“Sacrificial” giving of money; not biblical for the church…

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.



Filed under Christianity, Musings

3 responses to ““Sacrificial” giving of money; not biblical for the church…

  1. Amen! I get so tired of seeing the so-called “Prosperity Ministers” who tell people to give sacrificially, all the while riding in their limos. And the people supporting them are barely able to feed themselves. That’s not what Jesus or the early Church taught.

  2. Dolores

    I believe the sacrifice comes in our “killing” our selfishness to enable us to open our hands and transform our minds and hearts to release money that we would otherwise reserve for our own pleasures and comfort to give to a greater good for all, not just for ourselves.

  3. Greg Y

    While I find your article interesting and agree that some wolves in sheep clothing use the “sacrificial giving” as a way to pad their pocketbooks, I disagree with you on your key point. Sacrificial giving IS a New Testament principle. The Apostle Paul thanked the church in Philippi for just such a gift. This church, though they might have been poor, gave gifts to Paul on more than one occasion. This particular gift was sent to Paul while he was in chains in Rome. Paul says in Philippians 4:18, “I have received full payment and even more; I am am ply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you send. They are a fragrant offering, an ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE, pleasing to God.”

    Paul acknowledged the monetary gift, sent by the hand of Epaphroditus, to help Paul in his time of need while under house arrest in Rome. Paul knew the Philippians gave, not out of their wealth, but rather sacrificially. It was, indeed, a sacrifice. Paul used Old Testament terms to describe their sacrificial giving…”Fragrant offering, acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God”

    God responds to the sacrificial giving of New Testament believers. Paul writes in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” If this one scripture is plucked out without understanding the circumstance in which Paul wrote it, one might think God meeting the believers’ needs is unconditional. However, that is absolutely not true. If we, as believers, expect God to open up his “glorious riches in Christ Jesus” to meet our needs we must be sacrificial givers like Jesus Christ, who gave up everything, including his life, for us to have life. Like Christ, we must give up everything. We must give even when it does hurt. Not just money, but also our time, our love, our kindness, our generosity, our life.

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