Do You Give Because of Grace or Guilt?

Do you remember your first job? I had many different jobs before I became a pastor. I worked on a farm. I worked as a roofer. I worked at a trucking company. I love my job as a pastor, but I had some weird jobs while I was getting an education. I had a job as a telemarketer one time. That was a terrible job because nobody wanted to talk to you and everybody hated you. No one ever said to me, “I am so glad you called. We are sitting down to eat supper. Can I put you on speakerphone so you can talk to the entire family while we eat? We would love to hear more about the long-distance service you are selling!”

But my first job transformed my thinking. I was 12 years old and it was the summer before my 8th grade. I worked for my grandpa on his farm. My job was to work in the chicken houses. I picked up eggs, picked up dead chickens, put shavings in the nests, mowed the grass around the houses, cleaned things, fed the chickens, and a whole host of things. I had to be at work at 7:00 AM. As a 12 year old I did not like any of those things. But there was a moment that transformed my thinking forever. I’ll never forget the moment that I got paid the first time. I was given $50 cash. I looked it up and $50 in 1977 is the equivalent of $195 today. I felt rich! I was going to buy things. It was awesome. That moment forever changed my attitude and thinking about work.

Lots of Christians need to have their mind changed in the way they think about money and giving. They need an extreme makeover in their thought process. Some people get very upset when a pastor talks about money. Their stress goes up. They get judgmental. They get tense. They say things like “all they ever talk about is money.” Why? I think it is because of guilt. They are made to feel that they must give because of guilt. This causes stress, anger, and a burden. Often they become critical and sometimes even quit church.

When you get God’s perspective on money, however, you can participate in guilt-free giving. That kind of giving promotes blessing instead of guilt. You don’t need to be guilt-driven in your understanding of God. Guilt does not work. God’s grace does. We must take away the guilt and focus on the grace and blessings of God. You need to transform your thinking.

Consider these truths:

  • God loves you whether or not you give.
  • Giving does not make God love you more. Grace does not depend on your works. It is God’s unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor and kindness.
  • Right believing leads to right living and a transformed heart. The more you understand God’s grace the more your behavior changes.
  • Right believing leads to grace giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “God loves a cheerful giver.” God wants you to be blessed, to experience joy from giving.

When I stop allowing myself to be driven by guilt and begin focusing on God’s grace everything changes. I become more thankful. I focus on the real reason for giving and I understand the purpose. My worship is better. I express love to God through my giving and I am free to respond to his love. My attitude gets better.

Are you driven by guilt or grace? Are you motivated by love or shame? Try focusing on God’s grace and see how much it changes your perspective.