I found the set of questions here useful for personal reflection and further conversation … I confess I don’t get very excited when it comes to talking about money in the church (it’s a reaction against abusive prosperity preaching!) And yet, the way we handle our finances and the discipline/art of giving is an essential part of our humanity and discipleship. So, we simply cannot ignore it. No point being evasive … let’s use the questions for some self-check! As part of the message this morning – I read each question slowly for us to think about .. and made a little adaptation here and there … ðŸ™‚
Am I Giving in Proportion to My Blessing?
God has a clear intention for our prosperity: “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” (2 Corinthians 9:11). The Bible teaches us to be generous with what we are given and content with what we have so that when we are blessed, we can then bless others rather than consuming, hoarding and holding back (Luke 12). The following questions are designed as a diagnostic tool to help givers honestly answer the question, “Am I giving in proportion to my blessings?” We encourage givers to see what Scripture says.
- Do I understand the greatness of the blessings I have right now in Jesus (Ephesians 1:3)? When I give, am I consciously responding to God’s goodness (Romans 12:1)?
- Do I understand the greatness of my future blessings? Am I preparing for eternity as much as for this present life in my generosity (Luke 12:15-21; 1 Timothy 6:18-19)?
- Of the last three material blessings I received (raises, gifts, other unexpected income or things), how much of those blessings went to blessing others?
- If my income keeps climbing, will I reach a certain point where all my needs are met and I cease to acquire greater amounts of things in favor of giving generously—capping income or expenditures and living contentedly (Luke 12:15-21)?
- How much of my giving goes to bless people who, relatively speaking, are already financially blessed? Am I giving to those outside my social, ethnic, and economic background (Luke 14:12-14)?
- Is my generosity with my finances a smokescreen for a lack of generosity with my faith and my time, such as participation in missions and evangelism and Christian fellowship?
- How much of my giving will never benefit my family or me? Am I truly giving “away” just investing in great preaching, good youth ministry and great church programs for my family and those like us?
- If I received a raise right now, where would the money go? Which would change first, my lifestyle or my giving?
- If I were on trial for being a Christian, would my financial bottom line be enough to convict me?
- Do I have a good understanding of the difference between what is essential and what is extra? Am I easily able to resist indulging in “extras”?
- Am I asking God to show me opportunities to tangibly love others through giving and serving?
- Do I give above and beyond the tithe? Do I seek creative ways to bless and help others in need?
- Does the portion of my budget or allowance spent on clothing, hair care, perfume, cosmetics, jewelry and other appearance related items come close to what I spend on good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10)?
- When was the last time I carefully studied passages (Psalm 1:2) on giving and money in Scripture (such as James; Luke 12, 16; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 1 Timothy 5-6)?
- Are there elements of risk and sacrifice in my giving? Does my “giving portfolio” look as though I trust the Father who owns all things and can provide for me no matter what, or is it closer to a “tip” for someone who has helped me out?