By Ryan Shaw
This is the third article in our series of six on the six roles in the Great Commission. Every believer has been redeemed to serve Jesus’ global purpose of reconciling every people group to Himself in some way.
Six such roles have been identified. Each of us, no matter ethnic background, education, family status or how much money we have, is called to participate with at least one of these six. Most believers will serve Jesus through several of these roles.
We have already considered the calling of message bearers (alternative term for missionary) as well as global harvest intercessors. Today, we will look at the calling to give to the Great Commission.
It is tempting for some who may be reading to stop now concluding, “I don’t have extra money so this doesn’t apply to me.” All believers are invited into the joy of giving to the Lord (no matter our income level), yet there are some who the Spirit has specifically called and mandated to give extraordinarily to the Kingdom of God.
Don’t mistakenly think this refers only to the wealthiest believers among us. Some who don’t have a lot will give large percentages of their livelihood to the Kingdom. It is not about an amount but a life surrendered heart to Jesus and His Kingdom purposes.
The Bible teaches people are not the source for fulfilling any of our needs. God alone is to hold this place of provider in our hearts. It also teaches He is the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) and all the gold and silver in the world is His (Haggai 2:8).
Yet we also know God uses His children who willingly and cheerfully obey Him to help finance the work of the global harvest (2 Corinthians 9:7). He doesn’t need our giving yet invites us to do so to reveal our heart of love for Him. Such giving brings deep joy and satisfaction.
One of the greatest thrills in a disciple’s life is to participate in God’s work through giving. We are blessed financially (even when the amount is little), not so that we can hoard money or spend it on ourselves, but to be a blessing to others and giving to the global harvest.
God is committed to partnering with believers catching His global heartbeat and giving extravagantly to see global harvest springing forth among unreached and unengaged people groups.
Statistics tell us that presently only 1.73% (213 billion US dollars) of the total income earned annually by members of the global Church is given to the Lord.
Of this amount, only 5.4% (11.4 billion US dollars) of total giving among the entire global Church goes toward cross-cultural outreach (foreign mission activities) and church planting.
Of this amount, only 1% goes to those working in unreached and unengaged areas where there is no established witness for Jesus. Most funds given for cross-cultural ministry are going to areas where the gospel is already planted.
The low status of current giving suggests we do not care about what He supremely cares about. The way we handle the financial resources entrusted to us (no matter how small) speaks volumes about our level of commitment to His purposes. We may need to rethink our priorities and align them again with His purposes.
The place to start is with the tithe. It is alarming how few believers actually tithe at least ten percent of their income to God.
In Malachi 3:8-10 God rebukes Israel, telling us we are actually robbing God when we fail to
give back to Him the first ten percent of all our income. This is the base level of Biblical giving and we needn’t stop with this percentage.
I know many who incrementally increase the percentage of their giving annually. My wife and I have sought to do this since we were first married (though we are message bearers and don’t necessarily have a lot), whether our income increased during a particular year or not.
Every dollar is God’s already, yet by commanding us to give, He teaches us dependence on and
confidence in Him, not our money. One of the greatest sins of many in the body of Christ is greed. We think just a little more money will bring the fulfillment we’ve always wanted.
We counter this spirit of greed by learning, applying and teaching others the principles of generous
giving. We face the natural fear of not having enough, overcoming it with Scriptural truth that God is sufficient for us. In the face of natural fear, we give extraordinarily.
As we step out trusting Him through giving, He shows He is faithful by not leaving us in lack. I have often heard it said we cannot out give God. What an amazing truth. If we give, He will take care of us. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”(Galatians 6:7).
Experiencing this time and again grows our hearts with faith and trust. Worry and fear over finances is defeated.
God calls us to this life of sacrificial giving, even before we can “afford” it. Remember that the dollar amount doesn’t matter, but the heart of the giver is what God is after.
Giving connects us to Kingdom work being done around the world. We might not be doing the actual work ourselves, but we’ve entered into spiritual relationship with it through our giving, and thus receive a spiritual reward related to it.