Tag Archives: giving

Does God Love An Un-Cheerful Giver?

The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). That is, God loves it when we give our tithes and offerings with a glad heart.

To tithe means to give a tenth of our increase (our income) to God by supporting his work (the local church). Offerings are the contributions we make in addition to our tithe.

What if our heart is not cheerful? Should we give when we can’t be happy about it? If we think of giving as a duty, should we stop giving?

The great missionary Paul spent a couple of years gathering an offering from various churches in Gentile cities. The money was meant to provide relief for poor Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who were struggling to survive.

When the time approached for him to deliver the offering, Paul wrote to believers in Rome and shared his plans with them. He asked them to pray that things would go well in Jerusalem.

Paul saw the threat of a division in the church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. He hoped a generous offering from Gentile churches to Jewish believers would not only provide for their needs, but also create goodwill and promote unity between the two groups.

As he wrote about the offering, the apostle noted that the Gentile churches were pleased to contribute to this project. Then he wrote that they were obligated to give material assistance because the Gentile believers had enjoyed spiritual blessings from the Jewish Christians (see Romans 15:26-27).

His remarks seem to be contradictory. Did the Gentiles give financially to the work of the church because they were pleased to do so or because they were obligated to do so? Did they give as an expression of delight or from a sense of duty?

Giving to God’s work is a joyful responsibility. Joy and responsibility, delight and duty, they can stand together. They need not cancel each other out. A duty can be an act of discipline and an act of discipline can bring deep satisfaction.

Think about parents and their kids. We believe parents have a responsibility to provide loving care to their sons and daughters. Those of us who are parents and grandparents agree. We accept the notion that we have an obligation to our children. We are responsible.

But we also have a desire to care for our children. It pleases us. Knowing that it is a responsibility does not rob us of our desire to do so, nor does it erase our joy in caring for them. In fact, knowing that we are fulfilling our God-given responsibility only adds to our pleasure.

Giving to God’s work is a duty, but it can also be a delight, a joy. Duty and desire combine without diminishing one another.

The apostle also believed that the offering he gathered would have a spiritual benefit not only on the individual givers, but also on the larger community of Christians. He wanted the gift from Gentiles to Jews to inspire unity among believers, to remind them that they were part of an eternal family with a shared mission.

The spiritual discipline of giving binds us together in our common Christian faith. We can accomplish more when we combine our efforts. And, we share the joy of a job well done when our Lord uses our gifts to advance his kingdom.

May the Lord inspire us to honor him with our giving,

Brother Richard

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What The Church Needs from Each of Us

In order to carry out her mission, God’s local church requires three things from her members: attendance, service and giving.

Regular attendance at church keeps us in fellowship with God and with one another. It is true that we can commune with God anytime and anywhere. But our Lord instructs us to honor him in a special way each Sabbath. To go fishing on the Lord’s Day and pretend that we are focused on him is an insult to the Savior.

When we worship regularly, we draw nearer to God and he draws nearer to us. As we honor him through our obedience, he honors us by revealing more of himself and his plan to us.

Our church family is on a spiritual journey. When we are away, we miss part of the story. When we are consistently present, God gives us insights that build upon one another. Sporadic attendance leaves gaps that deny us the full picture.

Regular church attendance also enables us to maintain stronger relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The familiarity we gain by regularly worshiping together enables us to encourage each other in our Christian walk.

Faithful service at church keeps us growing as a church family and as individual believers. Church is not a spectator sport. When we attend sports events, movies, and concerts, we expect gifted professionals to do all the work while we sit back and enjoy. Church is different.

Every follower of Jesus has the same indwelling presence of God. But each believer is given different spiritual gifts. These abilities are given by God for the growth of his church. In the Body of Christ, everyone is vital to the health of all the others.

As we serve faithfully in the local church, we grow stronger in our personal faith. Service in the church enables us to see God’s hand at work in a variety of circumstances. As a result, we move closer to the heart of God.

Steady giving keeps us grateful to God and invested in his Kingdom. When we pay for products and services in the world, we look for the most ‘bang for the buck.’ Tithes and offerings are different.

Giving to the church is based on our understanding that everything we have already belongs to God. What we give is an act of worship, acknowledging God as our Maker and Sustainer and reminding us that what remains in our hand is his blessing, not our due.

By consistently giving to God’s work in the local church we gain a sense of ownership and pride in the Lord’s work. Giving to God’s work is an expression of confidence that his Kingdom is worthy. It is of the highest value.

Our tithes and offerings finance the ministries of the local church, reaching lost souls with the gospel and strengthening saved spirits with the Word. God is giving us the opportunity to store up treasure in heaven, an investment that cannot be lost or stolen.

God is carrying out his Kingdom work in this age through his church. He has promised that his church will be victorious. Not even the gates of hell will be able to stand against her. We share in God’s triumph through his church by regularly attending, faithfully serving, and steadily giving.

May God’s Holy Spirit inspire and empower us to support his church and share his victory,

Brother Richard

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