Making a List

In the extreme, we have seen churches that literally keep a list of their members' giving; for the purpose of shaming (directly or indirectly) those they feel aren't giving "their share." This is an unbiblical practice that effectively robs the giver of their God-given choice and joy in giving - in whatever manner God has set before them.

Many individuals, officially or unofficially, personally keep the same type of list because they are encouraged to do so by their church. When churches constantly are berating (or guilting) their members into "doing their duty", of course as defined by the church, people feel the need to keep a list to see how they rate in this demanded duty. Churches that claim the right and necessity to collect tithes especially make this duty-bound list making a necessity.

If giving becomes a believer's way of life all these lists are unnecessary. Giving of your finances, material resources, hospitality, influence, and time, as God has provided and as He gives you opportunity, becomes something natural and part of your everyday life. For example; breathing is a natural part of your everyday life and yet it is not necessary to keep a list of how many breaths you took today.

Matthew 6:1-4 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Having made giving your way of life, you don't need to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. There is no need to keep track of how much you have given, or to whom, merely that you have sought to make the most of every opportunity that God has given you.

Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Your Father in heaven is the only one watching that matters! Why do we feel that we need to know how God is using what He has led us to do? If God graciously enables you to see what He is doing, rejoice, but if you never know this side of eternity it should suffice that God used you for His glory. To demand anything more only comes from pride.

1 Corinthians 4:6b-7 "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Some have taken this so far as to not keep, or ask for receipts, for any eligible charitable giving. While this is between you and God, the God-ordained authorities have seen fit to make this system part of our lives. Balance in life comes from not allowing the system to force (or limit) what giving opportunities you have available. If God wants you to help out a friend in need, or a poor family down the road, your inability to get a charitable receipt should never stop you from doing what needs to be done. But, wherein God leads you to give financially or materially in a manner that would enable you to claim the charitable deduction on your taxes, this becomes God's way of providing you even more to use for Him.