Tag Archives: supporting the church

( 2 Chronicles 24) It’s tax time. Hurray!

When the people of Israel heard that their king was bringing back the temple tax, how do you think they reacted? Did they start a Twitter war? Post rants on social media? Did they start an impeachment process, or complain to their neighbors over the backyard fences? You won’t believe this:

All the leaders and all the people rejoiced, brought the tax, and put it in the chest until it was full. (24:10)

You read that right. They rejoiced! And Scripture tells us they filled the tax collection box daily.

We just passed the traditional tax deadline of April 15th this week here in the States. Anybody rejoice when you wrote that check? Right.

What we see here is people joyfully, willingly, thankfully giving to the building up of the temple, giving to the work of the Lord.

So tomorrow, when you write that check to your church, will you do it joyfully? I hope so. Whether you interpret Scripture as demanding a literal 10% tithe, either from your gross or your net earnings, or if you believe that 10% is a guideline, how you give is as important as how much you give.

God blesses obedience that begins in our hearts. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The work of your local church needs your money in order to efficiently serve God. But equally important to the ministry is your heart’s attitude.

Is it possible to love too much? Is there such a thing as too much joy? Can you ever give God too much from what He’s given you?

I pray you will know true joy as you generously support your church fellowship with your finances. It’s what God deserves.

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.