Guidelines for Giving


Bishop Craig L. Oliver, Sr.


“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” - Proverbs 3:9-10


While I was in the basement during the pandemic, I was wrestling with God about what life would be like in the next 30, 60, 90, and 120 days and how we would emerge as a new church. God spoke to me so clearly that we need to be a church that does much more than just preaching, teaching, and shouting on Sundays, but a church that makes an impact in the community—that we can't just be a church that has a nice, beautiful barrel of love during Thanksgiving, and people can't eat just that the rest of the year.

We can't be just a church that passes out a box of food on a Saturday but can't produce any food each and every day. God is going to do something amazing through our church, and He's going to do something amazing through our church as you collaborate and participate. I've always prayed for the opportunity that the next time the church had a vision or need, we could just sow and give, so whatever it is that you can do today, we encourage you to do so.




I’d like to share with you some guidelines for giving found in Proverbs 3.  The first thing that I want you to notice in this is simply the purpose for our giving – the purpose for our giving is to honor the Lord.  Honoring God should be the supreme priority of our lives.


We should wake up each and every day with this central controlling thought: “God, how can I honor you today?” This should underpin our entire existence. How do we honor God in our marriages? How do we honor God in our social life? How do we honor God in our business? How do we honor God wherever it is that God has placed us?


And even as it relates to giving, we should be influenced by this purpose. We honor God through giving, not out of guilt and grudge. We ought to honor God through our giving out of an attitude of grace and gratitude. We need to recognize that whatever we have, we didn't earn it, and we don't deserve it. It’s all out of God’s grace and generosity toward us. 




It is more blessed to give than to receive. Most of us would rather be on the giving side than the receiving side, but being on the giving side does not absolve us of our responsibility to those in need, which means we must do more than simply give.


We have to remember that each time we give, be it with our time, possessions, love, or worship, we are honoring God. Interestingly, the word “honor” means to weigh down. It’s actually a picture of a monarchy where the king gets weighed down with the accessories of his royalty, so when we recognize that God has a purpose behind our giving, we weigh Him down as being the awesome, powerful, and incomparable God. With this, we must correct our incorrect mindset. We don't give in order to receive. We get to give. There's a difference.


Part of how we honor God is when we give our possessions. An increase will occur as we give our wealth, as we give from our income. Too often,  we have a sign that says “do not disturb” in the area of our possessions. We don’t want God to deal with our possessions. We have this tendency to hoard and keep for ourselves the blessings that we’ve been receiving. We don't want God to tell us what to do with what we have because we think it belongs to us.


But if we want to honor God, this mindset needs to change. God’s Word tells us that we shouldn’t lay up treasures for ourselves here on earth, but we oftentimes go through life trying to guard what we have.




We want to make sure we prioritize God in our giving – that He is first, not second, not third. I heard somebody say, “But I can't afford to put God first.”  God says, “You made that decision when you decided to go and acquire everything else without consulting me first.”


The whole concept of the first fruits comes from a historical context as it relates to how the Israelites God's people were to prioritize God. Leviticus 25:23 says the land shall not be sold permanently, for the land belongs to the Lord. In other words, God says the land of Israel still belongs to Him, and He says they're nothing more than tenants in His land. It’s as if God was saying, “As you are tenants in my land, here is how you communicate your honor unto Me. Here’s how you prioritize Me – that as I bless you with the harvest and as I bless you with the increase, the least you can do is acknowledge Me by bringing to me the first fruit of the harvest.”


If we honor God with the first fruit of the harvest, then we trust God to honor or bless the rest of the harvest. When we look at our lives, we should do so with the understanding that everything we have is a gift from God. God is the source of everything that we have.


The least we can do is prioritize and honor God first so that His blessings will be upon every part of our lives. This should be our desire.


Our lives must be overflowing—not just full, but overflowing. Enough of experiencing lack. We are meant to abound. In John 6,  we find the little boy who came to Jesus with his lunch, two pieces of fish, and five loaves of bread. We can recall that there were 12 baskets of leftovers. It was an overflow!


Because whenever we trust God, whenever we are willing to trust God and give Him the first fruits of our increase, God says, "I will see to it that your life is full and overflowing," as Solomon says, “and your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be overflowing with new wine.”


Do you know why some of us are still choking on Proverbs 3:9-10? It’s because we have a disconnect from it. It could be because our giving is always attached to our trust. Many people have trust issues when it comes to giving. They think everybody is after them, that nobody can be trusted, and that everybody is against them. This causes them to have trust issues with God.  But today, God is redeeming us from our wrong mindsets.


God is the One who gave us breath and life.  We have no reason to doubt God. God is calling us to trust Him again – to lean not on our own understanding but to put our faith and trust in Him wholeheartedly.  We must position ourselves in a place where our lives are overflowing, and we are always excited to give. And as we give, we will experience an overflow in our lives! Try it and see for yourselves.


Today, God is saying to us: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” - Malachi 3:10

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