Below is a biblical overview of charitable giving, as published in the Silver Lining.
The Bible contains many spiritual directives for charitable giving. It helps us to understand when we should give, how much we should give, what we should give, to whom we should give, and what our attitude should be when we give. In the Old Testament tithes and offerings were an obligation, but in the New Testament they are an opportunity to serve God, and are usually referred to as “giving” rather than “tithing.” Believers count it a privilege to be able to give, being exhorted "to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Since we are simply stewards of what God has given us, all that we are and everything that we have comes from, and belongs to, the Lord. Our earthly life and material possessions are temporal and will pass away. If we trust in our own strength and in uncertain riches, our faith is misplaced. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate…”
(I Timothy 6:17, 18).
Principles of giving
In giving, we are instructed to give early and regularly of our first fruits (I Cor. 16:2), during prosperous and hard times. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). If we plan to give of our first fruits, we will be certain to have laid up for the Lord so we will have something to give when the opportunity arises. Waiting until the end of the year to give may be beneficial from an earthly viewpoint, but it certainly doesn’t satisfy the scriptural directive to give early.
In addition to material blessings, we should give of our time and talents. This is oftentimes more difficult because they are so valuable to us. We are to give to our Lord, to our Church, to our family, to our brethren, and to our community. We are instructed to give according to what we have and our ability. We are to give with simplicity, freely, regularly, responsibly, cheerfully, honestly and sincerely. Giving of our time and material blessings is important, but giving of our love is more important than any gift we could possibly give (I Cor. 13). Love for the Lord should be the primary motivation for all giving (Col. 3:23).
Opportunities for giving
There are many opportunities for giving near and far within the Apostolic Christian Church and its charities. Giving starts where needs are seen firsthand. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (I John 3:17). Through the Church, alms giving assists brethren, friends and others who are in need. Local Church contributions and volunteers also help with needs in their community.
Apostolic Christian HarvestCall significantly broaden opportunities for volunteer activity and financial outreach, nationally and internationally (Eastern Europe, Mexico, India, Caribbean, and Child Sponsorship). Church Building Funds, Home for the Handicapped, Gateway Woods, Counseling Services and church nursing homes further expand opportunities for giving.
Longer term gifting supplements current giving thru endowment funds of the Church and its charities. Long-term gifts provide the foundation for newly initiated or on-going Church projects, and are resources for disasters and unexpected Church needs. The Apostolic Christian Church Endowment Fund accommodates brethren and friends making lifetime or longer-term gifts for the benefit of the Church and related charitable organizations. It also facilitates anonymous gifting, giving to multiple church funds, and planning for gift enhancing opportunities.
By giving bountifully, we shall also reap bountifully (II Cor. 9:6). It is an opportunity to receive a blessing from the Lord (Malachi 3:10). We would not want to limit that blessing by restricting our giving to some specific amount of money, time or talent; for the gospel of Jesus Christ, as presented in the New Testament, does not emphasize a percent of income or resources that we give.The blessing received may not be measurable in a material or earthly way; but we are promised there shall not be room enough to receive it if we prayerfully, and in faith, fulfill the gospel message by sharing what God has given us with those in need.