God Loves A Cheerful Giver

(2 Corinthians 9:7-15)

This would be one of the few verses that most people would know and recognise, even among those who are not Christians in this world.

God loves a cheerful giver
God loves a cheerful giver

It is a fundamental principle among people that if you are to give anything for any good reason, then it needs to be given cheerfully. Too often people have ulterior motives for giving. They give to get something in return, or to win favour, or perhaps to be looked at as someone special, even to assuage guilt.

But what is important in the eyes of the Lord is not that you should gain through giving, but that you should give cheerfully. And those who do so do indeed gain many things, as we will see. But the gain should never be the reason for the giving. Any gain at all is simply a by-product of the giving, nit the purpose for it.

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Church Financing

(2 Corinthians 8:13-24)

How should the church be financed? What is the means by which the church should receive it’s funding?

How should the church be financed, by Tithing or by Giving?
How should the church be financed, by Tithing or by Giving?

Even though we know that money is not a priority in the Lord, there is a basic financial need in the church for it to operate. We need to pay for premises, whether rented or bought, we need money for songbooks, equipment, and wages for those who do the ministry. But what is the right way of raising these funds so that firstly, we are acting in accord with the gospel, and secondly, that greed and the love of money do not raise their ugly heads.

This is an important issue and it is done badly in many churches because they do not understand the processes that were established by the Lord to nesure this function is in harmony with the gospel. In fact it is so important that the wrong methodology can be devastating to a church, even when or if it appears to coincide with what the bible states! Continue reading “Church Financing”

Giving NOT Tithing

(1 Corinthians 16:1-4)

In various places across this blog I have posted information about the financing of the Christian church.

It's about giving, not tithing
It’s about giving, not tithing

I know that many in the church these days tithe and give offerings because that is what they are taught by their ministers and pastors. And there is no doubt that if a church is to operate it needs the financial funding to do so. Even those who hire local halls must have the money to hire and provide the needs of the church for the running of the church.

But the mechanism of the Christian church is not tithing. In this section of scripture Paul shows us how the giving process in the church ought to operate.

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Christian Giving

(Acts 11:27-30)

Throughout the development of the early Christian church the needs of the church were met by the giving of money or other things by the members of the church. All of the needs of those who had little or nothing were met by sharing from those who had an abundance.

Christian Giving
Christian Giving

We see discussions of Christian giving in various places in the New Testament and this section of Acts 11 gives us an insight into the state of mind of those who gave their goods, services and financial resources for the benefit of the church.

Unfortunately somewhere along the line these original concepts were lost in some churches (not all) and were replaced with a process of taxation in the church rather than voluntary giving. Tithing as it is practiced in the church today is NOT the true method of giving as practiced in the early Christian church because it is an exaction, not a gift. But the truth of raising funds for the benefit of the church and as it was practiced in the beginning was based on the principle of giving that The Lord taught.

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Christian Giving vs. Tithing

(Acts 4:32-37)

The process of giving in the early Christian church was not like it was under the law of Judaism. In Jesus Christ the people had been set free from the confines of the Old Testament law, but this did not take place until the New Covenant came into effect at the death of Jesus.

The early Christian church did not tithe, but they gave according to their means. Whatever they had that was excess to their needs they offered to The Lord and as we see in this section of the scripture, they had all things in common so that no one was lacking in anything that was necessary for the sustenance of life. The difference between old and new covenants is that tithing was a requirement of the law. Under the law the Jews had to tithe as it was a commandment. But in Christ, under grace, giving was a free choice and not a commandment.

The early Christians recognised that the things of this earth are temporary and transitory and that the real possessions and inheritance were to come from The Lord through the gospel of salvation. They were awaiting salvation unto eternal life and entry into the kingdom of God that can only come through the knowledge of Jesus and walking in His ways.

So they counted the things of this world as nothing and meaningless by comparison and they gave freely to help others out who had little or nothing. But they did not tithe, which raises the question as to why tithing is such a big issue in the church today? Why do so many churches insist on taking tithes from the people and teaching that it is necessary? And more importantly, tithing as practiced today is a big problem to the modern Christian church.

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Receiving God

(John 13:19-20)

receiving jesus receiving god
When you receive Jesus you receive God

We have a great responsibility as servants and representatives of the Lord. This scripture hints at this for when we represent Jesus we are also representing the Father to those to whom we speak.

Given that, all aspects of what we both say and do need to be representative of the life that we have through Jesus Christ. There is also a great blessing here too that comes from representing the Lord. And even more there is a blessing to the one who receives the words of the Lord for they receive more than just words, they receive life.

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Giving For Jesus

(John 12:1-8)

There is an interesting story in the gospels of a woman who anoints Jesus feet with pure nard, a costly perfumed ointment. In this story there are several attitudes and matters that we can learn from which help us understand the heart of the Lord. It goes to the heart of what and how we should give our gifts to and for Jesus.perfume

He did not think the way man thinks for He is the Son of God. So any opportunity we can get as an insight to how the Lord thinks should be reviewed and understood.

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Two Copper Coins

(Luke 21:1-4)

In many places we notice that Jesus saw things differently to those around him. He often took a different path than those around him because he saw things differently. Here in this section of scripture that speaks of people giving money into the treasury at the temple we see a perfect example of how Jesus perceived the events that unfolded.two copper coins

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The Lesson of the Widows Mites

(Mark 12:41-44)

Jesus sat in the temple opposite the treasury and watched the people giving gifts. Many rich people put in large sums, but there was a poor widow who contributed just two coins. These coins in total amounted to about one penny. Rather than consider this to be insignificant Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson.

the widows coinsSometime ago I read a scripture which gave me great comfort in the work I am doing in the name of the Lord. At times I felt I was wasting my time and working for nothing. At other times I was perplexed as to what I should do or what to do next. Sometimes I felt the work was insufficient or not good enough.

Then I read the scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:58 which says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This was a great comfort to me, to know that the work I am doing for the Lord is not in vain. There is a value in anything you do for the Lord.

And we see in this scripture in Mark 12 that it can be the most insignificant thing, for the Lord sees value where man does not. The people at the treasury on the day the Lord was there possibly may have disregarded the widow’s contribution as trivial. But Jesus saw it as the greatest gift of all those people giving for she contributed out of her poverty, but the others from their wealth. The rich could more than afford their gifts, but the poor widow would have struggled, and yet she still gave of her means. And she was accepted by the Lord for what she gave, insignificant as it may have been.

This principle was reinforced by Paul when he wrote, “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not.” (2 Corinthians 8:12) So if you are offering a service to the Lord, no matter how minor you may think it is, you are accepted fro what you have, not what you do not have. You do not have to do major or mighty works to be doing the Lord’s work. You do not have to be putting great riches into his treasury as we saw in the scripture in Mark 12. Whatever you do in the name of the Lord is accepted and that work is not in vain.

We must remember too that when the Lord God passed by Elijah in the wilderness, he was not in the great strong wind that rent the mountains and broke rocks to pieces. He was not in the mighty earthquake or raging fire that followed. He was in the still small voice that spoke to Elijah and gave him comfort and instruction. (1 Kings 19:9-18)

God is in the small things. There is a saying in this world that says, “The devil is in the details.” The saying is false and it is wrong. God is in the details. God is in the minutiae and the details of all things. It is the devil who glosses over things so that people will not look for the detail for he lacks detail. It is in the detail that we gain understanding, insight and wisdom.

So don’t ever consider that when you do something small for the Lord it is insignificant. Anything you do for the Lord is not in vain and it is valued, as were the two mites of the widow.

(Picture sourced from ChristiansUnite.com http://clipart.christiansunite.com/)