The Power of the Preposition in Giving

Why do people give?

That’s easy.

They give from the heart, to vision.

Let’s start off with the “from” part.

All giving is a matter of the heart. I can’t think of anything more counter-cultural than parting with resources. If someone gives, they do it because something deep and internal has been affected.

A lot of teaching on stewardship is guilt-based, even fear-based. I don’t like it, and I don’t think it’s biblical. Yes, the Bible teaches that there are blessings with giving. Yes, the Bible teaches that any act of obedience or disobedience has consequence.

But that’s not what God wants to motivate us.

I was recently reading through Exodus and was amazed (again) to read how Moses had to tell the people to stop giving because they had more than they needed to construct all that God had commanded in terms of the Tabernacle.

Any of you pastors ever have to preach that message?

But their hearts were so taken that they couldn’t stop giving to the God who had liberated them from every bondage.

This is why Paul, in the New Testament, instructed people to give from their hearts. He knew it was the most powerful area to scour for motivation and obligation for the needs of the kingdom of God.

But people don’t just give “from,” but “to.” And what they give “to” is vision.

Vision is the destination. The goal. The promised land.

For Meck, it’s 20,000 active attenders with ministry in 20 countries. That’s 20,000 changed lives. That’s partnering with 20 incredibly-needy partners who are doing God’s work in ways we never could. That’s making a difference with our one and only life in ways few could ever imagine.

We teach people that giving is an act of worship. And, of course, it is.

But it is more than money.

It is the giving of our hearts, and then the commitment of our wills to the cause.

And God smiles on the giver.

And God honors the giver.

And God gives to the giver.

No wonder people give.

> Read more from James.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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