The New Testament has a lot to say about generosity and giving. But did you know that modern forms of electronic giving can actually be a tool to help your church family follow Jesus?
Being able to give more often and more conveniently removes more than just the checks we used to write; it also removes spiritual roadblocks that change how we approach giving.
The New Testament outlines four principles related to our giving, and they may not be what you think. But each one of them can be spurred on in our lives through the technology at our fingertips.
You’ve probably been there. You’re sitting in your pew while the plate is being passed, and then you realize you don’t have your checkbook. You promise yourself you’ll give double the next time, but then the next time comes around and you suddenly find it’s a bit more difficult to do.
In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul told the believers in Corinth, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”
At first this sounds like our old ways of giving—offering plates and little envelopes for every week of the year—but let’s not miss the principle undergirding Paul’s instructions. His point was that our giving should flow at the same speed as our income.
If giving isn’t part of the rhythm of our financial lives, then we may find ourselves with nothing to give when the time comes. That’s why Paul told his friends to “set aside a sum of money.”
But with text-to-give, online giving, and automated payments, there’s no need. We can easily give as we get paid. Technology can help us keep up with our giving, so it’s just as regular as our paychecks—no matter how irregular they may be for some of us!
In Matthew 23:23, Jesus said, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things” (NLT).
While sincere Christians can disagree about whether tithing is truly a New Testament principle, everyone can agree that Jesus wants us to be generous with all that God has given us. Add to that what we’ve already seen from the pen of the apostle Paul, namely that our giving should be “in keeping up with [our] income” (1 Corinthians 16:2), and it’s clear that our generosity ought to be in proportion to our income.
Once again, giving apps and digital-platform giving makes it simple to tithe or make offerings in line with the amount of our paychecks. For someone who gets paid the same amount every two weeks, an automated payment will do the trick. There’s no need to write a check or withdraw cash from the bank. For those who get paid different amounts at different times, a proportional gift to the church can be as close as the phones in their pockets.
Our giving is just one way we become “living sacrifice[s]” to the Lord (Romans 12:1), and so, at times, it may be sacrificial.
Seeing a widow who put two small, copper coins in the temple treasury, Jesus remarked, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43–44).
These sorts of gifts can never be made compulsory by pastors or church leaders, of course, but we shouldn’t dismiss them out of mind altogether either. We should be ready to give when the Spirit prompts, even if it means giving an unusually large gift.
Since obedience is best when it’s immediate, digital giving can be an ally, helping us to respond to the calling of the Lord in our lives right away. With a few pushes of a touchscreen or mouse clicks on a laptop, we can give sacrificially.
Finally, the New Testament reminds us that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Giving with joy in our hearts is made much simpler when we can so in the moment.
As we’ve already seen, giving is more than just emotional; it should be routine and proportional. But it can also be a lot of fun!
Having the freedom to give any time, any place means that it doesn’t always have to be premeditated. We can give to the needs and causes we care about with a smile on our face. We may even find that we enjoy blessing others so much, the cheerfulness spreads from our finances into other parts of our lives.
Over to you
Giving is a powerful way to model the love of Jesus in our everyday lives. We shouldn’t have to wait for the offering plate. If your church needs help setting up digital giving, let us help!