Often one of the biggest complaints the world has with the church is that the church is always asking for money to spend on big buildings, highly paid preachers, and things other than helping the poor and needy. They have a point. In the new testament they did not spend money for buildings; they took care of widows and brethren in need with the money they received. (Acts 6, I Timothy 5)
One of the biggest complaints that some members of the church have is that preachers often preach so much on giving. And, indeed, many years ago it seemed that the two things we stressed to members was church attendance and giving. (I am not saying that was all we preached on – but sometimes I was encouraged to preach on these two things more than anything else). I came to the conclusion that the ones who needed to hear about attendance were never there, and the ones who needed to hear about giving were not there, or would not do better. I have also found that it is usually the widows and aged that give the most of their time and efforts to the work of the church, and for all of these I am grateful to God constantly. Having said that, I know that some younger may feel like I am neglecting them, but again, many times, the younger members who have families, commit to doing all they can for the Lord. I rejoice in all that everyone does for the Lord. So must we all. This is the crux of the matter – if a Christian loves the Lord, whether young or old, they will give and do what needs to be done for the Lord. If a Christian does not love the Lord, it shows as well.
By and large, I have stopped preaching on giving, except to say that if a person loves the Lord and his church, he/she will give. I can’t make anyone love the Lord, it has to come from within the heart of each Christian.
Another thing some Christians struggle with when it comes to giving is the faith that it takes to give. Note the article below by Joe Barnett:
I BELIEVE . . . . BUT . . . . .
One day a man, struggling with his faith, cried out to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). How human! Hearing Bible promises we squint an eye, and say “I believe . . . but . . . “
We feel an uncomfortably wide gap between what the Lord says and what we really feel about giving. Intellectually we know that everything he says is true. But it scrapes the raw edges of our grasping ways. Our faith is shaky. We want to believe, . . . but . . .
Pray with me.
Dear God, I know what you say about giving is true. But it’s so hard for me to turn loose; hard to trade dollars for promises; hard to be spiritually mature. I need help. Please help me to really believe:
- That my ability to make a living is a gift from you – Deuteronomy 8:18
- That it is more blessed to give than to receive – Acts 20:35
- That you will reward my giving – Matthew 6:33; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
- That my giving either proves or disproves my love for you – 2 Corinthians 8:8
- That my giving is an investment in heaven – Matthew 9:19-20
- They you don’t have my heart until you have my purse – Matthew 6:21.
God, I’m struggling. I believe . . . but . . . help my unbelief. In the name of him who believed it and proved it. Amen. Joe R. Barnett
Christian, God expects you to give. He wants us to give ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). He wants us to give because this is when we are most like him (John 3:16). He gives us life, our jobs, our families, the church – everything.
One of the reminders God gave Israel in Deuteronomy 8 is that all blessings they received was due to the fact he gave these things to them. He gave them deliverance from bondage in Egypt; he gave them the land of Canaan because of a promise he made to Abraham, their forefather; he fed them for 40 years while they wandered in the wilderness – everything they had was because God gave to them. He tested them and their faith in him – and one whole generation failed. Will we Christians fail because of a lack of faith?
Jesus set us the example of giving in that he gave his life for us on the cross. He died for you; he died for me. He expects us to die to ourselves and follow him (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34). What will you give to Jesus? Will you give him your life, your soul, YOUR ALL?
Then, in the sermon of Acts 2, we find that the gift of the Holy Spirit was (is) given when we obey the gospel and are baptized into Christ. (Acts 2:38).
When I give the Lord my all, then my money, my time, and my effort – everything about me is his! I am his servant, seeking to do his will. He bought me by redeeming me with his blood. All I have is myself to give to him. And that is what he wants – ME!
When I truly understand this, then giving him my all is the least I can do.