How Much Of My Money/Time/Stuff Do I Need To Give To God?

This post was written by Ricky Alcantar. Ricky is lead pastor of Cross of Grace Church in El Paso, Texas. 

As Christians we know that we should be giving back to God. And most of us don’t argue with that, but the key question comes down to this: “How muchdo I need to give God?”

Most of the details our lives are built around questions like this:

  • “How much of my money should I give to this or that charitable cause or to my church?”
  • “How much of my time should I be giving to God?”
  • “How much of my energy and talents should I be giving God?”
  • “How much of my my DVR, my internet surfing, do I need to give God?”

I think thinking like this is just dead wrong. And if you stop and think about it for a minute, you probably think it’s dead wrong too. But why do we start thinking like this?

In America we’re all about “balance.” We want a “work/life” balance. We want to balance our role in our family, with our hobbies. And we, especially, love us some “me time” – our time to unwind and shop, or watch an uninterrupted football game, or take in a movie, or play a game with our amateur sports club. We look at our calendar, or our budget, and divide our calendar into “My time” and “Family time” and “Exercise time” and perhaps “God time.” In general we see our time as, well, our time, and try to decide how best we should use it.

To pull us out of this mindset I’d suggest asking three questions:

1) Who’s life is it? 

In Genesis we see that long before humanity appears on the scene, the scene is built around God: “In the beginning, God…” And God gives humanity life and breath to live joyfully under his rule. As their creator, rightfully their lives are his. But our first parents rebelled and said, “No these lives are ours” and sin entered the world. For millenia we have dealt with again and again with the devastating consequences of thinking, “This life is mine.” But there is hope.

The Bible refers again and again to a particular concept of “redemption” and redemption means “Deliverance by payment of a price.” We see this language throughout the book of Exodus (see 6:6) as God promises to deliver his people, to “buy them back.” God’s people were held in bondage but God came down and redeemed them at a price. We see some of this “price” in the lambs slain to cover the doors of the Israelites, but ultimately it pointed forward to something much greater.

Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We were held in bondage in a domain of darkness, but God has brought us out into the light. How? Because of his beloved son in whom we have redemption. This is the good news of Jesus Christ: We sold ourselves into bondage but Christ has bought us back again.

You see this over and over in the books of the Law, for example Deut 15:15 “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.” And we’ll see that even in the Ten Commandments in Exodus start with “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery….have no other gods…don’t steal…don’t commit adultery…” And you see this in places like 1 Corinthians 6:20 where Paul says “You were bought with a price, so glorify God with your body!”

Answering all those questions above starts by recognizing, “This life is not mine. All I have is a gift of grace. In light of redemption, all of my time is a gift. All of my money is a gift. All my talents are a gift.”

2) Why do I have this life? 

Why would God create us in the first place? Why did he redeem us?

Well, we can answer this even by looking at Exodus. The purpose given over and over for Israel being “let go” from Egypt is surprising. It’s worship. God commands Egypt to let his people go that they could offer sacrifices, that they could hold a feast, that they could worship. God is signaling “I’m going to redeem this people and bring them out in order that they might worship me again.” And this worship was not meant to simply be a series of ceremonies, or meetings, or an hour on Sundays. No, it was to encompass everything from their economy to their sex lives to their clothing and their parenting. It was a whole life orientation.

Paul gets at what “worship” means when he says in Romans 12: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” In light of their redemption from Egypt, Israel offered sacrifices. But in light of Christ’s redemption, Paul is saying that our sacrifice is not something from our garden or livestock but that weare the sacrifice.

So why have we been redeemed? To live a life of worship to God, in every area.

3) How should I live then? 

Simply put: We recognize that no part of our lives as Christians is “ours” and that all should be done as an act of worship to Lord. No more me time. No more treating “God time” like another box in our schedule. Instead it means writing REDEEMED over every hour spent, every dollar, every decision and asking, “How does God want me to use his time, his money, his resources?”

You see this over and over in the books of the Law, for example Deut 15:15 “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.” And we’ll see that even in the Ten Commandments in Exodus start with “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery….have no other gods…don’t steal…don’t commit adultery…” And you see this in places like 1 Corinthians 6:20 where Paul says “You were bought with a price, so glorify God with your body!”

But this is not some begrudging, obligatory obedience and service. No, when we’ve been redeemed everything in us cries out to serve and worship our redeemer. Psalm 107:2 says “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Everything in us should want to “say so.”

A few examples:

  • Energy – We are finite beings – we can’t be excited about everything. How much of your redeemed energy and zeal should go to the cause of your redeemer? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so with their energy and passion!
  • Time – How much of God’s time does he want you to give to him and how? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so with their time!
  • Holiness – We often section off our lives, saying, “Okay I’ll be forgiving but don’t touch my sexuality.” How much of your life has God redeemed? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so with their lives!
  • Money –The question is not “How much of my money do I have to give to God?” The question is “How much of God’s money does he want me to give and to what?”  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so with their money!
  • Family – Our families are not our families. Our families are a gift from God. The point of our families is not our families, the point of our families is worship. How can we best worship God as families? Let the redeemed of the Lord say so with their families!

So how much of your life should you give God? Just give him what he owns and has given you––everything.

photo credit: aresauburn™ via photopin cc

Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer, & Mixed Martial Arts Salsa Dancing Champion. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like.

One comment

  • After reading this I do completely understand the perspective but feel totally and completely burdened, exhausted and depressed because you can never give enough…. and that means you can always give more until there isnothing, time money energy, anything of you left…… very very very sstressful

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