The Importance of Attitude for Christian Finances

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Christians can do the right things with the wrong attitude and this ultimately makes their actions wrong.

Christian finances

Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10)

What these two did was amazing.

They gave more than I have ever given on a single occasion.  This couple sold a piece of property and gave a substantial amount to the church.

The problem is that they misrepresented the sale price.  They said it was all the money when it was really only part of the money.

The key issue here is lying against the Holy Spirit.  They lied, I believe, because they wanted people to marvel at their generosity. They had the wrong attitude, made a false statement, and as such, they did not receive any positive praise for their actions.

Attitude and actions matter to God.

(Side note: Any youth groups still participating in the ministry of removing dead bodies from the church building?)

Corinthian Church

So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. (2 Corinthians 9:5 NIV)

In his fundraising effort Paul is concerned about more than simply getting the money.  He sees it is important for Christians to give generously, not grudgingly.

There is an intimate relationship between what you give and how you give.  The ‘how you give’ seems to impact how the gift is received.

Attitude and actions matter to God.

When Preaching, the Gospel Motives Do Not Matter

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (Philippians 1:18 NIV)

I find it intriguing that a preacher can preach Christ out of impure motives and Paul does not have an issue.  But, to give grudgingly is not pleasing to God.

Thus, for our giving the ends do not justify the means.  Giving, then, is about more than money.  It is about hearts that are fully surrendered to God.

Lessons for Our Financial Management Today:

  1. God is concerned about what we do.  God does want us to be givers.
  2. God is concerned about how we do what we do.  God wants us to be joyful givers.
  3. When we do anything with our finances a good first check is the heart check.  Am I doing this just to be seen by men?  Who will receive glory for my actions – myself or God?  What is my motive?
  4. If your attitude is wrong don’t seek first to change the action.  Seek to change the attitude.  I am amazed at the number of Christians who do not give because their attitude is not right.  Stopping the action is one option.  However, I think God wants the heart made right so that the right actions can accompany the right attitude.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13 NIV)

Once our heart is in the right place, our actions should naturally follow suit.

Is God more concerned about what we do, or is he more concerned about how we do it?


    • Craig says

      Here is a follow up on preaching from a selfish motive.

      There was a lot of problems in the NT with party loyalties and people following personalities rather than Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor 1-3 and Phil 1:15-18).

      For Paul this became a distraction to people an in this case he thinks the ends justify the means. He wants people to refocus their attention on the fact that Christ is being preached and to ignore the point about who is doing the preaching.

      With that said, I do not believe that Paul is saying those who preach Christ out of selfish motives are pleasing to God. He leaves judgment in God’s hands. Preaching Christ out of false motive may be detrimental to an individual, but may actually contribute to the growth of the kingdom. So to be clear I am not suggesting people try and preach Christ out of selfish ambition.

      Hope this clears things up a little.

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