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Countercultural Giving

The word Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a group that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day.

I’m not countercultural enough. God has called me in Romans 12:2 to not conform to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed. Literally I have permission from God to rebel against this world. One of the ways I can rebel against my flesh and this world is through my giving. I give a lot of myself to many things. I give my time, I give my talents, I give my opinions (sometimes when there not wanted); but when I give my money I feel that I’m giving the ultimate combination of all these things.

My flesh says that when times are tough that I should save, my flesh says that when times are good I should store up, and ultimately the world around me confirms that I should be looking out for myself alone. But Jesus said that that kind of saving and storing was a waste.

Luke 12:15 “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

In the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12, Jesus tells us the story of a man that had too much grain, and his genius solution was to build bigger barns to put it all into. But when he was finished he died. Jesus points out the irony of this man’s situation when he asks, “Who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”

Jesus was the ultimate counter-cultural revolutionist! He is telling us to NOT be like the world with our money, and with our giving. He is calling us to live a life that goes beyond saving up for that raining day, or giving when it benefits us. I love what he says in summary of this great parable.

Luke 12:21 That s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God. Steep Yourself in God-Reality. (MSG)

The God-Reality that Jesus speaks of says that it is better to give than to receive. That God-Reality says if we give that he will give us blessings that we have not room enough to receive.

I’m not interested in getting into a discussion of whether the TITHE is something legitimate or something to be ignored as New Testament believers. There are some great people on both sides of that fence, but I think we could all agree that Jesus has called us to give. I am making a promise today that I will give out of rebellion towards the world, and out of a desperation to make the God-Reality your reality!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Kenny · October 15, 2008

    I try to stay out of these debates as well. Honestly, I don’t really like to debate about theological issues that people have been arguing the same thing or 400 years.

    Ultimately, the Old Testament set up the Tithe. The New Testament didn’t address it like the OT did (which is why many people claim that the Tithe is an OT law that we are not under anymore). However, the majority of giving mentioned in the NT and by Jesus seems to point toward even more than a Tithe… where we give it all to God. So, I think we’re playing it safe by sticking to a tithe of 10% and maybe we should be searching our hearts of how much more we should give. just my opinion.

  2. Kelly J. · October 15, 2008

    this helped me tonight…

    thanks man…