To Give or not to Give
“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:14-19
Many years ago a colleague at International Christian School approached me in a hallway. She was holding an envelope. “Lord told me this morning to give you this”- she said with a smile, gave me the envelope and walked away. She was obedient to the Lord and I was blessed with much needed $20. It is a nice amount of money. But you see, I was making $40 a month at the time… In hectic economy of the early nineties that salary was barely enough to survive but I made it. Resources were scarce to say the least but I was a new believer and wanted to do the right thing: to tithe.
“Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.” Numbers 18:26
Is this passage relevant to us today?
I remember discussing the issue with a Christian friend who told me: “You think it is challenging to be obedient to the Lord now? Wait and see when you have thousands of dollars to tithe from”. He was positive we need to give 10% to the church. I was just smiling- the concept of one day managing much could not settle in. Little did I know…
My friend was right, at times it is harder to manage when you have more. Just like taxes, I suppose. But with taxes you know you will get in trouble when you don’t give Uncle Sam what you have to give. It is the law. How about God’l law? Is it a law?? Many people get offended when giving is mentioned in the church. We think we know better what to do with all the blessing Lord sends our way. We hear about mismanaging of the finances donated to churches and get righteously angry. Sure we know where to give. Do I really need to give 10% to church? What if I disagree with were the money go? I do trusrt God but I do not always trust people.
You don’t have to send a check to every ministry who’s letter appears in your mailbox, unless Lord tells you to do it. God has a way to show you what has to be done. Years back I was attending a service on Sunday morning. Pastor was talking about a new building for our church. And right there I had a strong impression on my heart how much I had to give. Stubborn as I am I begun to silently argue. The best excuse I can come up with was that I do not have a job and my husband simply would disagree to dispatch such a lump sum for a church building project. Promptly I got an answer:”Get a job!” “But Lord, I have been looking for months!” “Get a job!”- this time stronger and almost impatient, like with a stubborn child. It always amazes me how the Holy Spirit works. When he impresses something on your heart you jut know it is him talking. When Lord is prompting you with his Holy Spirit- don’t even try to resist his power. I went home, opened a Sunday paper and sure in Classifieds I found two job openings. On Monday I sent out my resume, on tuesday and Wednesday I had my interviews, by monday I had to choose the place of my future employment… Just like that.
Sometimes people think they do not mind giving- just they will give to the cause they feel strongly about or they would rather give it to the poor. Somehow the passage about Mary wiping Jesus’s feet with her hair and expensive perfume comes to mind:
“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12:3-8
Consider giving offerings prayerfully. In my heart tiding is not optional- it is mandatory, just like going to church on Sunday. It is an act of obedience. But if you are not single you need to consider your spouses thoughts on this matter.
What motivates us to give? Do we hope to reap the reward in heaven if we give faithfully? Lord loves a cheerful giver. Do you always give cheerfully?
Many years ago I was saved during the evangelizing in the streets of Kiev. A team of young people from YWAM ( Youth With A Mission) came to my city and I gave my life to the Lord on a beautiful spring day. Somebody felt lead to give money to support this organization- ether through their church or directly to YWAM- I will never know. I only know the result for me- praise the Lord!
Finances belong to our Heavenly Father. We want to be good stewards to the resources we work hard to get. Without getting into all controversy- just pray and read the Word. Lord will sure tell you what to do and how to serve him- with your life and finances.