Examples of Giving

The pattern of giving exemplified throughout the New Testament is one of offerings -- not the mandated offerings of the Law, but of true "freewill" offerings. Examples abound regarding many forms of giving, including the giving of material possessions (including money). Before focusing on the New Testament, it must be noted that even the Law, which was a shadow of good things to come (Hebrews 10:1), contains a number of examples of freewill offerings. These offerings contrasted sharply with the other mandated and penalty bound requirements of the Law. Freewill offerings always seemed to be better at showing the heart of the people, especially when they cheerfully looked after a need. A few of these examples from the time of the Law...

Exodus 25:1-9 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give. 3 These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; 4 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 5 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; 6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 7 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

Exodus 35:4-9 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.

1 Chronicles 29:16-17 [King David praying...] O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. (Clarification ours)


  • Even from the time of the Law, the building of God's tabernacle and subsequent temple were both from freewill offerings, so that God would be glorified through the open generosity of His people. This "shadow" provides an example of how our care for God's tabernacle today, through the cheerful and freewill gifts of His people, brings glory to Him. This Old Testament tabernacle is not representative of a church building in the New Testament; rather it is symbolic of the living building of the church. The people of the church -- all believers -- are this new tabernacle, within whom God dwells by His Holy Spirit.

    Ephesians 2:21-22 In him [Jesus] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Clarification ours)

    Based on this, it shouldn't surprise us that other New Testament passages remind that we are to especially care for fellow believers.

    Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

    Romans 12:13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

    If we truly were caring for the people -- who are the church -- out of freewill generosity, imagine how greatly God would be glorified even amongst non-believers! This generosity should flow naturally from the love that God has given us...

    1 John 3:16-18 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (See 1 John 4:7 too!)


Two additional examples from the Old Testament era also provide generalized example for the church. Hosts of timeless principles are set forth in the book of Proverbs -- nuggets of truth valid before, during, and after the Law.

Proverbs 11:25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 22:9 A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

The heart of these proverbs is reflected in the New Testament era, throughout the multitudes of examples regarding this topic of giving. This passage we begin with is not the first example; rather it is arguably the best, specifically in the breadth of what is covered.

2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

16 I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

22 In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 24 Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

9:1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we-not to say anything about you-would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!


  • Christian giving is not out of compulsion. This conclusion is not new. The same Holy Spirit that teaches today has taught the church from the very beginning. The teacher (or pastor) whose writings became known as The Epistle of Barnabas, though not a writer of Scriptures (nor did he claim to be), shows clearly what the early church believed in this regards. Writing circa 100 A.D. (and certainly no later than 132 A.D.) these words follow a few points regarding the formerly mandated sacrifices and offerings of the law...

    Therefore he has abolished these things, in order that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is free from the yoke of compulsion, might have its offering, one not made by man. (The Epistle of Barnabas 2:6)

    Consider how far this ancient statement is from the following facts regarding the largest evangelical Protestant denomination in the United States. It appears that compulsion has become way of life in their churches (and they are not alone). When something is represented to be an obligation, it becomes coercion regardless of claims to the contrary. Bullying (a synonym of coercion) does not have to be physical or even done openly with words. Placing someone as a second-class Christian or unrepentant sinner (robbing God) is still mental coercion.

    The primary method for promoting stewardship in Southern Baptist congregations is teaching that a 10 percent tithe belongs to God, is due to God, and should be given to God. ... Eighty-three percent of congregations surveyed indicated they promoted giving in this fashion. The next most common approach to encourage giving was to preach sermons on the topic of stewardship. Though coercion is not employed, both methods indicate that tithing is considered an obligation for a Christian. (Emphasis ours. Southern Baptist Congregations Today, Phillip B. Jones, February 2001, pdf document found on www.sbc.net)

    With other statistics showing an average giver only at two or three percent, instead of the demanded ten percent, it appears that coercion doesn't work to well. Perhaps it's time for the church to discover the true principles of New Testament giving, such as those found here in this letter to the Corinthians.


  • Giving is to be done cheerfully. Church pews are filled with anything but cheerful givers, mostly due to the demands for tithing. While church leaders are quick to inform the people that this is their problem, poor attitude of the heart, these leaders take no responsibility for forming that attitude. Consider the person who does want to give of their time. They are quite likely to be told that time doesn't count unless the tithe is first given. Another wants to give of their belongings, yet they may be told that this too doesn't count unless the monetary tithe be first paid. Still others feel led to give to the homeless, or a foreign missionary they know, or perhaps a local ministry meeting a required need, all to be told that this giving is irrelevant and out of God's will unless the tithe first be paid to their church. Unsure that they cannot first meet the ten percent, and questioning that they still feel led to give otherwise, they grudgingly start giving only to their church. The result: another batch of legalistic, obligated, non-cheerful givers, compliments of the church and its' new law.

    Pastor Neal Bower makes it clear that, in his view, tithing is not even giving until all the demanded monetary ten percent has been paid to your church.

    But tithing is not giving. Here is the key: the tithe is not my money. If it is not mine then I can't spend it. I can't save it. I can't even give it away. The tithe is the Lord's. It is in my possession, but I must return it to its owner. I can't give it, since it isn't mine. ... It matters not the period of history, to withhold the tithe is stealing. Unless you are returning 10% of your [gross] income to the local church every year, you too are robbing God. (Emphasis theirs. Clarification regarding amount of income is ours based on another chapter in the work. The Final Frontier, Dr. Neal Bower, Simple Living Publishing, 2005)

    And there you have it! Unless you are a slave to this new church law (cheerfully of course), you are nothing but a thief. Being called a thief without cause does nothing to promote cheerful giving. It is church leaders propping up this artificial system who are stealing - stealing the joy from otherwise willing givers.

  • Giving is not to be done grudgingly.

  • Giving is to promote equality, not create hardship.

  • Giving is a testimony and result of love!!!

  • Giving is to provide for the physical and spiritual well being of saints.

  • Whatever you have committed to give, of your own free choice, make sure you follow through on it.

  • A spiritual harvest will be reaped from physical giving. The reaping, in verse 6, does not promise material wealth in response to giving. Believers will reap (or experience) spiritual blessing from (and through) material giving. Anytime we become part of what God is doing we are guaranteed to experience blessing! God's only promise regarding physical and material things is that He will supply all our needs (see verse 8).

    Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

  • We give knowing that God provides all we have, to meet our needs and those of others.

  • Notice the contrast of this New Testament standard (the outworking of grace in generosity and love) to the mandated requirements (obligation) of the Old Testament Law.


The next passage, which certainly has application for New Testament giving, also comes from Paul's letters.

Romans 12:4-8 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


  • Believers have unique and special functions (and gifting) within the church. As some are called and gifted for teaching, others are called and gifted especially for giving to the needs of others. These individuals have been given the means and desire to do more! This does not minimize the fact that all believers are called to be a generous and giving people, it merely establishes that everyone does not have to be equal in regards to it.



The apostle Paul unquestionably considered giving to be a continual part of Christian living. Without ever pointing to a tithe or compulsory form of giving, he continually offered pointers on how a believer should be thinking.

Philemon 13-14 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced.


  • Giving is not just about money.

  • Giving is not to be forced. We should not be trying to force, guilt, or coerce anyone into giving.

  • Giving is to be spontaneous, from a heart full of love.

  • This passage is in regards to a possession rather than money. Yet it concerns extraordinary circumstances because that possession was a run-away slave, who unquestionably would have been of financial benefit to his owner. Though the circumstances of a Christian owning a slave are not typical of today, the foundational giving concepts behind this passage still apply.


While thinking about possessions, take note that those who have established a new law of tithing for today's church demand a tithe of your property as well.

Should I tithe an inheritance? ... Answer: An inheritance is increase. It is what God has increased you with. Therefore you tithe everything that comes into your possession from that inheritance. (Common Questions on the Tithe by Pastor Simon, http://www.teachingpages.co.uk.)

Taking to heart a principle from the last Bible passage we examined, that giving is not to be forced, the true principle for a believer is one that will be echoed throughout this entire section: Use it all for God's glory! If you want to sell a possession, or some of it, and give to the poor, to missions, or to your church, then it is within your power and right to do so. Can you see how different this is from the legalistic requirement of the new tithers? For example, if you inherited a piece of property that you know a Christian camp could use, the tithe legalizers would tell you that you must first sell it, or some of it, or use some of your other savings (if you have them) to pay at least ten percent of its' value to your church. Only then could you think about giving it to that Christian camp. Mercifully, in the freedom we have been given in the New Covenant, this is not necessary. Give as God leads! Remember that the modern tither's scenario wouldn't have been in view even in the Old Covenant either, since property was never a focus of the Old Testament tithe.

We began this section with a long excerpt from the second letter to the Corinthians. The first letter had much to say regarding giving as well.

1 Corinthians 16:1-3 Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.


  • Giving is to help God's people spiritually and physically. Freewill gifts are all that are in view here, not tithes. While some say that the "in keeping with his income" is justification for setting a percentage of income (i.e. 10%), the phrase "as he may prosper", used in many other translations, conveys the thought better. God only desires that you share as you are able. A percentage amount is not set anywhere in this passage.

    This passage is a reflection of the early church's instruction that the poor not be forgotten (see the next passage under consideration; Galatians 2:10). Even in the Law, when an equivalent statement "in keeping with his income" was used, namely "in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 16:10)", it was not used in conjunction with the tithe, but rather in combination with free-will offerings (see Deuteronomy 16:16-17). The context of the passage in Deuteronomy carried the full implication that these freewill offerings be used for fellowship with family and employees (servants), plus a reminder to not forget those in full time service to God, the poor and helpless, and even the outsider, "the alien" (see Deuteronomy 16:11, 14). The result of this generosity, even in the Old Testament, is promised to be "joy!" (See also Deuteronomy 16:15).

  • Saving up a number of smaller gifts, or gifts from multiple individuals, for a particular purpose is encouraged. The local church body may administer the final distribution of the gifts, utilizing individuals set apart for that purpose. (Being set apart does not mean that a person has to have a special status or denominational ordination; merely that a body of believers chose them for that purpose, with ability and reliability in view).

  • Giving should be first on the basis of greatest need. At that time in church history, the particular need of the church in Jerusalem was exceedingly great. The church there was under continual persecution, with many believers having their possessions and properties confiscated. The giving being done here was not merely an issue of being nice - it was urgently needed! Yet in the midst of this urgency, no specified amounts or percentages were being demanded as they trusted that God would supply through the generosity of His people, where the need had been made known.


The next two passages, both with a common theme, will be examined together.

Galatians 2:8-10 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Romans 15:25-27 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.


  • Giving is first and foremost to assist the poor, both physically and spiritually.

  • Taking care of the poor was considered to be so important that it was singled out as first and foremost in instructions to the Gentile church.

  • Giving should also help those who shared the good news with you.


The second conclusion, above, focuses on a prominent issue: the need for believers to be taking care of the poor. This was never a secondary issue in regards to giving. So, before continuing with the overall topic of giving, a number of specific questions need answers.


  • Why is care of the poor, in and out of our churches, such a low priority of most church budgets and, likewise, in regards to individual giving?

  • How can churches claim that their new tithe must be paid to the "church first", or only to the church wherein the giver has exhausted their resources? This "church first" principle is often demanded even if the individual has poor and needy (physically or spiritually) that they could be helping directly and immediately, including those of their own family and neighbors.

    Can a portion of my tithe go directly to a needy family? No, it is best to give to the church first. ... the church is the first and worthiest recipient of Christian giving. As a rule of thumb, our tithes should go to the church, not anywhere else. ... By all means, we should give directly to the needy, but only in addition to-not in place of-our regular giving to the church. (Point 10 of Questions about Tithing, www.generousgiving.org)

    If you have something left over, feel free to help out the poor! This is an incredible claim that moves caring for the poor from being a forefront issue to an afterthought. The whole idea even violates the timeless principle set out in Proverbs...

    Proverbs 3:27-28 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"-when you now have it with you. (Consider also James 2:15-17, 4:17).


Paul wrote to the Ephesians, encouraging them to work with an intent to have something to share.

Ephesians 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.


  • Everyone is encouraged to be able to share with those in need (spiritually and physically). As giving people, we are to work with more than ourselves in view.


The whole message of the New Testament, for the church both then and now, is that giving is an act that comes from love.

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Teaching that actions stem from real love must be a primary biblical message for the church, as this is the message that permeates the New Testament!

To say that God will bless us in giving is quite different than saying "God promises to bless our obedience in giving", as the tithers and other legalizers advocate. Obedience comes from an obligation to follow a command or defined requirement. The New Testament message to the church is one of opportunity not of obligation! While it is true that there is a generally stated responsibility for all believers to be living a life of giving -- a message that all believers are to be instructed in -- this serves to teach people how to show their love. Again, the only motivation under grace is love.

There's no surprise that many of the passages we examined in this section come from Paul. This apostle went to extraordinary lengths to be an example to other elders and leaders of the church regarding their need to live a life of giving. Looking out for the weak was his way of life (which encompassed caring for the widow, children, the poor, those spiritually in need, etc). Read Acts 20:28-35 taking special note of the last verse...

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

The topic of giving always seems to get bogged down in money. In fact the scriptural life of giving, that we are called to, includes far more than mere money. A picture used throughout the New Testament is that of stewardship. Simply put this is the message that believers are faithful servants entrusted with all of the Master's goods.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful

We live in the Master's house, we eat of the Master's food and we benefit from His belongings.

Psalms 24:1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it

Since everything belongs to Him, we don't really give it back to Him, directly or in ritual. We're now called to use it as He would have us to! A shadow of this same principle was found in the Old Testament Law, regarding the giver eating his own tithe. It's a matter of obedience -- doing what the Master commanded -- that is fully at the heart of this issue. If we consider all we have to not belong to us, our usage of it all becomes an act of love.

An extension of the topic of giving goes beyond money and external physical things. As a believer, my body is no longer my own, it too belongs to the Master. My taking care of it is part of being a good steward of the Master's belongings.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Even our time is not our own, it belongs to the Master! The wise use of our time in carrying out the Master's business should be 100%. Taking the time to dwell on good things and to spend time in God's word is necessary daily.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

This doesn't mean that we have to be in a Bible study or church service all the time. Taking captive all thoughts should be a continual process. Remember, 100% of my mind belongs to God!

2 Corinthians 10:5b ...and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' [Emphasis ours]

It's important to understand priorities of giving. The spiritual upbringing and instruction of far too many children has been neglected by being too busy with church or perhaps even with work (to be able to pay a monetary tithe). Others have shifted the responsibility for this spiritual instruction almost completely to the church. God, in contrast, makes it clear that you are to be giving of your time to teach and example these things to your children. Which do you think better honors God; working extra hours to make a few more dollars to give to the church, or spending extra time with your family?

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Ephesians 6:4-5 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

As we consider priorities in regards to giving of our time, another major one concerns our spouses. Far too many Christian marriages fall apart because one or both were unwilling to give the time it takes to make any relationship work. The enemy of the best is the good. Many of the things that consume a person's time are good things, but they have to be held in proper perspective. As a person's relationship to their husband or wife suffers or falls apart, how do you think God would view any of these excuses: I didn't have time for my marriage because I was to busy working or I was too busy helping out at the church or homeless shelter. While each of these things is good, if they supersede what should be our greater priorities they become wrong. We are called to honor God in our relationships 100% of the time.

Ephesians 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32 This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

If you are single and you believe that God wants to use most of your time directly for service to others, then as God calls and enables, stay single (1 Corinthians 7:7-9). But -- and make this clear -- if you are married, God will never call you to neglect or divorce your spouse (1 Corinthians 7:10-11, Mark 10:6-9).

Working to provide for your family, or relatives, is also a valid use of your time. Some citing their version of new tithe law have claimed that giving should be to the church before helping out even family in need. But, Scriptures could not be clearer on what is more honoring to God.

1 Timothy 5:7-8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

The old expression "charity begins at home" is one that is based on this Scriptural truth. If our families are in need of clothes, food, shelter, medical care, etc., then our priority must be to use the resources God has provided us, whether physical goods, monetary wealth, or time, first to help our own families.


Believers need to understand that we also have a spiritual family that we should likewise seek to take care of. Brothers and sisters in Christ cannot turn their back on their eternal family.

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household

Helping this household may include direct intervention, giving to assist with physical needs or to hardship, but it can include far more. Giving to help meet spiritual needs is equally valid. Assisting your church to become a place of edification and education may be an important part of this.

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

1 John 3:16-18 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Dividing our time wisely, in an effort to give 100% to God, includes even sleep, rest and relaxation. Many under the Law, including the Pharisees, had missed the very reason God instituted a weekly day of rest -- we need it! If you aren't getting enough rest you are harming yourself and ultimately your ability to serve God through every aspect of your life.

Mark 2:27 Then he [Jesus] said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Jesus showed us that resting on the Sabbath was not a matter of legalistic nit-picking, but an opportunity to rest and be refreshed, which could likewise include helping others. The day is no longer important, for it was the Law that mandated Saturday only and from this we have been set free.

Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

Following Jesus' resurrection, the church began to celebrate this event on a weekly basis through a gathering on that day. Using Sunday as a time of rest is a good and logical thing wherein most, in our society, do not have to work. The principle still applies; man needs a "Sabbath", or a time of rest. A believer's "rest" includes, or should include, spiritual rest. By this we mean an opportunity to be fed spiritually. This was the reason that believers sought a new common day of worship on Sunday, an opportunity to gather together for fellowship, correction, encouragement and instruction.

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing , but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

While no longer a law, with penalties and mandated adherence, this is something we do out of love for our Lord, as we endeavor to best serve Him with 100%. While not really the topic of this work, it's interesting to note that the Law never mandated getting together weekly for worship. In fact, worship was forbidden in the synagogues until after the destruction of the temple. It was only at the mandated festivals in Jerusalem that people came together to worship. Isn't it great how we have been freed to worship God whenever and wherever His people get together!

We've met and read about believers that actually feel guilty about enjoying themselves. When they find themselves at a point where they are enjoying life, or a time of relaxation or entertainment, they feel guilty because there are those who cannot. Of course there is excess, when one's focus becomes entertainment, enjoyment, and relaxation to the point of sloth, but this does not negate that God does give us things and times for our enjoyment! It's all about balance.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (Emphasis ours)

All the things we have considered so far are good uses of our time and efforts, along with more "religious sounding" things such as prayer, exercising whatever spiritual gifts and talents God has entrusted us with (Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4), Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15), and making disciples (Matthew 28:19). All of this is part of using 100% of our time and resources for the Master.

Ephesians 5:15-16 Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Making the most of every opportunity will never happen by becoming a list making (or following) legalizer. The same God who told us to make the most of every opportunity was the one who freed us from this legalistic system. Yet, some have tried to say that since the Law is a shadow of things to come (Hebrew 10:1), it merely means that the Law's mandated 10% is now the minimum they must give to their church (of course disregarding all we've learned so far about the tithe).

Does the tithe apply to us today, or was it just for Old Testament Israel? The tithe does apply, but not in the way we might think. ... The overarching standard of giving in the Old Testament is the tithe. In the New Testament, however, the tithe is never commanded and rarely even mentioned. ... So the scarce mention of the tithe in the New Testament is evidence not that God expects less of us today but that far more is possible. The tithe is still a helpful divine guideline insofar as it reminds us to give our firstfruits (i.e., the first and best of our income) to the Lord. But by New Testament standards, the tithe is only the beginning. ... Does the tithe apply to us today? Yes, as the starting point of Christian giving. (Emphasis theirs. Point three of Questions about Tithing, www.generousgiving.org.)

Even if it was the same tithe that was being spoken of, this concept becomes absurd if applied to other areas of the Law. Imagine trying to take other aspects of the Law and be more zealous about them! The result would be churches full of "super Pharisees." Again, it must be emphasized that the message of the Law was not the letter of it, but the truth behind it! Telling people that the Law required ten percent so grace now requires more, gives the legalizer all the ammo they need to pat themselves on the back when they give their 11% to the church... while at the same time neglecting their family, the poor, etc. This is not a "straw man" scenario, as far too many churches claim that giving the tithe to the church comes first and that giving it in spite of hardship is your obligation. One well known financial ministry demands that even a person in bankruptcy continue to pay their tithe before repaying any creditors! Repaying what is borrowed is commanded of the righteous (Psalms 37:21, Romans 13:8), tithing is not for the New Testament believer. Which will be found to be better honoring God?

So what does grace require? 100%! Does this mean that we have to give all our money to a church? (Some cultic organizations have actually gone there). No, it means that our life of Christian stewardship is 100%. Every aspect is to be lived as an act of giving... to ourselves (caring for our bodies and spouse, whom we are one with), to our families (in time and provision), to the household of faith (caring for the weak and poor and those serving in ministry, especially missions and evangelism), and to outsiders (as we help all poor and needy, both physically and spiritually). Living a balanced life of love is a way of life - 100% giving all the time! While the Law pointed to this in a shadow, far too few found it. With the example and revelation of grace in the New Testament, plus the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers enabling us to now live it, the church has no excuse.