Most people try giving up something or other during the Lenten season. Giving up, giving, or rather alms-giving has traditionally been part of this holy season. However, in recent years, people are giving up on giving money and material things. Instead, some people are giving up conveniences such as Facebook/Twitter, Internet, chocolate and so on which do not cost them anything at all other than a little inconvenience. So I would like to pose and try answering the basic question: Should we be giving our hard-earned money to the church or charity?
Giving your money during Lent does not have any special merit; however, Lent provides us one of the best opportunities to develop a spiritual discipline of giving away money. The Bible never says that money is evil. No, the often cited saying “money is the root of all evil” is not found in the Bible! Instead the Bible says: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:10 NRSV).
Therefore, we need a spiritual discipline to resist the love of money controlling us, our decisions, and actions. We need to learn to control money and one of the ways a believer could do this is by inculcating systematically giving away money.
The biblical God, from the earliest days, is seen as requiring people to give back to God from what they have graciously received from Him as a blessing. God wanted the first fruits of their labor from the Israelites as soon as they settled in the promised land of Canaan. Notice that God wanted the first and the best and NOT the last and leftover! Moreover, God also required from them to give away a tenth, a specific amount or percentage, of all they made through their labors. He even declared it “holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27: 30-32). In fact, a tenth was only one of the requirements of giving in the Old Testament. If one calculates all required giving for the people of Israel, it comes to around 33 percent!
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ talks about money more than he talks about the kingdom or salvation. In one of these instances, Jesus says, “When you give to the needy…” (Matthew 6: 2-3). Notice that Jesus didn’t say “if” you give money. He presumed that God’s people should have learned by now to give. That’s why he said “when” you give money. Throughout the New Testament we notice several instances of believers generously giving away money for the work of the Lord. Most apostles of Christ encouraged believers to give for the Lord’s work because the Lord has given himself to us and we need to be giving as the Lord prospers us. How is your giving and giving up this Lent? I hope and pray that you have not given up on giving!