At Southside, we do our best to honor God in our use and approach to money. Our vision is to reflect our gratitude to God by becoming uncommonly generous people in all aspects of our lives. You are free to give in several different ways: through the weekly offering during Sunday morning worship, by mailing your contribution to the office, or electronically. In our digital age when people are increasingly paying bills and conducting commerce online, we have chosen to make online giving available to those who are interested. Please know that we have provided a secure system and that all funds will be allocated to the proper designation.
The Bible has much to say about our relationship with our money and it generally covers three specific areas: Stewardship, Debt and Generosity.
Ownership & Stewardship
The concept of stewardship is similar to the concept of management. The Bible teaches that we are not the true owner of material possessions but, rather we’re caretakers or stewards.
By accepting this idea of stewardship, we acknowledge the need to handle, use and care for these God-given possessions according to God’s wisdom and will. This shapes how we choose to spend, save, lend, borrow, invest and give the tangible resources God has given to us.
Debt & Lending
Attitudes toward debt and, inversely, lending in our culture today can be quite different from God’s view of the subject. In today’s culture we often hold a careless attitude toward debt and lending. However, God is clear in His caution to us about becoming indebted (as well as lending with a generous and gracious heart). Borrowers become enslaved to lenders. Slavery is not a condition that God desires for our lives. Enslaving others through lending is also not an action that God desires.
To the greatest extent possible, God would like to see us living free of debt and enslaved by no one. Carrying a great amount of debt and, in particular, consumer debt is also an example of unwise stewardship.
While God clearly appears to caution us against becoming (or remaining) in debt to others financially, God also commands that we honor our vows and commitments. This includes commitments to repay those who have lent to us. As lenders, on the other side of the equation, God commands us to conduct such transactions with grace and love. (Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 16:2)
Giving & Generosity
The ideas of giving and generosity reflect God’s own generosity and grace toward us. When we give, we do so without expectation of anything in return. We give from our hearts, as God has led and guided us by His Spirit. Giving is not done to “earn” any special privileges from God (or others) but as a response of gratitude for what God has done for us. Giving is not to be done for reasons of guilt or obligation. A truly giving and generous heart is one that recognizes and acknowledges God’s ownership over everything and His personal grace to each of us individually.
In the Old Testament, regular giving to the church was talked about in terms of a “tithe” (a tenth) of a person’s wealth. The New Testament does not speak of the tithe but does speak about sacrificial giving. This kind of giving could even go beyond a tithe. Giving God’s way is also a primary act, not an afterthought. We give from our “first fruits”, that is the first of our income or wealth, not the “leftovers” at the end of the week. (Proverbs 3:9; Matthew 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-8; 2 Corinthians 9:1-5; Acts 4:36-37; 1 Timothy 6:10)