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Giving to Gods Work



Giving to God's Work

In 1987, Chet Atkins and Margaret Archer wrote a song that was sung by country star, Ray Stevens, which went in part: “If he came back tomorrow, there’s something I’d like to know. Would Jesus wear a Rolex on his television show?”
That same year, a well-known religious personality told his TV audience that if they didn’t give $8 million to his fund-raising campaign, God would call him home. Folk singer Arlo Guthrie commented wisely on this when he said, “I firmly believe we shouldn’t negotiate with any terrorist on any level” (both of above in Newsweek [5/4/87], p. 17).
TV religious hucksters have given a bad name to Christian giving. Because of such abuse, pastors may be afraid to deal with this important subject. But we need to be clear on what Scripture teaches about giving.

How much should I give?

God wants us to give generously as He has prospered us. some would teach that you should start with 10 percent, or a tithe. But tithing is Old Testament law. In the New Testament we are to give "as God has prospered"
I would like to give five questions with five answers that will help us give God’s way: (1) Who should give? (2) Why should I give? (3) How should I give? (4) To whom should I give? (5) What will happen when I give?

1. Who should give? All believers, should give to the Lord.

Giving is a privilege and responsibility for those who have received from God the gift of eternal life.
Giving is for believers, and it should be done by all believers. Poor Christians as well as rich should give to the Lord.

That in much experience of tribulation, they have had abundance of joy; and their very deep poverty hath abounded unto the riches of their simplicity, {that is in there sincere bounty and charity} (2 Corinthians 8:2)

And looking on, he saw the rich men cast their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in two brass mites. And he said: Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her want, hath cast in all the living that she had. (Luke 21:1-4)

That is one reason it is wrong to be in debt, because you aren’t free to give generously when you owe creditors. But even if you can’t give much, you aren’t exempt from giving. Those who are supported in the Church, (Bishops,Priest,Deacons etc) are not exempt either. In fact, they should set the example.

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the word of the Lord Jesus, how he said: It is a more blessed thing to give, rather than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

2. Why should I give? I should give because God has first given to me and I want to please Him.

In giving, motivation is crucial. There are many ...

A. WRONG MOTIVES FOR GIVING:

1) Pride. If you give to be honored by men for your great generosity, you are giving for the wrong reason. Giving is to be done in secret before God.

Take heed that you do not your justice {that is, works of justice; viz., fasting, prayer, and almsdeeds;} before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. (Matthew. 6:1-4)

I believe naming buildings or putting up plaques in honor of donors violates this principle.

(2) Guilt. We should not give because we feel guilty about having so much. If we’re not being good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, then we should repent and give from the right motivation.

(3) Greed. Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given to you,” is wrongly used to motivate people to give so that they will get. Jesus is not promising that if you give, God will give you more in return. He is stating the principle that if you are a generous person, others will be generous toward you. But you may give and be impoverished because you gave.
(4) Pressure. Responding to high-pressure tactics of Christian fund-raisers is another wrong motive. We are not to give “under compulsion”

Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7).

(5) Gimmicks. This is related both to greed and pressure. All sorts of gimmicks are used to get people to give: “For your donation, I’ll send you my latest book.” I get fund-raising phone calls, where I’m told I can make an easy donation by charging it on my Visa! Never charge any donation! I’ve been told that if I will give, the names of my loved ones will be entered in a special book to be placed in the lobby of the new building! These are all worldly gimmicks, opposed to biblical giving.

(6) Power. Money is power. Some members threaten to take their large gifts elsewhere if you don’t do what they want. That may be how politics operates, but that isn’t how the Church of God should operate. It’s wrong to show preference to the wealthy.

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with respect of persons. For if there shall come into your assembly a man having a golden ring, in fine apparel, and there shall come in also a poor man in mean attire, And you have respect to him that is clothed with the fine apparel, and shall say to him: Sit thou here well; but say to the poor man: Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool: Do you not judge within yourselves, and are become judges of unjust thoughts? Hearken, my dearest brethren: hath not God chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him? But you have dishonoured the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you by might? and do not they draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme the good name that is invoked upon you? If then you fulfill the royal law, according to the scriptures, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; you do well. But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, being reproved by the law as transgressors. (James 2:1-9).

It’s sin to use your money to try to buy spiritual influence.

And when Simon saw, that by the imposition of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying: Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said to him: Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter. For thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Do penance therefore for this thy wickedness; and pray to God, that perhaps this thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee. For I see thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity. Then Simon answering, said: Pray you for me to the Lord, that none of these things which you have spoken may come upon me. (Acts 8:18-24).

B. RIGHT MOTIVES FOR GIVING:

(1) I give because God has given to me. This should be the prime motive in grace giving. God has given us everything.

Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. (James 1:17).

He gave His Son to provide for our salvation. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ: (Ephesians. 1:3).

He “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy”

Charge the rich of this world not to be highminded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living God, (who giveth us abundantly all things to enjoy,) (1 Timothy 6:17).

Because He has given so abundantly to us, we should respond by giving generously back to Him.

(2) I give because I want to please God. Out of response to God’s grace in my life, I will want to please God by pursuing various spiritual goals:

*I want God to be glorified. God is glorified when we give from the right motives and in the right way

By the proof of this ministry, glorifying God for the obedience of your confession unto the gospel of Christ, and for the simplicity {that is in there sincere bounty and charity} of your communicating {your giving} unto them, and unto all. (2 Corinthians 9:13).

God’s glory is the overarching goal of the Christian life.

*I want my heart to be right before God. Jesus said, “For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.” (Matthew 6:21). Your heart follows your treasure. If I want my heart concerned with the things of God, then I must invest in His work.

*I want God to be my master. “You cannot serve God and mammon. {That is, riches, worldly interest.}” (Matthew. 6:24).Generous giving loosens your grasp on money.

*I want my life to be used by God.

And he that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice: (2 Corinthians. 9:10).

God could have chosen to work apart from us, but He did not. He could have used angels or loudspeakers from heaven to spread the gospel, but He chose to use us. And it takes money to further God’s work. If you don’t give, God will use someone else and you’ll miss the blessing of being used of God.

*I want to lay up treasures in heaven. Investments on earth are insecure and transitory. Investments in heaven are secure and eternal. There is no more sound investment than that of reaching people with the good news of Christ. God credits money which we give to further His kingdom as fruit to our account, and He will reward us for it someday.

That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. (Matthew 6:4)

Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

To lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life. (1 Timothy 6:19)

*I want my faith to grow.

And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work, As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever. And he that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice: That being enriched in all things, you may abound unto all simplicity, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:8-11)

God will provide money for you to give if you will trust Him for it. If you are willing to be a channel for God’s resources, He will give you money to give. But if you bottle it up and keep it for your own comforts, the flow will dry up. Ask God to give you money to give. Then make sure you give it!

*I want to be a compassionate person.

He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17)

He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him? (James 2:15-16).

In a day like ours, when we’re hit with so many needs from all over the world, it’s easy to close up your heart and not give at all. I know we can’t respond to every poor person around the world, but we need to do all we can to show compassion in the name of Christ

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting. (Matthew 25:31-46).

*I want to be a worshiper of God. Giving is a sacrifice that pleases God

But I have all, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things you sent, an odour of sweetness, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. (Phillipians 4:18)

And do not forget to do good, and to impart; for by such sacrifices God' s favour is obtained. (Hebrews 13:16).

King David knew the connection between giving and worship. He said, “I will not offer to the Lord my God holocausts free cost. ” (2 Kings/2 Samuel. 24:24). In other words he would not offer a offering up that would cost him nothing. We should like to give enough that it pinches our lifestyle. If it’s convenient, it’s not worship. Worship is costly.
Thus because God has given so abundantly to me, and because I want to please Him, I am motivated to give cheerfully and generously to His work.

(3.)  How should I give?

I should give in accordance with what I think are good sound principles.

Here are several basic principles of giving:

A. I SHOULD GIVE IN A PRE-PLANNED, SYSTEMATIC WAY.
(1 Corinthians. 16:2; 2 Corinthians. 9:7). “As he may prosper” implies that whenever I receive income, I should give. “The first day of the week” implies regular giving as an act of worship. “Just as he has purposed” implies advance planning, not giving on impulse. In response to God’s grace, each household ought to sit down and determine a fixed amount they believe God wants them to give, and then follow through systematically. You should not wait until the offering basket is coming down the aisle and then think, “Oh no! I haven’t given for a while. I’d better drop something in.”
How do you arrive at the percentage? Pray about it and start with ten percent. Then trust God by increasing the percentage each year, especially if you get a raise. Warning: You’ll be tempted to spend the extra on yourself! Give it as the firstfruits, off the top, and trust God to meet your other needs.

B. I SHOULD GIVE IN SECRET TO THE LORD, NOT IN PUBLIC BEFORE MEN.
As I already mentioned, giving because of pride, power, or human recognition are wrong. Jesus says that we are to give in secret, but with the awareness that God is watching (Matthew 6:1-4). Every time you give, do it before the Lord.

C. I SHOULD GIVE SACRIFICIALLY AT TIMES.
The norm is, “as God has prospered.” But at times God wants us to give more than we think we can afford (2 Corinthians 8:2-3,) beyond our ability). Perhaps you systematically give 15% of your income. An opportunity to give comes along and the Lord says, “I want you to dip into your savings and give a certain amount of it.” Or some extra money comes your way, and the Lord says, “Instead of 15%, I want you to give it all.”
I read one time of a church of 400 members in Thailand where every member tithes. In their case, tithing is sacrificial giving, because the members at that time all made only the U.S. equivalent of 20 cents a week, plus their rice! But because they give sacrificially, they support their own pastor, they have sent two missionary families to other hard-to-reach areas, and they generously help other poor. One other fact: each member of this church has leprosy! Would it not be great if the Catholics in our Parishes were to give like that. What a difference we could make!
Thus all believers are to give from biblical motives in line with biblical principles.

(4.) To whom should I give?

I should give to destitute family members, to spiritual ministries, and to the needy.
We’re all inundated with so many requests for giving. How do we sort them out and determine which ones to give to and which ones to ignore? I can’t answer that question completely, but I can give some guidelines:

A. GIVE TO DESTITUTE FAMILY MEMBERS.
This is your first priority in giving, since to fail to do it makes you worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). “Your own” refers to your immediate family: children, aged parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. This does not include a lazy, irresponsible family member who doesn’t work and who squanders money on alcohol and drugs (2 Thessalonians. 3:10). A “widow indeed” (1 Timothy 5:3-16) refers to a godly woman without any family members to look after her. The church must help these, but widows with families were to be cared for by their families. It is not right to deprive your own family of the necessities of life in order to give to others.

B. GIVE TO SPIRITUAL MINISTRIES.
Since the Church, particularly your local Parish, is God’s ordained means for evangelism and discipleship, it ought to be next in priority for giving after destitute family members are cared for. Those who labor at preaching the Word are worthy of financial remuneration (Galations 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). The Church is also to support sent out Missionary Priest and help plant new Parishes in places where the gospel has not penetrated (3 John 7; 1 Corinthians 9:3-14).

C. GIVE TO NEEDY PERSONS.
We should give to help meet physical needs: food, shelter, medicine, etc. (Matthew 25:35-40; Luke 10:30-37; Romans 12:13; 15:26-27; 1 John 3:17-18). There is an order of priority here (Galatians 6:10): First we help believers, locally and in other areas. Second, we help others (“all men”) as a part of our witness, offering assistance in the name of Christ.
Thus the general priority for giving moves outward from your immediate family, to your extended family, to the local Parish (including needy saints), to the outreach of the Church through missions (including helping needy unbelievers).

(5.) What will happen when I give?

When I give, God will bless with His results.
I cannot be exhaustive, but let me mention five results:

A. I and my family will be blessed. God blesses faith and obedience which are at the heart of giving. If you give, God promises to supply your needs (not your wants!--Phillipians 4:17-19).

B. Others’ needs will be met (Phillipians 4:16, 18; 2 Corinthians 8:13-14; 9:12). God’s work and workers will not be hindered. The needs of the poor will be met.

C. God will be thanked and glorified (2 Corinthians 9:11-13, 15). He will get the praise if we give His way.

D. The Body of Christ will be united in prayer and fellowship (2 Corinthians 9:14). Since your heart follows your treasure, you will be concerned about and will pray for those to whom you give.

E. People will spend eternity with God because of your giving. How can you put a price tag on that? What could possibly be more important?
If believers will give from the right kind of motives, in line with the principles and priorities that are in line with what God says, God will bless with His results.

May I ask, “How is your account in heaven?” Are you storing up many treasures there, so that you are rich toward God? Or, are you storing up treasures here on earth? If your account in heaven is meager, there’s still time. Begin now, even today, to sit down as God’s steward and get your financial house in order. Purpose to begin giving God’s way.

 

 

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