John MacArthur has several resources on money and giving. hmkjr shared these in a comment. If you follow the links you can read the document, download the audio or even purchase a CD for the audio. I included just a few paragraphs to whet your appetite.
Biblical View of Money – 4 part series
Let’s talk about the morality of money. Money in itself is not good or bad. It’s not righteous or evil. It is neutral. But money is a measure of morality. It definitely is. When we talk about money we’re talking about life, we really are. Money is so central to our everyday living. As a medium of exchange it defines how we live. I can take your checkbook, if you write checks, and I can go through the register of your checks for a period of time and I can discern your priorities. I can see where your money goes and where your money goes is where your heart is. That’s obvious.
Now those of you who don’t use checks but use a credit card, I can look at the accounting for your credit card on the monthly statement and I can pretty well discern where your heart is, where you put your money demonstrates your morality. Money in itself is amoral, but money also is a barometer, it is a measure by which I can know what I need to know about the priorities of your life.
Some people say money corrupts. Well there are corrupt people and certainly money is a way in which they manifest their corruption. But there are also people with money who are not corrupt and money is a way in which they manifest their righteousness. And there are corrupt people who have no money, and there are people who have no money and are godly people. Money doesn’t necessarily corrupt, it just shows up more visibly the corruption of the heart that possesses it. You take a corrupt person, give him a lot of money and he’ll be able to spread his corruption further. It’s not money that is the problem, it’s the heart that is the problem, but money measures that out.
… It might surprise you to know that Jesus said more about money than anybody else in the Bible, and He said more about money than any other single subject. Money is an index to a person’s character. It is a measure. It is a manifestation of the heart. And I cannot fully survey everything that Jesus said about money obviously, but briefly I’d like to put you in touch with the most important things that He said which help us to understand the importance of money and how it is, that index, or that measure of our character, of our spiritual life. We are, as I said, going to hopefully build a house with the principles of Christian giving, but we need a foundation and the foundation includes these blocks of understanding money and what the Bible has to say about it. …
…So you have your houses and your herds and your flocks and your silver and your gold…the issue is, when your heart becomes proud…verse 14…and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, that’s the issue. “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers didn’t know that He might humble you and that He might test you to do good for you in the end.” That’s always His heart.
Otherwise, if you forget God…you’re going to say, “My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.” God doesn’t want you poor. God is happy to spread the wealth as long as you know who gave it to you, as long as you thank Him and praise Him and honor Him and glorify Him. And in the delighting and the joy of it comes obedience. And as long as you’re willing to share it generously. Verse 18, “You shall remember the Lord your God, it is He who is giving you power to make wealth that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is this day, and it shall come about that if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today, you shall surely perish like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish because you wouldn’t listen to the voice of the Lord your God.”
And again we’re right back to the same principle, wealth, possessions, money becomes an index of your spiritual character. Doesn’t it? If you have a right approach to it, delighting in it, thanking God for it, God is pleased…God is pleased….
… You work for the Lord. I mean, you do your work as unto Him. That is a very great motivation. People often ask me in my own life, you know, “What sustains you? What keeps you going?” And the answer is that I work for the Lord, everything I do is evaluated by Him. Everything I do is service rendered to Him. And that’s true of any job. I don’t care whether you’re a pastor or whether you’re pumping gas or whether you’re selling insurance or whether you’re a lawyer or a doctor or a school teacher, or you work in a factory or a shop, whatever it is, you do it to the Lord. And that becomes the elevating motivation. Work, that’s God’s first and primary way in which we are to gain the wealth that He has put in this world.
Secondly, the Scripture also extols saving. Not only working but saving. That is a legitimate means of securing resources for us in the future. We are to get involved in saving. Proverbs 21:20, an I’m going to go through a lot of verses in Proverbs, this morning, just kind of scooping up everything. It says in that verse, “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise. But a foolish man swallows it up.” A foolish man consumes everything he gets. A wise person sets it aside, precious treasure and oil set aside. A wise man lays aside some of his treasure, some of his oil for the unexpected, for the future, for the down time. The fool uses it all up, just lives at the max level. He receives so much, consumes so much. In fact, one translation of that verse is good, it says, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” That’s foolish, that’s absolutely foolish. You need to set some aside for the future. …
Biblical Model for Giving – 4 part series
…In fact, every Christian should be eager, anxious, thrilled about the opportunity to give at the offering if based only on two statements that Jesus made. …
Let me give you just those two statements. Statement number one is recorded in Luke 6:38. Jesus said this, “Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over they will pour into your lap for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you.” …But there’s a second verse that we would add to it and that is Acts 20:35. It says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” …
In other words, what you give away brings you a greater blessing than what you receive. That should be enough. That should be enough to make us line up to give. Do you want to be most blessed? Than give. Do you want to receive pressed down, shaken together, and running over so that your lap is filled? Then give. Those two monumental promises of blessing and generosity from God who is the source of everything, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, who has the power to get you wealth, who gives you all that you have, those promises from God should make us sacrificially generous.
Proverbs 19:17, “He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord.” You want to know something about the Lord? He repays all His debts. And He will repay him for his good deed. Every time you give to someone in need, God repays you. In chapter 21 verse 13 of Proverbs, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” You’ll shut heaven’s blessing off if you shut off your generosity.
…I really believe that the little loaf of bread that God puts in the hand of every believer is Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We have nothing to fear for tomorrow. The promise of God…He will meet every need. That has tremendous implications on how we give. We are not alone in securing our future. Yes we want to be wise. Yes we want to plan. Yes if possible we want to save. Yes we want to be good stewards of what God has provided for us and lay away something for the future as we’ve learned in our study. But at the same time we can do that in complete confidence that if God were to come to us and ask us to take what we had planned for the future and invest it in His Kingdom, He would replace it. We can go to sleep every night of our life with that little loaf of bread, “My God shall supply all your needs because that is His promise.” And that is a promise that takes away anxiety and removes fear….
People say, “I’d give more if I had more.” I don’t believe that. Giving is not a matter of what you have, it’s a function of the heart. Devout believers don’t need more, they don’t wait for more, they give from their poverty like the widow Jesus saw who gave everything, two mites. In Luke 16:10 Jesus said it this way, “He that is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much. He that is unrighteous in the least is unrighteous in the much also.” It is not an issue of how much you have, that has nothing to do with it, it is an issue of the heart. If you are faithful you are faithful. If you believe faithful, meaning if you believe God, trust God. If you hold in your hand the little loaf of bread of Philippians 4:19, that’s enough to sustain your future and you have no problem yielding up what God puts upon your heart to give. How much you have is not the issue, generosity is a heart issue that gives no matter how little.
…So what we find then in verse 3 is that giving is proportionate, giving is sacrificial, and giving is voluntary. Very, very important issues. And the understanding of those three out of the eight elements of their giving leads me to a bit of a digression this morning that is absolutely crucial if we’re to understand this whole matter of giving because whenever you talk about giving in a Christian context, there are always people who are going to say, “Well I thought we were supposed to give ten percent,” right? I mean, that’s the sort of traditional Christian percentage. We talk about tithing, the word “tithe” is a word that means a tenth. The Greek equivalent of tithe is dekate(?) which means a tenth part, it’s a mathematical word. The Hebrew equivalent is maasrah, it means a tenth, it too is a mathematical word. And Christians through the years have just felt…Well, we’re supposed to give ten percent. The Jews gave ten percent. Abraham gave ten percent. Jacob gave ten percent. So we’re supposed to give ten percent. That’s God’s abiding standard.
And that doesn’t fit into here. There’s no ten percent in chapters 8 and 9. There’s no ten percent with regard to the Macedonians. They gave what they could give. They gave sacrificially what they could give. And they gave voluntarily, that is they chose whatever amount they could give and desired to give and gave it. There is no prescription of ten percent here whatsoever. And that leads us to the issue of why do Christians today think they need to give ten percent? Where does that come from? And I want to answer that. It comes basically from a misunderstanding of the Old Testament. And I feel obligated to make that misunderstanding clear to you and then set it right….
…Now let’s ask the question for this morning initially, is the New Testament pattern of giving the same? Answer…yes. In the New Testament again you have reiterated two kinds of giving, two ways in which we give our wealth. The first is to pay our taxes and the second is to give to God. In fact, the New Testament is explicit and exact in comparison with the Old Testament. There is no difference at all. Teaching on both of these kinds of giving…required and free will is clear in the New Testament.
Now let me say at this point just by way of a footnote. I know that this is new to some of you who perhaps were raised in a church or been in a church where they hammered on tithing and they said that the way Christians are to give is to give ten percent because that’s the way the Jews give. I know that that is something that is taught commonly. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible does not teach the Jews gave ten percent. As I pointed out it teaches that they gave about 25 percent. It was not their giving to God, it was their payment to the theocracy, to the government. It had to be brought into the temple treasury and not to bring it was to rob God, according to Malachi 3:8, of His due tithes and offerings. That was taxation. I know that that is perhaps new to some of you but that is clearly what the Scripture teaches. It’s what I’ve taught for many, many, many years, we just haven’t been able to cover it recently. But it is clearly what the Scripture teaches as you saw last time. …