Truth: The Danger of Grace Giving

There is a danger to grace giving.  Grace giving is a response from a grateful heart to the Lord for all He is and all He has done.  It is a person who recognizes the things on earth do not matter compared to the spiritual issues of life and gives the first portion of what he earns not because he has to, because he wants to with a cheerful heart. Paul wrote, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)  There are several dangers in teaching and believing this doctrine.

First, some will believe that because grace is free to us, so grace giving must mean they don’t have to give. Life is by God’s grace, so “I’m going to experience God’s grace and lavish myself in it.” Some might say, “I don’t have the spiritual gift of giving, so I’ll let those who have the gift, cover for me.” Paul wrote, “6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: … he who gives, with liberality.” (Rom. 12:6-8) Grace is free to me, so I don’t have to give (very much).

Second, some will believe that others who are better off will give with more grace, because they have more ability. People often look at those who have a higher standard of living and expect them to give more.  All things being equal, that would be the case, however, those who are better off may not have been discipled to understand Paul’s admonition to those who were well off in Timothy’s congregation,

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,  19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim.  6:17-19)

Thirdly, some will believe grace giving is from the surplus of what they have. The surplus always refers to what is left over.  There may be much left over, but God wants to know if we will honor Him first. When we give ourselves to Him first, then giving becomes joyful, “And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” (2 Cor. 8:5) When we put ourselves in His hands, then the reality of grace giving comes from a willing heart, and the Holy Spirit can direct the amount to bless others through us.

Grace giving has several dangers, HOWEVER, tithing done in a legalistic manner is far more dangerous. Why is it more dangerous? First, tithing can cause people to choose what to give without depending on God. All they do is pull out the calculator, figure the amount and give it. It may be substantial, but their human self-discipline of just making a consistent choice may take over and there is no dependency on the Lord, so there is no faith in the Lord and Paul describes that in this way, “…for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23)

Secondly, tithing can become a ritual without reality. A person can go through the motions of giving, but without dependency on the Lord, there is no reality of thankfulness on the part of the giver to an awesome God who has provided so much.  The person may think that because he is giving ten percent, God will bless him or that God owes him for giving ten percent. That person does not have a biblical view of giving. See if he is open to what God’s word says on grace giving. (also check this link on grace giving)

Thirdly, tithing can limit how much God wants a person to give. God may want the person to give far more than ten percent.  God may convict some to give 20 or 40 or 60 percent, because they don’t need very much to live on.  Especially those who are older and need far less to live on because children are grown and expenses are far smaller, there is far more available to dedicate to the Lord!

If someone chooses to give ten percent from a grateful heart, that is great and can be grace giving!  That may come from a grateful and joyful heart. Giving ten percent is a good starting place to begin giving, but should not limit giving.  Grace giving is often going beyond ten percent, because of a grateful heart.  How much a person gives may indicate how grateful he is toward the Lord’s sacrifice for him.

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