Why Should I Give to the Ministry of the Church?
Giving is an integral part of worship from the earliest mention of worship in the Bible. The offering of sacrifice was intended to convey the costliness of sin as well as the costly pleasure in giving thanks to God, from whom all blessings flow. God sacrificed an animal to cover Adam and Eve's shameful nakedness in Gen 3. Cain and Abel worship God by giving offerings to God. All of the worship in the Tabernacle and Temple was giving based. It was inconceivable to appear in God's presence empty-handed. The primary act of worship was the sacrifice. The biblical guide of the tithe was known very early as we see Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek in Gen 14:20. The tithe or giving of a tenth or 10% was widely known and practiced as an acknowledgment of submission to authority. This biblical practice has been practiced within the Christian Church from its earliest days.
Through Jesus' death and resurrection the sacrificial system has been fulfilled and so blood offerings have ceased. But we are called to give of our time, talent and substance in response to God's good gift of salvation, community, and ministry. Rom 12:1 and 1 Peter 2:5 speak of the spiritual sacrifices we offer to God in response to God's free gift to us in Jesus. The giving of the tenth or tithe is seen through Jewish eyes as a reasonable offering to God. There were other opportunities to give over and above this base line of giving to acknowledge that God is the source of all we have. As God prospered a person's way they were invited to respond in generosity as God had given generously to them...in Old Testament language such was a Thank Offering. So Christians have often seen the tithe as a place to begin and that as God prospered us we might give in response to God giving us "more than enough."
In both Deuteronomy and 2 Corinthians we read of the attitude of our heart in giving and yielding obedience to God. Deut 28:47 speaks of obeying outwardly but doing so without joy or gladness of heart for which God judges his people. Similarly the Apostle Paul as he seeks to raise funds to support the struggling Church in Jerusalem reminds the Corinthian Christians that 'God loves a cheerful giver' in 2 Cor 9:7. Even if we give, and do so with a bad heart and without joy God will not bless us. Giving is not intended to be a burden but a pleasure! It should be our delight and pleasure to return to God a portion, a piece of what he generously gives to us. All giving is a response and a return of something that God has already given and provided and then and only then calls us to acknowledge both the gift and the Giver.