I’ve found this post by J.D. Greear to be very helpful in thinking about giving, generosity, and possessions.
He begins by identifying two different extremes that Christians often hold with regard to possessions. Either:
- God wants you to give 10%, and after that you can do whatever you want with your money.
- Whatever you give, you should be giving more.
The second position, he says, is much better, but it’s imbalanced and leads to despair and constant guilt. He gives three problems with it:
- It never ends.
- It’s out of sync with what the Bible says elsewhere about possessions.
- It ends up as a spiritualized sense of “compulsory” giving (contra 2 Corinthians 8-9).
Greear goes on to provide a scriptural matrix on this issue. “Any one of these principles, taken alone, will lead you out of balance and into error. You are to hold all 6 of these principles in a reverent tension. . . . We like rules, formulas, and black and white prescriptions. Instead, the Bible gives complementary principles we are to hold in tension.”
- It is the joyful duty of those who have to share with those who have not.
- We live with radical generosity to others in response to Jesus’ radical generosity to us.
- The Holy Spirit must guide us as to which sacrifices we are to make.
- God provides for His people richly and delights in our enjoyment of His material gifts.
- Don’t trust in riches and don’t define your life by the abundance of your possessions.
- Wealth building is OK.
I commend the whole post for your consideration and edification.