A lot of organisations conduct various types of fund raising today, including churches. I value the Bible as God’s Word. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and beneficial for every aspect of personal and church life. We know the Bible has a lot to say about “giving”, but what about “fund raising”? Interestingly enough, the apostle Paul, along with the many other things he did, spent many years raising funds from his churches for some needs in the church at Jerusalem. This is referred to in his letters as “the collection”. He gave some detailed instructions to his churches concerning their giving (see (1 Corinthians 16:1-3. 2 Corinthians 8-9. Romans 15:25-27). Let’s look at how he went about this and draw some lessons on “Giving to God’s Work”.
1. Give Willingly
Giving to God’s work is to be done voluntarily and willingly. It is not a command to give specific offerings like it is to tithe (2 Corinthians 8:8). It’s entirely up to you to choose whether you want to be involved or not. Paul was pleased when people were “eager” to give (2 Corinthians 8:3-5; 9:1-2). When God moves on people’s hearts they voluntarily and willingly choose to give to God’s work. There should not be any sense of pressure or obligation (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
No one “has to” give to any project. Giving is a heart issue and where your heart is, your treasure (or finances) will follow. When a person’s heart is in the church they are a part of, then they want to contribute as they are able towards it’s future.
2. Everyone Should Consider Giving
Paul encourages willing and voluntary giving but then he says “each one of you” should give (1 Corinthians 16:2. 2 Corinthians 9:7). It’s like you don’t have to give but you really should! Paul believes strongly in the cause he is raising money for and therefore he believe that everyone should contribute. He desires unity of vision and purpose amongst his churches.
3. Prepare to Give
Paul did not resort to pressured giving or hasty decisions in financial matters. He encouraged each person to think and pray about what they should give. Each person was to “set aside” a sum of money during the week and then bring it to the church gathering where it was collected (1 Corinthians 16:1. 2 Corinthians 9:3). There are so many creative ways to give.
4. Give Proportionately
Paul asked people to give “in keeping with their income” or “according to their means” (1 Corinthians 16:2. 2 Corinthians 8:11-12). He understood that a person can only give of what he or she has, not what they don’t have. Paul’s desire was that there would be equality - not one “hard pressed” and the others “relieved” (2 Corinthians 8:13). God is pleased with “equal sacrifice not equal gifts”.
No gift is too small, in fact small gifts matter to God (read the inspiring story of what God can do with a little girl's donation of only 57 cents). Of course, those with greater financial capacity can help us by giving more.
5. Give Generously
Paul encouraged generous giving (2 Corinthians 8:20; 9:5-6). There are three aspects to generosity: giving based on wisdom (a calculated decision – “giving of what you have”. See 1 Corinthians 16:2. 2 Corinthians 8:11-12), giving sacrificially (“giving up something” - see 2 Corinthians 8:2-5,9) and giving in faith (believing God for a harvest on what we sow – see 2 Corinthians 9:6-13).
As you pray about giving, use wisdom; then add in as much sacrifice and faith as God directs you too. There is a powerful biblical principle at work when we give. We are investing in the kingdom and, in due time, there will be a return that is greater than what we give. This is a law, a principle and a promise from God’s Word. Giving is not just about sacrifice. It positions us to receive some tremendous blessing from the Lord. God blesses and helps those who invest in and help to build his purpose on planet earth. God is the God of “re-supply”. You can’t out give God! As Jesus once said, "It is more blessed to give than receive."
6. Give Joyfully
Paul encouraged joyful giving (2 Corinthians 8:2-3; 9:6-8. Romans 15:25-27).
Giving to worthwhile projects is not to be drudgery or a chore. It’s a joy to invest our lives in something that really matters.
7. Ensure Financial Accountability
Paul wanted to ensure that the church leaders took good care in handling the money given (2 Corinthians 8:18-21). Integrity was very important.
Integrity should be a high value, especially in the area of finance. Ensure propers systems and procedures for collecting, counting and spending donated funds.
8. Excel in the Grace of Giving
Paul wanted his churches to excel, or be good at, giving, just as they were at other aspects of the Christian life (2 Corinthian 8:7). God is a great giver who gave his only Son willingly, sacrificially, generously and joyfully for our benefit. All Christian giving is our response of gratitude for God’s generosity to us (2 Corinthians 8:9; 9:15). Also, we are to be like him. This means becoming generous and giving people in every area of our life – time, service and finance. Giving provides for people’s needs, is an expression of thanks to God and causes people to praise God (2 Corinthians 9:12-14).