Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 11, 1961

"I Can't Afford To Give!!"

Norton Dye, Red Bluff, California

Did you ever hear a Christian make the above statement as an excuse for disobeying the commands of God in 1 Cor. 16:2 and 2 Cor. 9:7? What does it mean when one who has income says, "I can't afford to give anything for the work of the church?"

It means he is not a good steward of what God has given into his hands. Every Christian is a "steward" (manager or caretaker) of all that he possesses in this life — and all of it belongs to God. "Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (1 Cor. 4:2) The Christian who does not manage his income so that he can give a portion of it to the work of the church is not a faithful steward. What shall he say when God commands, "Render the account of thy stewardship; for thou canst be no longer steward?"

It means he loves his possessions more than he loves God. Usually, when one who has a regular income says he cannot give to the work of the church, he means that he has too many installment payments on his "possessions" (furniture, car, clothes, TV, etc.). If he gave "as God hath prospered him," it would mean that he would have to give up some of these possessions. He is like the rich young ruler who "went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions." (Mark 10.22)

It means his heart is not right before God. Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there will thy heart be also." "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:19, 24) When a Christian who has income uses all of it for physical provisions and refuses to give a portion to the provisions for the soul, he is "holding" to "mammon" and "despising" God!!

It means he does not truly love God. Jesus said, "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments." (Jno. 14:15) "And this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous." (1 Jno. 5:3) Any Christian who will not obey the commands of God regarding money, demonstrates that he does not love the Lord sincerely. Our giving is one of the ways we can show the "proof" of our love. (2 Cor. 8:8, 24)

It means that he does not trust God. Did you ever notice that the Christian who says he "can't afford" to give, is nearly always the one who has the "bad luck" to have his income diminished by getting a cut in salary, or losing his job, or getting sick — or any of the many things that can rapidly diminish one's income? Such a person does not really trust God to keep his promises.

"But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33)

"Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38)

"And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work:....And he that supplieth seed to the sower, and bread for food, shall supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness." (2 Cor. 9:8, 10)

Do we really love God and trust him to keep his promises??? If so, we will give a definite, planned portion of our income to the Lord's work each week.

Brethren, Christians can't afford not to give!!