Online Giving, More Than Just Convenient

September 13, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership

I talked about money for the first time at the Grove yesterday.  My apt. deck did not get t-p’d and all 4 of my tires are still in tact, so I believe I have survived.  We have an elders meeting tonight, so I will keep you posted.

During the sermon, we (re-)introduced online giving to the Grove Church and our website.  You can check it out here–Online Giving.  At first glance, the use of online-giving just seems to be a trendy gimmick to make giving more convenient, a savvy business plan, if you will.  The more I thought about it this week, the more I became convinced that it is a lot more than just convenient.

Many people struggle with the discipline of giving.  People want to give regularly, but they often forget.  Even if we remember to give, we can’t remember the checkbook.  (Checkbook?  What’s a checkbook?  It’s that bound set of pieces of paper sitting on your record player next to the lava lamp)  People want to tithe based on income rather than when they are attending, but how do you give when you’re not there?  I believe that most people want to honor God with their finances but feel trapped or undisciplined.  This is where online giving can make a huge difference.  Sign up, set up a recurring gift tied to when you get income and boom it’s done.  You can’t forget, so the discipline problem is gone.  Your giving is tied to what you make, so you can give to God first, rather than scraping together what’s left over.

Choose to give.  Choose to give regularly.  Choose to give to God from the first of what you have.  Choose to give based on what and when you make money.  Choose to honor God with your money, and you will receive tremendous blessings from God and you will be partnering with the other people in your church to reach people who desperately need God.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;

then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10

Stuff Christians Need to Stop Saying #5

What are the reasons that you would make a fifth installment to your franchise?  There seem to be only a handful of reasons:

1) You are such a pop culture phenomenon that you could keep making movies until the end of time and your people will come see them–Star Wars (7), Harry Potter (6 and counting), and Star Trek (11).

2) You have an amazing character and can consistently rework the franchise–Batman (7 live action and multiple animated), Superman (5 live action), James Bond (20+)

3) You have no pride and will crank out cheap movies like crazy–Horror Movies (Jason, Freddy, Saw), Stupid teen movies (Not Another, Scary Movie, etc.), Mediocre kid movies (Beethoven, Barbie, etc.)

Anyone thinking I have pride and won’t crank out cheap product is sadly mistaken.

Set-up: Someone goes through some sort of financial difficulty that results in some sort of sin, like greed or theft.

Response: It’s like the Bible says, “money is the root of all evil.”

Let us all be clear.  First of all, that is not what the Bible says.  Repeat, that is not what the Bible says, unless you put in some well-placed ellipses.  What the verse says is:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

My question is do we intentionally misquote this verse?  Why would we do that?  Well, if money is the root and not the love of money then I get off the hook.  It’s not my fault; it’s “money’s” fault.  This makes money some entity that has some power and control, like the googly-eyed money from the Geico commercials. 

I always feel like...Somebody's watching me.

I always feel like...Somebody's watching me.

It is not money that causes evil, but our love of money.

Furthermore, it is not the root of all evil.  It is a root of all kinds of evil.  We tend to exaggerate things that we don’t like or understand.  The more ridiculous we can make something sound, the more that we can discount it.  If we say money is the root of all evil, we know that’s not true, so then we can discount the truth that is there.  Money, or even the love of money, is not why I am impatient with my kids or I am lazy.  Even when the love of money is a root, it is not always the root.  The financial arguments we have with our spouse are rooted both in the love of money and selfishness.

However, if we look at what that verse says, we rightly should be convicted.  Our love of money, the fact that we give our pursuit of money top priority in our lives over significantly more important areas, causes a lot of problems.  It divides husbands and wives.  It leads to neglect of children and family.  It leads to dishonesty, coveting, stealing.  It pushes God out of the leadership of our lives.  I typed “it” to describe the love of money.  However, the love of money comes from within. Change “it” to “I” and then we have something (you will also have to change some verb tenses.  Shut up, grammar nerd).

Dude! Why bring this up?  Well, first I wanted to show you that pastors can talk about money and not bring up tithing (whoops.  FAIL).  Second, it breaks my heart to see the love of money tear families apart and pull people away from God.  Enjoy what God has given you, use it to glorify him and strengthen your family, but don’t let your love and pursuit consume you.

Money is just an inanimate thing, meant to be controlled by you and surrendered to God’s authority.  Don’t let the googly-eyed money wad control you.