From Pastor Jason: Two Bad Reasons to Give God Your Money
Last week I shared “the three lanes” of giving. I hope you found them helpful. Simply, these were three good reasons to give your money to Jesus and his mission. However I also think there are bad reasons to give. That’s right, giving isn’t always good. Think about it. Throughout the Gospels Jesus is incredibly concerned and focused on the motivation underneath an action (check out the Sermon on the Mount). It was about the heart. Consequently, there are certain and consistent compulsions that you and I often have toward giving that don’t exactly come from the best place. And I think these are less like lanes and more like pits. You know, like huge holes you can fall into. Here are two bad reasons to give:
To pay God back. Now you might say, “God has done so much for me, I want to give evidence to my gratitude by giving.” Amen. Go team! Agreed. However this can be a slippery concept. Sometimes this logic melts down to keeping score with God. He gives, you give. He gives, you give. And on and on. For starters, you can never really keep up with him. Additionally it supposes full knowledge of God’s generosity. And what’s more, generosity isn’t meant to be just a reaction, but a rhythm. Christians are to be generous, not just do generous things when the moment is right. Don’t fall into this pit.
To make a deal with God. You know you’ve done it. So have I. With the best intentions sometimes we put a couple bucks in the offering bucket while whispering the terms of our gift. The health of our kids. A promotion at work. And sometimes even with the intention of securing our eternal residence. In some respects this approach is the opposite of the first. You give, God gives. You give, God gives. And on and on. Though it may be subtle, giving that springs from this pattern supposes power and manipulation over God. We can naively believe that giving our money puts God on the proverbial hook. Just to be clear … God can’t be put on the hook. Watch out for this pit too.
May we truly become more and more generous people. And a more and more generous church.