Inflation is all over the news (and price stickers), and even the Fed Chair and Treasury Secretary are admitting that it is not, in fact, transitory. Even at the government reported rate of 7% (which is based on a lot of creative accounting, the real rate is closer to 15%) inflation is likely to outpace wage growth for most people. For many, this may make it difficult, if not impossible to support the church financially and make ends meet, even after cutting back on unnecessary expenses. If this is you, now or at some point in the future, you might feel like you’re a bad Christian for not giving money to the church. If this is you (or even if it isn’t) I want to remind you of two things: one, God doesn’t need your money, and two, there are other ways to give to the church.
First off, God doesn’t need your money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the gold in a thousand vaults, the Bitcoin in a thousand wallets, and every dollar the Fed will ever print. He is more than capable of supplying whatever resources His church needs when they need them. Unlike the false gods (whose temples, coincidentally, He also owns), God does not force His people to give to him, but rather wants their gifts to be voluntary, per 2 Corinthians 9:7. What He does command, however, is that believers (especially men, but that’s a topic for another time) provide for the members of their own households. (1 Timothy 5:8) Given that, it would actually be a sin to give to the church at the expense of one’s family’s needs, because God cares about obedience, more than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
Thankfully, God has given us other ways to give to the church besides money, which is my second point. You can give to the church, just by going to church. In Hebrews 10:23-25, Paul writes:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Notice how Paul does not mention any sort of financial giving as the reason you should go to church. Rather, we go to church to, along with worshiping God, encourage one another in love and good works, which is a form of worship and giving in and of itself.
Encouraging others is a gift to them. Now, you may not feel like you have a special gift of encouragement; you may struggle to find anything encouraging to say to someone going through hard times, and that’s okay. Just being at church can encourage the other members, even if you can’t think of any profound words of encouragement, just your presence is a reminder that they’re not alone. I think we all learned the importance of that during the Covid lockdowns. Just taking a genuine interest in others’ lives can be encouraging to them, and gives you opportunities to encourage them in love and good deeds, which is a gift in and of itself. The simple act of setting aside that time on Sunday to show up for church shows that you value assembling with believers and worshiping God more than whatever else you could be doing at the time. While you’re not giving money, you are giving your time, which is just as valuable, if not more so.
God is not disappointed if you can’t give money to the church. Any service you perform at the church, no matter how small it seems to you, is a gift to others and to God. He has gifted each of us differently, and we are to serve Him with the gifts we do have, not try to imitate the gifts of others.
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