Dennis is an elder at Grace Church. He has recently started as a missionary under the umbrella of the FCA. He is spearheading a new endeavor in our area called FCA Outdoors. For information about how to support him please follow this link to his FCA giving page.
If you want to make someone feel inadequate, talk to them about giving. I’m not talking about the 3% that give according to God’s purpose. I’m talking about the 97% that give out of surplus. These percentages are by no means scientific or accurate, but they bring attention to the difference in giving according to God’s purpose. Pastors either have no problem preaching to the congregation about giving, or they simply try to avoid the topic. Giving is Biblical. It is that simple.
Tithing to your church is an act of worship. Read Romans 12:1-5 and ask yourself if you are worshipping in humility. It doesn’t ask you to give a piece of your body to God; it says to give your body to God. As we grow closer to God we are able to discern what is of God and what is of the world.
Giving is an act of sacrifice. Jesus gave us a total sacrifice of his life to cover ALL of our sins past, present, and future. What if he had been able to just cut off a pinkie for most of our sin? I believe that is how we sacrifice for God sometimes. We cut off a pinkie for Him because we know that we can still fully function.
Our giving does not hurt us. I do not believe that giving is supposed to physically hurt us; rather it should open our eyes to see where we are consumed by the world. In the Old Testament, the Levites were not given leftovers. They were given the first and best gifts from the people of Israel. God established a vertical form of giving that we would be wise to practice today. It is not about buying and selling. It is about giving and receiving. The vertical form of giving is started with prayer.
The Lord supplied what the Israelites would tithe. This included food, money, and animals for their vertical tithe and offering back to the Lord. The Levites did not look horizontally for a handout from the Israelites, they looked vertically up from God. They understood this because in Numbers 18: 20 (ESV), God had told Aaron that the Levites would have no inheritance in their land or portion. God himself was to be their inheritance and portion.
The Levites in return tithed their 10% of the best of the best back up to God. Both the giver and receiver understood that all things come through God. As a church and a missionary, we are tempted to seek our needs from others rather than ask vertically from God.
Because I am a missionary, I know what it is like to ask people for money. It has been said many times that God does not need our money. He needs our faithfulness to give with consistency, willingness, and obedience. For those of us in ministry, we need your money to help us answer God’s calling. I have said before that someone else cannot do what God has purposed me to do. You can help me accomplish my mission through giving and prayer.
The “Ask” is hard to do, but has been recorded throughout the Bible. Nehemiah was a great example of an “Ask” in the Bible. This is from Nehemiah:
And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. - Neh 2:2-8 (ESV)
The “Ask” can be difficult, but it is still Biblical. Think about what Elijah’s “Ask” was to the widow lady. In 1
Kings 17, Elijah was told to rise and go to Zarephath. He was to go there and “Ask” a widow lady for a morsel of bread. The Lord had already commanded the widow lady to give Elijah the bread before Elijah got to her city. This occurred during a great time of famine, and the widow was ready to make the last meal for her and her son before they died. Elijah told her to do as he asked. Because of her willingness and obedience, she never ran out of oil or flour. This could have never happened without the “Ask”. The Lord told Elijah to “Ask” the widow for her last bit bread. Elijah was obedient as well as the widow. When they obeyed, the both were provided for. That is our God. This is one reason that ministries ask you to give. We want everyone to have the opportunity to give according to God’s purpose. God provides in collective obedience. There are many passages in the Bible about giving. Here are a few:
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency[b] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. - 2 Cor 9:6-8 (ESV)
"...give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” - Luke 6:38 (ESV)
"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” - Acts 2:35 (ESV)
I am not saying that you should be a cheerful, obedient giver. God is telling you to be a cheerful, obedient giver. Throughout history, God has taken care of those that lived according to His purpose. Elijah and widow ultimately chose God’s way. Willingness and obedience are what God is asking of you. Answer His call and do as He Asks.