Tag Archives: money

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

Tithing is a touchy subject for many churchgoers. And woe to the preacher who feels led to speak on the subject during a Sunday morning service!

A lot of time we use our finances as means of control. “Don’t shop at that department store because they accept gay marriage”. “Don’t buy that soap because the company donates to Planned Parenthood”. “Don’t buy that brand because they advertise during that ungodly TV show.”

Money talks. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing in the above examples. As stewards of God’s provisions, we need to be intentional about where we spend our money. But does the same principle apply to the money we give to our churches?

Paul speaks about the giving record of the church in Corinth in the 9th chapter of his second letter to that church. He talks about their promised financial gift. He tells them about the importance of financial support of the ministry, and likens it to seed sown for a harvest.

Scripture tells us to bring our tithe to the storehouse and leave it there.

I remember, when I was a teenager, I was standing in the foyer of our church on a Saturday. A woman who lived in the neighborhood walked in and handed me an envelope. “This is my tithe,” she said. “But you tell the treasurer I don’t want a dime of this going to the preacher’s salary.”

I did what she asked. The treasurer said for me not to worry about it. He said she does this all the time.

Dear one, that’s not Scriptural. If you don’t like how money is spent at your church – tithe anyway. Go ahead and become an elder, or get on the governing board if you want. Voice your opinion. If you are convinced that God is not in the running of that church, and you’ve tried and failed to make a difference, find another church. But remember, God didn’t tell us to give 10% with strings attached.

It’s our responsibility – and privilege – to plant seeds for the kingdom. That’s what your tithing is intended to do.

And God loves a cheerful giver.

December 17

I Timothy 3-6

I’ve often said that if I ever win the lottery the first thing I’ll do is buy an ocean front home on my favorite Georgia island. If I ever win the lottery it’ll truly be a miracle. I’ve never bought a ticket.

So many people are looking for some kind of windfall. Maybe they spend thousands of dollars on the lottery or maybe they jump from job to job expecting the next one to be the one where they’ll bring in the big bucks. Some even compromise on what they know is right in order to get ahead. How much money is enough?

Paul said if he has food and clothing he is content. He makes it plain that godliness is not a means to financial gain and anyone who says it is has a corrupt mind. (6:5) “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”. (6:9&10)

The Bible tells us to do everything as though we were working for God. It’s not wrong to work hard and expect compensation for our effort. It’s not wrong to work for a promotion if God can be glorified in the effort. But what is your motivation?

In chapter 6 verse 11, Paul tells Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. I don’t see anywhere where it says to pursue a six figure income. Being rich is not a sin. But if riches are your focus – that is a sin.

Can you be content with having food and clothing? Can I? Let’s not forget that there are some people in our world who would consider themselves quite rich if they had warm clothes, a place to call home, and a full stomach. So just how rich are you?

Father, I pray that my priority will always be you. Thank you for blessing me with everything I need. Forgive me if I look with envy at those who live in those million dollar condos on the beach. I don’t ever want to seem ungrateful for all you have given me. May I pursue the things that matter – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness, and eternity with you. And, Lord, show me how I can help others who have financial struggles and may you find me faithful.

September 27

Joel 3; Malachi 1-4

We come to the end of the Old Testament today. And Malachi is setting the stage for Jesus’ ministry. He has a lot to say about that but I want to share something from just 3:10.

When my parents were raising five daughters in the 50’s times here tough. My dad was a hard worker but he was not a good businessman. He and mom spent nearly everything they had to buy a bulldozer, backhoe, dump truck and flat bed trailer so Dad could start his own excavating business. He was a ditch digger! He dug footers and basements and leveled land for building sites. He was good at it and he loved the work.

He was not good, however, at pressing people for payments when the money due him didn’t come. 

We girls knew there wasn’t a lot of money but we were protected from the extent of it. We didn’t see Mom’s tears as she served the fourth Campbell Soup dinner of the week. We didn’t notice when Mom and Dad skipped a meal. And we never saw the pile of bills that wasn’t getting paid.

Somewhere during that difficult time Mom was convicted about tithing. She argued with God for a while saying, how could she drop a tenth of almost nothing into the plate when her girls didn’t have enough to eat. But God continued to impress on her to be faithful with what she had and, because she was the keeper of the money and the writer of checks in our family, she quietly began to tithe.

Now I know some of you may want to hear about an anonymous check that came in the mail or a rich relative’s fortune being left to us in a will. That didn’t happen but I will tell you what did.

Dad lost his business.

That’s right. Dad had to sell his equipment. But because he had shown himself to be a good worker in the building trades, a man who owned a plumbing company and had an opening at that very moment, offered Dad the chance to work with him and learn the plumbing trade. Dad studied plumbing and found, not only was he good at it – he liked the work, too! And… he didn’t have the pressures that come with being the company owner. And… he got paid every week.. And… he had regular work hours and was able to be at home with us evenings. And… he didn’t work on the weekends.

And… the bills started to get paid. Slowly, Mom was able to write the checks that needed to be written every month. It didn’t happen over night. But it happened to the point that eventually she even opened a savings account! 

It wasn’t a dramatic answer to prayer and it didn’t happen like Mom and Dad might have planned. But what did happen was better for Dad and our family. God asked Mom to be faithful with what she had. And God proved he meant what he said when he said:

see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

We were never rich according to the world’s standards . But we were and are a family rich in blessings from God who is true to his Word. Be faithful with a little and God will be faithful with what he has!

Do you tithe? You need to. And not because you want God to pour out a financial windfall on you. You need to because it demonstrates to you and to God your commitment to him and your trust in him. Do you take God at his Word? Prove it.

 

June 5

Proverbs 28-30

Are you one of the millions of people who play the lottery hoping, maybe even praying for that big windfall? Do you dream about what you’d do with a couple million dollars? Do you try to strike a bargain with God by telling him all the great things you’d do with that money?

Agur asked two things of God. One was honesty. The other was middle-class living. Agur didn’t want to hit the lottery because he didn’t want to even be tempted to disown God. He didn’t want to be so poor he’d be tempted to steal, either. So he asked God to allow him to live honestly and modestly.

How much money would it take for you to be satisfied? Probably most of us reading these Scriptures today are able to pay our bills. There is probably food in our refrigerators. And we have shoes on our feet. I’m not saying riches are evil. And I’m not saying people who live in poverty are criminals. 

But I think God is asking us to take inventory. Many of the proverbs speak about work, doing our best, not just sitting around. Are you a good worker regardless of your financial position? Can you lay your head on your pillow each night confident that you honored God with what you accomplished? Do you tithe from what you already have? If God can’t trust you with what you have don’t even think about getting more.

I am not saying it’s wrong to work for a promotion at work. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be trying to do our best and it’s ok to expect to get paid. But if riches are our focus we’ve already fallen into the temptation Agur was fearful of.

Paul said he learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself. My prayer is that we all will do that, too. Instead of dreaming about that quick fix, that instant wealth, let’s thank God for what we have and get busy doing what is important for eternity.

Honest living. Modest living. Sounds like a plan.