Tag Archives: financial giving

December 2; An Outpouring of Thanks

2 Corinthians 7-11

God’s timing makes me smile sometimes.

Paul is writing to the Corinthians about financial giving, especially toward missionary endeavors. Now these chapters have been in the Bible for centuries, I have read them multiple of times myself, and even taught a Bible study from them. But today, God directed Paul’s words specifically toward me.

Because yesterday, our pastor introduced the Southern Baptist Mission Board’s annual Lottie Moon offering for the month of December. See what I mean about God’s timing? Our pastor, a former missionary, is passionate about sharing the Gospel with the whole world. His enthusiasm is contagious.

During his sermon he asked us to pray that God would give us each a number, an amount God would have us contribute toward our church’s goal, which by the way, seems a staggering goal compared to what we’ve given in the past. Like I said, his enthusiasm is contagious.

Anyway, as I was reading this morning and realized Paul was talking about financial support of missions, I stopped and asked God to put a dollar amount on my heart. As I read, a number kept coming to mind. “I can do that,” I answered.

I kept reading, and another, larger amount came to mind. “Really? Well, ok. I can do that,” I said. As I continued to read, another, even larger amount came to mind.

I quit reading.

Just kidding. In fact, I find it thrilling that God and I had that personal conversation this morning. Don’t you love reading His Word?

Paul said the poverty in the Macedonian churches “welled up in rich generosity.” Why shouldn’t I express rich generosity, too? I am not in poverty. He challenged me to “excel in this grace of giving.” I think I need to take that challenge.

Then Paul said, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously, will also reap generously.” That was like a dagger to my heart.

I have to ask myself what kind of harvest I am expecting from my financial support of missions. Do I want just a tiny harvest of souls introduced to Jesus through my tiny contribution? Or do I want an extravagant number of souls saved through my extravagant gift?

I wonder how big a check any of us would write if we knew that $1=one eternal soul. Would $10 be sufficient? Is that what we are sowing, hoping for 10 people to come to the Lord?

I believe God has laid a number on my heart, and I will continue to pray and read His Word to be sure that number is truly from Him. I want to write a check equal to what God is asking of me, not because I want to please our new pastor, or to help our church reach it’s goal.

I want to give what God has laid on my heart because, like Paul said in 9:12, it is an “outpouring of thanks to God.”

And, friend, I have lots of reasons to give thanks to God. Lots of reasons! And I am learning that supporting missions is one way I can express my thanks to my generous Lord.

April 9; Palms Up

I Samuel 2:1-21; Psalm 113; Judges 14:1-16:22

I think I’ve told this story before, but I thought of it again as I read I Samuel today. When I was in high school, our youth group wanted to go to a national convention in Colorado. We had bake sales, car washes, and our church hired us to clean the church once a week to earn money to go.

One Saturday I was sweeping the foyer when a lady I didn’t recognize barged in and asked, “Is the treasurer here?”

“He is downstairs,” I replied. “Do you want me to go get him for you?”

“No.” Then she shoved an offering envelope at me. “Give this to him,” she commanded. “And tell him I don’t want a dime of this going to that preacher.”

With that, she turned on her heels and walked away. I stood there, dumbfounded, for a second. Then I leaned the broom against the wall, and headed downstairs to find the treasurer. I handed him the envelope, and I remember feeling embarrassed as I relayed the woman’s message.

“Don’t worry about it,” he reassured me. “She does this all the time.”

The account in I Samuel is actually about the people receiving the offering. They had the mistaken idea they had the right to decide where that offering went. And they were bold enough to demand the best for themselves and the priests.

Today God is speaking to me about giving, about my role in the financial support of my church. We recently started a new capital campaign to raise money to build a new facility on the north end of the island. Right now we are meeting in what used to be the parking garage for the stores located on the first and second floors. Its nice, but it would be great to have our own place.

I gave to the first capital campaign, and when it was time to pledge another three year commitment I had to do some figuring. I’m retired. My income never changes. Do I continue to give what I’d been giving, or do I take a step of faith and up it? What about my general giving?

I was reminded that there are places in Scripture that talk about a 10%, and there are places that speak about giving it all. Moses told the people to give as God prompted them, and they gave so much he ended up asking them to quit giving.

The Bible also tells me God loves a cheerful giver.

Today I feel God would have me be less concerned about the number of zeros on my check, and more about my obedience to Him when He puts that number on my heart. He knows if I’m being honest or not. I want to be obedient.

I also feel God wants me to give that offering with palms up, willingly, joyfully, not trying to control where “my” money goes and doesn’t go.

Then, and maybe this is the most important thing about what God is saying to me today, I need to be in earnest prayer for those who are given the job of deciding how the money will be used for God’s glory. There is a huge responsibility attached to that. In speaking about the servants of the priest who took the choicest offering for themselves, Scripture tells us:

This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt. (I Samuel 2:17)

It’s the Lord’s offering, His money, not mine. I want to be faithful to give as He prompts me, and to give with palms up. Then I’ll pray that every dime is used in ways that furthers His Church, honors Him, and blesses people in Jesus’ name.