Lessons about Giving
Just when I think I have learned all there is to learn concerning money, about giving tithes and offerings- bam, I discover volumes of Scriptures about money I never knew before. It’s amazing how controlling “money” is in the lives of so many. I put in words of a poem:
” Dug from the mountainside, washed from the glen.
Servant am I or master of men.
Steal me I curse you, earn me I bless you.
Grasp me or hoard me, others shall possess you.
Live for me, die for me.
Covet me, take me.
Angel or Devil I am what you make me.”
Someone wrote: “Money will buy: A bed but not sleep. Books but not brains. Food but not appetite. Finery but not beauty. A house but not a home, Luxuries but not culture. Medicine but not health. Amusements but not happiness. A crucifix but not a Savior. A church but not a heaven.”
It was Jesus who sat over on the side and observed how people gave in the offering. While he was doing so, he called the attention of his disciples to watch and learn as well (Mark 12:41-33). It was the widow’s mite, the smallest coin, compared to the rich man’s bag of gold that Jesus used to teach his disciples a lesson. The amount that people gave wasn’t what captured my attention. It was that Jesus sat over in the corner and observed what people gave. And what is more unique was that Jesus took time to teach his disciples about the giving process. It mattered so much to Jesus of how and what proportion did people give that he sat aside and observed.
A person has departed from God if they are not giving tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:7). God revealed how one is robbing God if he fails to pay his tithes & offerings. Think of this. What should it matter, you might ask? According to Lev 1:4, God told Moses to tell the people that when they gave of their offerings, God would account their giving as of giving of themselves. Meaning, that when we give our tithes or an offering, God records it as if we gave our very person. Why is that? Because God knew that we exchange our time, talent and life’s blood to work in exchange for money. Therefore, when we give our money, we in essence are giving our very life. No wonder Jesus watched people give.
Tithes and offering giving is an institution God created. All that have is a gift from God and belongs to God in the first place. God said, “Return to me and I will return to you. We asked, how shall we return to you? And God said, you shall return to me in your giving of your tithes and offerings” (Mal 3:7). Wow, giving was the act of our spiritual reconnection to God. Tithing is an act of love and thanksgiving for material things received from God’s Creation. Tithing is an act of confession of obligations to God who has been your helper in time of need.
Tithing is the key to divine blessings. Jacob left Canaan empty and returned with much cattle and many servants after he started tithing. If God gets His part, He said he would bless the rest. Truth is, when we give the tithe, the remaining 90% will go further under the blessing of God, than 100% being cursed (Mal. 3:10, Lu. 6:38, 2 Cor. 9:6). When people follow God’s method of tithes and offerings, church ministries are freed to fulfill their purpose. When tithes and offerings are practiced, it is a blessing to the church and unchurched alike.
One who does not tithe does not consider any of the above things mentioned, they are not grateful, don’t feel obligated to God, cares nothing for His cause, recognizes no higher authority than himself, doesn’t count God’s blessing significant. Those who fail to tithe not only rob God but hinder the spread of the gospel. God’s work requires money, tithes and offerings are God’s way of financing the gospel. How much money would a public school system receive if it depended on the passing of a hat at a local PTA meeting to pay the bills? How would our county government make out if it depended on our taking up a collection at Memorial and Independence Day parades?
C.S. Lewis said of the early church, “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more that we can spare, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.”
A certain family had gone to church and on the way home the father criticized the sermon, the mother found fault with the organist, and the eldest daughter talked about the singing. But the subject was suddenly dropped when the small boy of the family said, “Daddy, I think it was mighty good program for a nickel.”
“God, break to the needy sweet charity’s bread,
For giving is living, the angel said.
And must I be giving again and again?
My peevish and pitiless answer ran.
Oh, no said the angel, piercing me through,
Just give till the Lord stops giving to you.”
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”
This article “Lessons About Giving” by Dr. Tim McClure was excerpted from: Promise Land Church newsletter. July 2009. It may be used for study & research purposes only.