are in the habit of giving. I encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing, more and more. As you read on, hopefully you will find more reasons to give and to grow in your giving. If this is a new concept for you, let’s consider what we know.
God Command Giving
First, God commands his people to give financially from out of the blessing he has given them. In Leviticus 27:30, God says this: “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.” Jesus promises, “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 instructs the believers living in Corinth, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (1 Corinthians 16:2) In both the Old and New Testament, the command is clear that God’s people should give.
Young Christians Aren’t Exempt
Now, it may seem that this might not apply to you at your current stage of life, but let me point out a couple things. First, in Jewish tradition, a boy is considered a man at 13 and a girl is considered a woman at 12. At that age, you are fully responsible for your own actions in society, in your spiritual life, etc. You may still live with your parents, but that does not necessarily mean you are a child or that you are not responsible before God for what you do with what he has given you. Second, people in their teens and early twenties in our culture have a lot more money than they used to. Many people have jobs to pay for their cars or hobbies or girlfriends. If you are making an income, you are responsible to God for what you give to him from what he has blessed you with.
Giving Isn’t a Burden, It’s a Blessing
Third, financial giving is commanded in the Bible not as a burden but as a blessing. In Luke, Jesus says “Give, and it will be given to you.” The next verse after Proverbs 3:9, above, says, “then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” In 2 Corinthians 9:10-11, Paul writes, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” God’s basically saying, “Give and I will bless you for it! Not only will I bless you, but I will bless you to overflowing!”
In Malachi 3:10, the Israelites had not been giving as they should and this is what the Lord said: “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” He says, “Test me! See if I don’t do what I’ve said!” Giving is not meant to be a weight that holds us down, it allows God to bless us with more, and to fill our lives with joy—a joy that money and possessions can never match and the lack thereof can never take away.
Where To Start
If you’re thinking you might want to start giving, try it out! Remember that God said “test me in this.” Go ahead—test him! Pray and ask him what you should give, then do it and see what happens. Give in faith and watch God pour out blessing. Start with the tithe to your local church. God commanded the Israelites to give 10% of their income to him. This is a starting point for Christians—not an ending point! Look at what you’re making. If you were only making 90% of that, would it kill you? Honestly? Probably not. So set aside 10% of your check on payday to give in the offering on Sunday. If you aren’t making any money right now, don’t worry, just wait and give as the Lord blesses and prompts you.
Also, start praying for God to give you a giver’s heart. Ask him to show you the needs around you and how he wants you to be involved. Look for ways to trim your expenses so you are able to give more. Just because you are giving a regular tithe doesn’t mean God won’t ask you to give to different needs as they arise. Look to those opportunities with joy, knowing that you are storing up treasures in heaven, bringing God pleasure, and showing others Christ’s love.
Make Christ Your Treasure
Our money can often be a treasure that lies too close to our hearts, and giving is a way to make sure (and show others) that Christ is our real treasure. Giving stretches our faith and causes us to rely on God for provision for our needs and wants. God is pleased when we are looking to him for our needs. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” “All these things” are the provisions for our needs. God wants us to be concerned with his kingdom and his righteousness, not with our needs and wants—he promises that if we put his desires first, he will always take care of us…and who can take better care of us than him?
Originally published: November 29, 2004