Dear Church family,
It was a delightful thanksgiving service to experience with you. I am certainly thankful for all of you. I thank God often for this Church. You are provision to me.
And I hope & pray that out of that thankfulness in our hearts for all that God has given to us, we will be a giving Church. Indeed, I sense that we are a very giving Church overall. I know that we are a serving Church. But of course, service happens in all areas of our life, including our finances. Just as Jesus held nothing back from serving us, we are to hold nothing back from serving others, including our money.
Along those lines, I want to offer 3 more applications of ‘giving’ that I was not able to fully acknowledge yesterday:
- Why is it “more blessed to give than to receive” as Jesus said in Acts 20:35?
- The answer to that question could practically come from the great giving section of 2 Corinthians 9:13-14 which says: “13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.”
- It’s interesting that one result of our generous giving to God’s people is that the recipients of our gifts pray for us and long for us. This could be one practical way that we are blessed in giving. Giving is actually a prayer aid that we give to others in support of ourselves. So you see that by giving to another saint in need, they will be giving back to you spiritual support, via their prayers to God on your behalf. I have noticed this to be true in my own life. I have been the recipient of much giving in my life, and I tend to pray for those people because when they invested into my heart through their finances, they entered into my heart, and now I pray for them from my heart.
- Perhaps you remember that yesterday I mentioned how for me, my regular disciplined giving to the Church provides me a way of “putting my money where my mouth is.” I say that I trust God, now prove it. I say that I value His Church, now deposit that truth and deposit my trust in God.
- Again, 2 Corinthians 9:13 tells us just that: “By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,”
- As a paraphrase, Paul is saying, “You put your money where your mouth was.” That is, generous giving is the fruit of one’s mouth that confesses hearty belief in Christ’s generosity on our behalf. To give then, is proof that we actually believe the Gospel. It is showing that we don’t say empty words when we verbally agree to the Gospel. If we believe that God gave the life of His son for our soul, then physically, we will have no problem giving. It should be rather easy and if it is not, then it’s because we truly don’t believe the supreme priceless value of Christ’s life that we’ve received. If we are rich in a relationship with Christ, then financial giving is the least that we can do in response the way that God has given to us!
- Lastly, I want to remind us of the importance of handling God’s money carefully (because it’s all His! May we change our view if we look at it as primarily ours):
- In Luke 16:11-12, Jesus says, “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” Those are awesome words!
i. Jesus is saying in v11 that if you can’t handle paper or metal money, God won’t give you more serious responsibilities, like the priceless kinds (‘true riches’). The way that we handle money (budget) is a test that God uses to give us more opportunities for Kingdom responsibilities with people and their souls.
ii. Jesus then says in v12 that if you can’t handle somebody else’s money well then certainly God is not going to give us more responsibility when in fact He knows that we’ll just abuse the more.
- For instance, a parent gives his son 10 dollars to buy stamps, but he instead buys an ice-cream sunday with it. Certainly, the dad or mom won’t give her child 100 dollars next time.
I’m sure that you get the point. To be frank, I am still learning to be fully responsible with money to a more sobering level. We may treat our spending too candid and flippant these days. May we learn to recognize that it all belongs to God. Let’s spend His money in areas that He delights in most. Instead of spending our money on our pleasures, let’s spend it on His pleasures. That would be a good spending principle by which to gauge all of your spending habits.
May God work out more generosity within this Church family, both spontaneously, regularly, and heartily out of a motivation flowing from our true belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is more blessed to give than to receive. God help us to more fully believe and experience that!
With love in Christ,