Spirituality

Anonymous Giving

In many churches, including mine, this time of year is all about stewardship. For a number of weeks now, members of my church have been standing up to share the different ways and reasons they give. It has been good to hear various perspectives and the openness with which people have spoken is really fantastic. A method that I haven’t heard discussed, though, is anonymous giving.

I should preface this by saying that I do not think making a contribution openly is a bad thing. Filling out a commitment card may make it easier for people to honor their commitment and can help the church to plan its budget. I know that anonymous giving is not for everyone, but I have come to the conclusion that it is the right path for me.

I have to own up to a tendency to be a teensy bit self-involved. I’m more a thinker than a doer. But I am making an effort to put myself out there and put others’ needs before my own. I believe that an anonymous gift can help take the focus off of self.  I want any contribution I make to reinforce my primary goal – to live as Jesus lived.  His life and his death were for the benefit of others and I would like to take a step in the same direction.

Therefore, any commitment I make will be known only to God and to my family.  This means no possibility for recognition – and recognition could be something as small as someone in the church office reading my commitment card and thinking “Oh, how nice of them” or my tax preparer noticing my generosity.  I don’t need to know what other people think of my gift.

I do not believe a tithe should be about personal reward. A feeling of satisfaction when you do something you feel you should is only natural, but self-sacrifice isn’t about passing a heavenly entrance exam. That would, in fact, be entirely contrary to the idea of self-sacrifice. Doing for others so that you can take the ultimate prize means the action is still self-motivated. Rather, I think of it as a thank you for the access I have to God regardless of whether I give and as a sincere desire to further the work of the church to spread hope for peace and fulfillment.

A few verses I found helpful as I came to a decision about giving:

2 Corinthians 9:7:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

And, in the spirit of doing things sincerely and for the right reasons, Matthew 6: 1-4:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

 

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6 thoughts on “Anonymous Giving

  1. I have seen in some churches today that compelled all of their member to write down their name and the amount of tithes and offering they will give which make me so uncomfortable.
    Yes, I agree that anonymous giving is between you and God.

  2. I agree. By giving anonymously there is no room to boast about what I have done or who I have given to. But I do believe in giving a 10% tithe and always have believed in that. By doing that, there are people who see what I give, but in the large church we attend, they don’t know who I am. When we were in a smaller church, I used to wonder what people thought about by meager tithe (we had a meager income compared to others), and in thinking that way, now that I look back on that time, I didn’t realize that tithing to God is not about the money, but about the heart.
    God has blessed us abundantly, but I don’t give tithe to be blessed, Giving tithe is a faith builder for me. I have to step out in faith and know that God will and does and always has provided for all my needs whether I have an extra 10% in my pocket or not, no matter what my income level is.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jeri. You beautifully articulated something I left out with your comment, “Giving tithe is a faith builder for me. I have to step out in faith and know that God will and does and always has provided for all my needs…”

  3. I appreciate your thoughts Sarah. For a very long time we did not tithe, not because we didn’t think we had enough money, but primarily because we felt like it was expected of us. That kind of expectation, almost demand, left a bitter taste in my mouth. Having come to better understand the Gospel and God’s work in my life, the bitter taste I once had is long gone. Now, I give, be it anonymous or otherwise for several reasons. One is out of faith, the faith that God has and always will provide for our family. Two out of incredible thanks for His gift of saving grace in my life. Please understand that I in no way think my meager dollars could EVER compare to Jesus’ death upon the cross. I know that as undeserving as I am, God has given me much and I in turn feel compelled to give much. Third, I also believe giving is an act of worship. While there are verses that discuss Jesus rebuking boastful givers (Acts 5:1-11; Mark 12:41-440, I don’t think the bible states anywhere how we are supposed to give, publicly vs. anonymously. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Only He knows our heart and at the end of the day, that matters more than who knows how much you give.

    1. I completely agree that how we give is a personal matter and our accountability is to God. 🙂 But I do think that hearing the reasons and ways that others give can help us to discern what’s right for us. Great observations. Thanks, Tanya!

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