Healthy Marriages Are Generous Marriages

Gary Chapman
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God cares about how we use what He gives us (Matt. 25:14–30). The Lord said to the faithful steward, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities” (v. 21). “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return” (Luke 12:48).

Financial resources, whether abundant or modest, have tremendous potential for good. As stewards, we are responsible to use in the very best manner all that is entrusted to us. Sound planning, buying, saving, investing, and giving are all part of our stewardship. One aspect of faithful stewardship is giving to God through the church and other Christian organizations. The pattern for giving established in the Old Testament and commended in the New Testament is that of tithing, that is, giving one-tenth of one’s income to the direct work of the Lord (Lev. 27:30; Matt. 23:23).

Any discussion of finances for the Christian must include provision for regular, proportionate, cheerful giving to the things of God.

But more important than amount or percentage is our attitude toward giving. The Scriptures indicate that our giving is to be done with a willing heart. Christian giving is an act of the will prompted by love to God, not a legalistic duty to be performed for merit. Paul speaks to this issue:

“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. “(2 Cor. 9:6–8)

Many like to claim God’s grace and abundance, but they fail to recognize that this promise is made to the cheerful giver. The Scriptures say that one of the purposes of working for wages is that we may be able to give to those who are in need: “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need” (Eph. 4:28). Any discussion of finances for the Christian must include provision for regular, proportionate, cheerful giving to the things of God.

For the Christian, the kingdom of God should be first. The promise of Matthew 6:33 is practical. We tend to get our priorities out of line. We place food, clothing, shelter, and pleasure first, and if anything is left over, we give an offering to the church. How contrary to the biblical pattern. It was the “firstfruits” that were to be given by Israel to the Lord, not the leftovers. Solomon was never more on target than when he said: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine” (Prov. 3:9–10). Ever wonder why the barn is empty? Could it be that you have concentrated on the barn instead of the kingdom of God?

I would suggest that, from the very beginning of marriage, you set your budget to allocate the first 10 percent of your income for a thank offering to the Lord. After all, civil government insists that income tax be taken out even before you receive your check. Jesus was not opposed to such taxation but insisted that we should also “Give to God what belongs to God” (Matt. 22:17–22). On occasion, you will wish to give offerings beyond the tithe, but the tithe should be considered a minimal standard of giving for those couples who take biblical principles seriously.

For Further Reading:

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

by Gary Chapman

Respected marriage counselor Gary Chapman looks at the key issues that will help you build the marriage you’ve always wanted, answering...

book cover for The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted