Some years ago, a Barna research study found that only 8 percent of born-again Christians give 10 percent or more of their income. This is a sad statistic. Ellen G. White says: “In this life our possessions are limited, but the great treasure that God offers in His gift to the world, is unlimited. It comprehends every human desire, and goes far beyond our human calculations. In the great day of final decision, when every man shall be judged according to his deeds, every voice of self-justification will be hushed; for it will be seen that in His gift to the human race the Father gave all He had to give, and that they are without excuse who have refused to accept the gracious offering. We have no enemy without that we need to fear. Our great conflict is with unconsecrated self. When we conquer self, we are more than conquerors through Him who has loved us.”1


A. Who owns your money? “That’s pretty obvious,” you respond. “I own my money.” Wrong! The Bible teaches us that everything we own belongs to God. First Corinthians 4:7 says, “. . . what do you have that you did not receive?”

Ellen G. White says, “Our money has not been given us that we might honor and glorify ourselves. As faithful stewards we are to use it for the honor and glory of God. Some think that only a portion of their means is the Lord’s. When they have set apart a portion for religious and charitable purposes, they regard the remainder as their own, to be used as they see fit. But in this they mistake. All we possess is the Lord’s, and we are accountable to Him for the use we make of it. In the use of every penny, it will be seen whether we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.”2

Everything we have, we have received from God. When I understand that, suddenly the focus isn’t on my generosity (“I’m giving God 10 percent of my money”) but on God’s generosity (“God is graciously letting me use 90 percent”).

B. What makes you feel safe and secure? A lot of people feel safe because they have a high-paying job or a lot of money in the bank. The Bible teaches us that our safety and security come not from our paychecks but from the knowledge that each of us is a child of the King. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

C. Will there be a report card? This ties in with the first question. Many of us believe that our money belongs to us, so we don’t envision any accountability for what we do with it. Matthew 25:14-30 makes it very clear that we will be judged on how we handled the money entrusted to us. Our checkbook reveals a lot about our priorities. Before collecting an offering, someone once prayed, “O Lord, no matter what we say or what we do, here is what we think of You.”

As I’ve asked these questions, perhaps you’ve realized that your giving is not what it needs to be. Now, I want to give you some positive reasons for improving your giving. The only reason some people can think of for giving is “because I have to” or “because I feel guilty if I don’t.” But I want you to look at giving not as something you have to do but as something you want to do.


A. What you keep, you lose; what you give, you keep! Most of us think, “The utilities I paid for and the stereo I bought—at least I got something for my money. But the money I gave to the church, it’s just gone.” That’s not true; in fact, that idea is completely backward! All the stuff we bought, we’ll leave behind when we leave this world. But the money we gave that the Kingdom of God might increase, we will see the dividends of that as “treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20). Investment firms say, “Invest for the long term.” I couldn’t agree more: invest for eternity.

B. Giving will bring you more joy than hoarding! Where did we get the unwise idea that we can get more joy out of buying something else for ourselves than we can out of giving generously to someone? If you want more bang for your buck, try spending your money on someone else. Their joy will bring you lasting joy.

C. You cannot outgive God! Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. . . .” Second Corinthians 9:6 says, “He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.” I’m not talking about a shallow health-and-wealth, God’s-gonnamake-you-rich gospel, because God’s greatest blessings are rarely in the form of money. I simply mean God desires to bless you in so many ways. If your giving is not where it needs to be and you’ve decided this morning that you want to do better, where do you start?


A. You’ve got to commit to an amount to give. If your finances are a mess and you can’t commit to a tithe or offering right away, you can commit to tithe and to a specific dollar amount for offerings each payday that will come off the top. If you only give from what is left over, you’re not going to give God anything. Ellen G. White says, “If you have refused to deal honestly with God, I beseech you to think of your deficiency, and if possible to make restitution. If this cannot be done, in humble penitence pray that God for Christ’s sake will pardon your great debt. Begin now to act like Christians. Make no excuse for failing to give the Lord His own.”3

Consider also what she says: “The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. Christ’s selfsacrificing love is revealed upon the cross. That man might be saved, He gave all that He had, and then gave Himself. The cross of Christ appeals to the benevolence of every follower of the blessed Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give, give. This, carried out in actual benevolence and good works, is the true fruit of the Christian life. The principle of worldlings is to get, get, get, and thus they expect to secure happiness; but, carried out in all its bearings, the fruit is misery and death.”4

B. Commit to increasing the amount you give. You might decide every year that you’re going to increase a specific percent in offerings. You find the timing and amount that are plausible for you. As your finances straighten up, you can slowly move toward the level of giving you want to be at based on the systematic benevolence plan.


This is not about you and the church budget; this is about you and your relationship with God. Ellen G. White says: “The most difficult sermon to preach and the hardest to practice is self-denial.”5

Does your giving “stop” at nothing, or does your giving stop at “nothing”?

1 Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, 21, 22.

2 ———, Christ’s Object Lessons, 351.

3 ———, Counsels on Stewardship, 99.

4 Ibid., 14.

5 Ibid., 29.