Over and over I’ve heard preachers try to teach about “sacrificial” giving. Unfortunately that is not a biblical principle, since the word sacrifice is very specific in scripture, and is abused in this context. Now, before some readers get their knickers all in a twist, let me clarify; free will giving is biblical, and we’ll talk about that, but this idea of sacrificial giving is another offhanded term that does not appear in scripture.
“You’ve got to give until it hurts,” that is the refrain that you can hear from many pulpits both in person and on the radio. No, you don’t. The idea of a sacrifice is glossed over when the term is used in connection with monetary giving. A sacrifice in the bible is very very specific; it is about killing and offering up an organism to God. Sacrifice was to do many things, one of which was to remind us that for sin comes death.
To underscore this, notice what Paul said, “present yourselves a living sacrifice to God.” He had to include and underscore the word “living” there; no longer do we offer sacrifice to God in the old way of death, but rather we are living organisms and we offer ourselves. This is only possible because Jesus became a sacrifice for us, and now, that older system is done away with.
Giving money is not technically sacrificial. You aren’t ritually killing anything. We muddy the waters of the gospel by referring to a free will gift offering as sacrificial giving. We are indeed to give money as directed by the Holy Spirit, and we are to do so cheerfully. The term “sacrificial giving” is apparently another dysphemism adopted by teachers and preachers to try to lay a charge upon believers that just is not there.
The once and for all sacrifice is done, I don’t have to sacrifice “things” or “animals” anymore, but rather I’m to realize that all I have and all I am is God’s to do with as He please. Then, it is a matter of being smart with my money, compassionate with my money, and generous with my money (and time, possessions, land, etc…) because they are His, not mine. He promises to guide us, and we are expected to yield because we trust Him. That’s faith.