Oftentimes, pastors are reluctant to talk about giving because of the way culture has taught us to think about money. Culture talks about giving in manipulative, coercive, and guilt-laying ways. But as many of you know, at Skyline we don’t shy away from hard topics. We’re dedicated to teaching the relevance of Scripture in truth and love.
So then, what does the Bible have to say about giving? Let’s throw out the sales pitches and talk simply about what the Bible says about giving and how we view your gifts at Skyline Church.
Perhaps one of the most popular verses known in the Christian faith is John 3:16. “God so love the world that He gave…” God GAVE His one and only Son for YOU and for me. There has been no greater act of giving than when Jesus went to the cross for all of mankind. And did you know the words “give, gave, and giving” are used over 1,500 times in the Bible? Giving is mentioned more than faith! If we leave out talking about giving we have left out a HUGE portion of the Bible.
Do you know why it is mentioned so often in the Bible? Because you can say you have faith all you want, but if you don’t give, you’re not growing in faith. It’s that simple. Skyline wants to produce followers of Christ that are growing in faith seven days a week. Growing people change. That includes how you view your finances. 2 Corinthians 8:7 is just one verse that teaches us that eventually our faith will be stretched in the area of giving, “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
Giving is always an opportunity. God wants us to grow in giving because that means we’re growing in faith. I remember meeting a visitor at Seven Church (now Skyline Lakeside) years ago that approached me after one of our services. He shared how he went to church three times throughout the year at three different churches, and every time the church was talking about giving. He was fuming and he accused churches of always talking about money. And now he was at our church and guess what we were talking about? Giving. I looked him right in the eye and said, “I think God is trying to tell you something.”
If you get frustrated when a church talks about giving, that’s a tell-tale sign that God is trying to work on that area of your life. And I’ll tell you the same thing I told that man … don’t give. Maybe that’s the first time you heard a pastor tell you not to give but I mean it. God is more interested in your heart than your money. Giving with a reluctant or resentful heart is someone who is giving in vain (2 Corinthians 9:7). God doesn’t want your money if He doesn’t have your life.
Maybe you’ve been excelling in the knowledge of Scripture, serving, and doing all the “Christian things” you think you ought to like 2 Corinthians 8:7 talks about. But there’s going to come a time where God is going to stretch you in the grace of giving because giving reveals where your heart is. Giving allows us to express appreciation for what He has done in the past. It also allows us to check our heart and our priorities in the present, but most of all, giving allows us to grow in faith in the future.
Giving allows me to evaluate my priorities and motivations. By nature, we have a tendency to make things all about ourselves. Think of the self-centered man in Luke 12. The wealthy man wondered what he should do with all his excess wealth. He decided that he should figure out how to hold on to more of it. So, he tore down his barns to build bigger ones. He kept all his wealth to himself, only to pass away and never spend the earnings he stored up on Earth.
I remember the first time this idea of “giving” hit me. I heard a message from David Jeremiah at Shadow Mountain Community Church, and he challenged me. He said if you want to know where your heart is look at your checkbook. Sure enough, he was right. God owns everything. We’re called to be good stewards of all that He has put in our lives... And my spending was all about my interests, not God, not the church, not any kind of generosity. I had to decide if I was willing to live with a heart that only thought of myself.
My wife and I are giving to the 101010 Campaign and making a commitment like we’ve never done before because we want to grow in our faith! And I know, he who gives little, gets little (2 Corinthians 9:6). This is no small aspiration for us as a church and it requires no small act of giving on our part. But we WANT to GROW in faith as a church!
Skyline’s goal of the 101010 Campaign is to see more and more people give their lives to Christ. Truly, we want to light up the scoreboard in Heaven. We want more and more souls to one day call Heaven home. We have an incredible opportunity in front of us.
My goal is to influence as many people as I can to experience Jesus. You have 8-15 people in your Oikos (relational network) right now who don’t know Christ, but they will within the next 10 years! That’s what it’s all about. A church of our size is committed to being a model church in our community. That means stewarding your giving well, devoting ourselves to growth, and teaching the relevance of Scripture. I have no business telling you how much you should give, but I do believe in teaching you about sacrificial giving. Whether you give $5, $500, or 5 Million, I want to encourage you to ask God what you should do. If you're wrestling through how to steward your finances, I want to invite you to watch your 10/10/10 series on the idea of giving on the Skyline YouTube page.
With all of us ALL IN, we will absolutely be able to light up the scoreboard in Heaven!!