How Shall We Give?

Giving: A Dynamic of the Christian Life

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Psa 81:10 KJV) I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

The Christian dynamic of giving has been so muddied by the church that instead of it being a part of worship as it should be, it becomes a "calculating event." Have you ever heard the following in reference to giving?

• Do I give 10%?
• Do I tithe on the Gross?
• Do I tithe on the Net?
• Is tithing a New Testament Principle?
• Is tithing demanded by God?
• If we are under grace, why do we have to tithe?

I am sure that we all have heard these things. Depending on the church you attend, you will continue to hear these debates about giving. Giving is a great part of the Great Commission. It funds the going forth of world missions. However, keep in mind that if God is calling you to the mission field, then giving money to missions in lieu of going yourself is unacceptable and you will not get away with it. (He who has ears to hear)

When I first became a Christian in 1981, the man who discipled me, put into my heart a love for missions. Since I have 2 bad knees and unable to go to a mission field, I support missions when I am financially able to do so. I have a heart for missionaries because the ones that I have come in contact with, have given their entire life to sending forth the gospel. There is one thing I want to bring up at this point. When you find a mission agency to support and you receive an envelope with a short form to fill out asking what you want to donate to, and you are not sure, then do not be afraid to check the box "where needed most" or "general expenses." Many do not give unless it goes to some mission deep in the jungles of Irian Jaya or some other exotic place. God will take the money you donate and it will be used in the right place, so don't fear that you are displeasing God if you check "where needed most." World Missionary Press in Indiana does this, they list several projects plus the "where needed most." I always check that one because they know better where the money is needed most.

That was an aside yet it is a very important subject concerning giving to missions. That is what this study is all about. I hope to clear up some confusion about giving because I see it is a great dynamic in the Christian walk. Let me share a personal incident with you which happened because of God's faithfulness to His word when we give. Some time ago I received a letter from one of my favorite ministries which was $30,000 behind in bills. I remember I had $2,000 in a savings account. The Lord had laid upon my heart to give $1,000 to this ministry. So I did it and shortly thereafter, a relative of mine gave me about $2,500 in Savings Bonds in face value she was saving for me since 1954. I took them to the bank and cashed them in. The total came out to about $5,500. God had graciously and faithfully kept His Word concerning the promises of giving. I have another personal giving incident which I will share later in the study.

Remember the verse which I started this study with? Psalm 81:10. The question is, how wide are you willing to open your mouth so the Lord can fill it? This simply means, are you willing to take God at His Word and trust Him by giving generously (open wide) or to be stingy and give little (open slightly). I also have a stingy story too but I will tell that one here.

I have a friend which I have known since 1981 and we had gone to many Bible Conferences together, in fact we were room mates in many of them. Not long after I got to know him, I started seeing a pattern in his life which confused me. This man would devise every excuse to avoid giving to the Lord's Work. Whenever they passed the plate, he would shuffle through all the large bills in his wallet and take out two singles for the collection plate. His favorite saying was "I can't give anything right now." The problem was that almost every time was "right now."

I went to visit him at his home and realized why he complained about having to pay many bills and why he couldn't give "right now." He was extremely materialistic and self-centered. He would buy gadgets for himself valued in the area of thousands of dollars plus he was hoarding gold and using "his retirement" as his excuse for not giving. He had 2 safe deposit boxes loaded with gold and stocks of companies like Exxon where he would get a big dividend check 4 times a year.

His stinginess and greed continued to escalate in his life until he was conned into buying some objects of art and he went into debt about $200,000. After he did this, his whole financial world came crashing down. He had to file for bankruptcy plus he had to liquidate his stocks and all his gold. Today he drives a school bus for $9 an hour. He has no retirement money at age 55. Now he can legitimately say "I can't give anything right now." Was it worth it? The Bible teaches we will reap what we sow. Did he go bankrupt because God wanted his money? The answer is no as this man was deceitful in his handling of money. He literally lied about his ability to give.

If you have much money, do not test God by lying about it because you can wind up bankrupt like this man. If you have little money, then give what you can. It was John Wesley who said:

• Make all you can!
• Save all you can!
• Give all you can!

Basically what Wesley was saying is there must be balance in the Christian financial walk. God does not expect you to place your whole pay in the collection plate because He knows there are legitimate living expenses and emergencies which arise. Please keep this principle in mind:

God will never use your money as an instrument to entrap you but He will use it to test your faithfulness to Him.

 

Let us now attend to the words of Scripture which God gives that deal with the subject of giving. We will look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 as our starting point and then we will expand the study to many different verses which detail the dynamic of giving:

(2 Cor 9:6-15 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. {7} Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: {9} (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. {10} Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) {11} Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. {12} For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; {13} Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; {14} And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. {15} Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

We are going to primarily focus on verses 6-8 but I wanted to include the entire context.

Verses 6-8 Contain Three Principles of Godly Giving

Vs 6 - PRINCIPLE OF SOWING
Vs 7 - PRINCIPLE OF ATTITUDE
Vs 8 - PRINCIPLE OF RETURN

 

Vs 6 - Principle of Sowing

Not Health, Wealth, Name it and Claim it
One of the key principles of giving is to realize that it is not health, wealth, name it and claim it. We do not give God $10 and then hold out our hands and expect to get $100. A blessing for giving may not come for years or it may come immediately. We give because we love God and want to send forth the gospel, not to further our own interests. Our responsibility is to be faithful in giving and leave the blessings to God.

 

Bountiful Giving
Another key principle of giving is bountiful giving. If we are to reap bountifully , the we are to sow bountifully. The Greek word in Vs 6 for "bountiful" is "eulogias" or "eulogias" which means "blessings." Literally, it states if you sow blessings you will reap blessings. There is hardly any blessings in being cheap. How many blessings do you gather from cheap people?

 

According to What One Has
(Deu 16:17 KJV) Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

God has set different economic standards for each Christian. One Christian may make one deal and make millions while another one may never make more than $200 per week for their entire life. Why this seeming great imbalance? All I know is that God sets the economic pattern for each Christian with perfect knowledge. The Bible tells us that each Christian is to give according to what God has supplied in your life. God does not expect you to give as much as a millionaire can give.

In other words, if you don't have it to give, God is not forcing you to use your credit card to make a donation. Sometimes the person who has the lesser amount of money gives more. How? A cheap millionaire earns one million dollars per year and gives $10,000 to his church, which equals 1%. The person making $10,000 per year gives $1,000, which equals 10%. So who gave the most? In the eyes of the world, the millionaire but in the eyes of God and in simple mathematics, the person who gave the $1,000. So who sowed the blessings? Let me encourage you who read this. I have several millionaires in my extended family and they don't even want to know my name. They have done nothing to help me send forth the gospel. It was the poor people who helped when needed. Millionaires give to organizations where they can gain control and gain monetary advantage. I have yet to meet one who gives in secret.

 

Scattering
(Prov 11:24 KJV) There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

Scattering is another principle of giving. Many pastors teach that you need to bring your entire giving or just your tithe into the storehouse which they teach is the local church (I will address this later). A better principle of giving is to scatter your giving. The word "scattereth" in our verse simply means to "disperse abroad." Basically this verse is telling us that centralized giving is not the only way to give. God tells us to scatter or divide our giving when their is need in different areas. Remember when I said about the "Where needed most" box on the reply form? Well here is where it can apply. Giving in different areas is as biblical as putting the entire amount in the collection plate, which is not wrong provided your church is dispersing it properly.

You may have $50 to give each week so instead of giving it to one place you may send $20 to missions; $15 to radio ministry; and $15 for your church. You are being biblical because you are dispersing the money for the kingdom. The second part of this verse tells of a person who refuses to give and will end up in poverty. Remember my cheap friend? He ended up in financial poverty. A person who is cheap with the Lord's money is also revealing spiritual poverty. If a person refuses to give to the Lord's work, then they are exuding a certain uselessness in other areas too.

 

Cast upon the Water
(Eccl 11:1 KJV) Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

This verse carries the same principle as proverbs 11:24 but I do not want to focus on that. I want to focus on the verb "Cast" which is a Piel verb which shows an intense or intentional action. Giving should be an intentional and intense action on the part of a Christian. One need not have the gift of giving to send forth the gospel. Giving to God's work should be a budgeted item akin to savings. We should not have the attitude of "oh here comes the plate let me give $5." If that is all you can afford then give it, but if you can afford more, then intentionally budget it to give. When I was out in industry, giving was part of my budget. I learned early in my Christian walk about the benefits of giving.

Let me give you another praise example of how God faithfully keeps His word. Keep in mind the following verse as I tell you this story. (Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

In February of 1998 I was laid off from a $30,000 per year job. My unemployment ran out at the end of August. I obtained a temporary full time job shuttling cars for Avis. My average take home pay is about $180. My car needed about $2,000 worth of repairs on it which included a new engine. Keep in mind I have to live on that small amount so saving any substantial amount is out of the question at this time. I was with another driver at our Cranford, NJ station and spotted a car which was being sold for $1200. The body was in excellent shape and the engine ran well. It had 81,000 miles on it (my old car had 156,500). I told the fellow at the station that if the owner would take $1,000 for it, I would buy it. She took the $1,000 and had a car in decent shape.

God allowed me to lose a good paying job, plus I was now 2 months past my last unemployment check, now with a job paying about 60% of what I was getting on unemployment, and it was at that time that God got me that car. I was able to afford the $1,000 with no problem. Oh, the car was fully loaded! Here is the principle I want to bring forth. If you are faithful in giving, then God is faithful in giving! Learn this well - YOU CAN'T OUTGIVE THE LORD!

 

Secret Giving
(Mat 6:3) But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

Giving just to get a tax deductible receipt is not giving. Giving, no matter how secret, is giving. God sees openly every time you give in secret. There may be people in your own church who need help. They are a mission field too. Some people adopt the idea that if their money is not going to the mission field, then it is not giving. Let me give you a principle to live by. A Christian in your congregation who has financial needs should be just as much a recipient of funds as a missionary organization or church.

I believe God allows certain Christians in a local congregation to have financial needs so it can be a testing ground for others in the congregation to see how they will respond to their needs. (1 John 3:17-18 KJV) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? {18} My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

If you have someone in your congregation that has need and you know about it and have the finances to bring some relief, then do it. You will be blessed by the Lord because the parameters of giving are not rigorously defined in Scripture. In other words-Meet Legitimate Needs when you can but don't advertise it. The desire to advertise your good deed may be a testing ground for you. Pass or Fail?

 

Regular Giving
(1 Cor 16:2 KJV) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Here God tells us that not only should our giving be in secret or intentional but it needs to be a systematic giving. Do not wait till you get some set amount saved to give. You should give on a weekly, monthly, or some methodical fashion. Sometimes if we save to give a large amount, if a bill arises guess which part of the budget will get tapped for it? You guesssssed it, money slated for sending forth of the gospel.

 

Vs 7 - Principle of Attitude

(2 Cor 9:7 KJV) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Not grudgingly
This word literally means "sorrow, sadness, pain of mind or body." If someone has to grudgingly put $10 in the plate, then don't do it. God can make the $5 of the willing giver go farther than the $10 of the grudging giver. If you hate to part with your money, then don't fake altruism in church just to show someone you give. God reads the heart and if giving causes you sorrow, then keep it. God will get it anyway. Did you ever hear of car problems, house problems, medical problems, dental problems, bank failures, stock market crashes or corrections? God can protect the finances of a willing giver but the grudging giver is on his own.

How much do I trust God? Am I willing to commit my funds to His work and His keeping? Or do I think I can do a better job? Ask yourself the question, if I cannot trust God with money then how can I trust Him for eternal salvation? One of the great dynamics of the Christian Faith is the willingness to trust God with all my possessions.

 

Purposeth
The word "purposeth" is a middle voice verb which means "decide." A person who decides can go either way. God expects each Christian to decide in his or her heart to do the right thing. If you purpose to give, then you will give with joy but if you purpose not to give, then just to join the crowd you will give with a grudging or with an unholy spirit toward giving. The decision for giving should have been made way before Sunday rolls around. If you wait till Sunday to see how much you have left over to give, then you are a grudging giver which is an ungodly attitude

 

A Willing Mind
(2 Cor 8:12) For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

The words "willing mind" may also be translated "readiness." We should always have a ready mind when it comes to giving. We need to be ready to respond to those persons or ministries that have need. Notice in this verse God carries a principle from Deuteronomy 16:17. God does not place any unreachable burden on any Christian. He simply expects us to give according to what he has supplied to a person. Let me just reiterate what I said previously, God does not expect us to give on credit or way above what we can afford. If God has you earning a certain amount, then do not give above what you can "joyously" afford or else it may become grudge giving. If all you can afford to give is $5, then give it and do not be ashamed. God can do much with a small offering when given in the right spirit.

Keep in mind what the Lord did with the loaves and fishes. He took a minimal offering and turned it into a massive distribution. He will do this with any small offering. Does $1 sound like a small offering? Sure it does, but World Missionary Press in Indiana can print 25 Bible tracts for that amount. Now give $5 to MP, and you have 125 tracts. Now give $10 to MP and you have 250 tracts. 250 tracts sometimes may be enough to evangelize an entire small village in another country. Still think $10 a month is an ineffective amount to give? Don't let Satan deceive you in thinking that way.

 

Stewardship Requirement
(1 Cor 4:1-2 KJV) Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. {2} Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

One thing we Christians must keep in mind is that we are stewards and not owners. If we owned everything we had then how come we cannot take it with us? Everything we have has been given to us by God and is on loan. This is why I cannot figure out why some Christians are cheap with the Lord's money. They act like it is theirs. As a steward we must keep in mind that we are not owners, we act on behalf of the owner of the goods. If God gives wealth to a Christian, it is not so they can buy a big house with a pool and 2 BMW's (Big Money Wasters). They have it so they can dispense it as there is need.

The problem is that many clergy and church leaders bow the knee to wealthy Christians not realizing that if they are hoarding it or are cheap with it they are in rebellion to God. Rebellion to God is not always visible sin like drinking highballs or 6 packs of beer, it is also being tightfisted with God's money. Let's make a social comparison to illustrate this principle. Can you picture a slave in Roman times taking his master's money and building a big house with 2 gold chariots in the driveway for himself and when the master needed to distribute some money, the slave refusing to do it? Have you ever heard of the chopping block? That slave would be executed in a minute as a rebellious slave. Where do we Christians get off thinking in that same rebellious manner concerning the money God has entrusted to us? Think about it! Maybe this is why God has executed your finances, because you were an unfaithful steward.

 

Gift of Giving
(Rom 12:8 KJV) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.

The person with the gift of giving, lives to give. If a person gives a regular tithe or offering, this does not mean a person has the gift of giving. The one who has the gift of giving seeks opportunities to give. They look for ways to support the gospel. They will even help out brethren who are in dire financial circumstances. Usually those with the gift of giving have the ability to make a good income so they can continue to give. These people also encourage others to put their money in forwarding the gospel. These people are not stingy with God's money since they have been empowered, through their spiritual gift, to give with joy. The word "simplicity" carries with it the meaning of "generosity and purity." In other words, there is pure motive in giving.

 

Faithful in Least
(Luke 16:9-11 KJV) And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. {10} He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. {11} If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Here God makes a simple comparison. If you are too stingy to give money to God's work, then how can God trust you with the words of eternal life. In other words, you will be unfaithful in the ministry. Giving money is the easiest thing to do yet it is the hardest for most Christians to do. If we are too cheap to give to God's work, then how can we expect Him to place us in the ministry? Have you ever had a test like the following which I have faced many times. I have gone into gas stations with my employer's vehicles and filled them up and have requested a receipt. Some attendants have made them out for more than I paid. I could turn them in to my employer and he would never know the difference. That is the principle, unfaithful in little, you will be unfaithful in much. Faithful in little, you will be faithful in much. Do you have young children? Have you taught them to put even a nickel in the plate or maybe only 2 cents. The amount does not matter but they would be in training to be faithful in little, so they can be faithful in much later on.

 

Vs 8 - Principle of Return

(2 Cor 9:8 KJV) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

One thing we can count on is the faithfulness of God in all areas of life and not just finances. There is a principle of return associated with giving. I must tell you that the return may not come when you expect it, rather it may come when you need it or unexpectedly. The following verses will help us look at the principle of return for faithful giving.

 

How Wide Will We Open?
(Psa 81:10-11 KJV) I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. {11} But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.

Remember our opening verse. God will bless according to how much we trust Him with the finances He has entrusted to us. I am not speaking of name it and claim it, rather I am speaking of pure giving motives. If God sees little faith in the area of finances (closed mouth) there will be little blessing. If God sees big faith in the area of finances (wide open mouth) then there will be an abundant blessing. I believe God blesses us according to our attitude of the gift and not toward the amount given. Man looks on the outward but God looks on the inward.

 

Generous Soul Blessed
(Prov 11:25-26 KJV) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. {26} He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.

The word "liberal" carries with it the meaning of "bless." Basically the Bible is saying that the soul that blesses others will be made fat. "Fat" means to be satisfied or anointed. Here is a great principle that when one is faithful in giving or blessing others they shall be satisfied.

(Psa 22:26 KJV) The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

(Psa 37:19 KJV) They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

(Psa 63:5 KJV) My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

As we jump back to our verse Proverbs 11:26. Notice God says that those who withhold will be cursed. Remember my cheap friend? Would you say what happened to him was a curse by God upon his finances and his attitude? I surely would. What about cheap Christians in your church? How well are they loved for their cheapness? There are only 2 kinds of people who like cheap people:

A. Another cheap person

B. Relatives who are in the cheap person's will

 

Will Be Repaid
(Prov 19:17 KJV) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Here is another principle of giving. When we give to the poor, and let us define who the poor is. The poor are those who are unsaved. When we send forth the gospel, we are reaching those who are spiritually poor and if they are God's elect and become saved, then they are rich. God is saying that when we give to His work, we are lending unto the Lord and we will receive blessing at some time in the future. Let me also add that helping those who are poor in material goods of this world is not an unbiblical act unless it begins to siphon off the money intended to send forth the gospel. We are not commanded to feed the poor with physical food but we are commanded to feed the poor spiritual food. The Great Commission is intended to further the gospel but if a meal comes with it, that's okay too.

 

Blessings
(Prov 22:9 KJV) He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

The word "bountiful" carries with it the meaning of "cheerful, good or goodly." The person which makes their goods and money available for the Lord's work shall be blessed. Notice the word "shall" be blessed. There is no getting around it, those who give will be a blessed people.

 

Treated Generously
(Isa 32:8 KJV) But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

The word liberal here means "generous" and carries with it the meaning that those who are generous with the Lord's money, will be treated generously.

 

The Size of the Windows are Proportionate
(Mal 3:10 KJV) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

This verse is the most famous verse in the Bible concerning tithing. I think it is preached on by every preacher in a stewardship message. There is much meat in this verse and I think it behooves us to investigate it.

 

A. Tithes
Many preachers stress tithing as a mandatory part of the believers life. I do not believe this but they are on the right track as the tithe is a great level to begin programmed giving. Before the Sinai law was given there was tithing by two great patriarchs:
 
Jacob
(Gen 28:22 KJV) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
 
Abraham
(Heb 7:2 KJV) To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

So we see that a tithe was given unto God not out of compulsion but because of the love these two patriarchs had for God. It was after the law was given at Sinai that God became specific as to what was to be given and how much as we see in Leviticus 27:32.

(Lev 27:32 KJV) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

Tithing is not commanded under the laws of the New Testament concerning the church, yet, we give because we love God and want to see the gospel spread throughout the whole world. If we give ten percent and stop there while possessing the ability to give more, then we have not grasped the dynamic and blessing filled principle of giving.

 

B. Storehouse
When we look at the storehouse, we see that this is referring to the temple which was the center of worship for Israel. Since there is no more central temple worship akin to that of ancient Israel, we must search the Bible and ask what our temple is and then we will find out what our storehouse is. We read the following:

(1 Cor 3:16 KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

(2 Cor 6:16 KJV) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

(Eph 2:21 KJV) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

We see clearly that the temple in the New Testament refers to the body of Christ, namely the Church. Therefore God is telling us that the church is the storehouse in which we bring our tithes and offerings. Now does this mean the organized, local church is the only storehouse? The answer is no because suppose you belong to a church which does not have a missions program and the offerings only go to upkeep of the facilities and pay salaries. If you sent part of your offering to a missions organization or a godly radio ministry, then in essence you are bringing the offerings into the storehouse, which is the body of Christ. My belief is that a church without a missions program, is a church without purpose.

 

C. Test Me
We must be careful here that we do not misunderstand what these words are teaching. God is not telling us to look at Heaven and with an unholy boldness to challenge Him. Instead, He is giving us a gentle nudge and saying that He wants us to see His faithfulness. God is telling us that if we have enough faith to give to His true work, then we can ask Him to show us how faithful He is. This is the only place in Scripture where the Lord tells us to prove Him and he would not put that in the Bible if He did not want us to.

Here is my personal experience with this verse when it was explained to me about giving. I had just become a Christian and believed that if I did not give massive amounts of money to God's work, then he would do bad things to me because I would be disobedient. I was living in Hackettstown, NJ at the time and I was making a small salary yet I was giving way beyond my means and I was carrying much debt with 19-20% interest rates. My view of God was erroneous. After I told the man who discipled me that I was in strapping debt and giving above my means, he pointed me to the above verse. He counseled me to get out of debt, he said, "The Lord doesn't want you living with all that debt."

I then bowed my head and prayed the verse back to God and "tested Him." If I remember correctly, it was within 2 weeks that I received over $750. When I did not give for a while till I saw my debt reduced and finally coming out of debtors prison, my friend said to me, "See, the Lord didn't throw a lightning bolt at you, did He?" I believe God wants us to have stability in our finances and when we include God in that budget, He will stabilize them. However, keep in mind there will be times of testing and that does not mean God is not keeping His word. He is either preparing you or correcting you for something. Giving to God's work does not guarantee you will become wealthy either. Just give and leave the blessings to God.

 

The Way you Give is the Way you will Receive!
(Luke 6:38 KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Let me give another incident concerning my cheap friend. I remember showing a movie called "God's of the New Age" at my home church where I had just preached the morning message. I put a plate on the table by the refreshments and placed a little message above the plate that all money collected would go to World Missionary Press for tracts to India. My cheap friend dug deep in his pockets and gave 85 cents.

If you are cheap with God, He will be cheap with you. Keep in mind it is not the size of the gift that counts but the attitude. If we give a small amount with an abundant attitude, God will bless accordingly at His discretion. Cheap Christians are not happy Christians. Poor Christians who can only give one dollar joyfully will be blessed above and beyond the cheap Christian who grudgingly gives $10. I believe that when we are cheap and grudgingly throw our money in the plate with the wrong attitude, the money becomes invisible to the eyes of God. (He who has ears to hear)

 
We will Reap what we Sow
(Gal 6:7 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

This verse is a general principle verse but I include it because it applies to finances also. If you sow little, you will reap little. If you sow abundantly, you will reap abundantly. If you plant 10 stalks of corn, you may get 50 ears but if you plant 100 stalks you may get 500 ears. You will reap what you sow and that without crop failure. If you sow cheap, others will be cheap with you and to a greater extent. If you sow in abundance, others will be generous with you. The principle works.

 

No Tax Deductible Receipt?
Sometimes there are personal ministries, whether on the Internet or in person where the person or persons have not set up a non-profit status. Perhaps the ministry is small and may remain that way. If that person begins to struggle and they ask for help, what is your attitude? Will you give if you do not receive a tax-deductible receipt? If you refuse to give because you want that receipt, then you need to check your motives for giving. Since when did the IRS become your benefactor? If a small ministry is faithfully sending out the gospel and you refuse to give unless you get a receipt, then you are showing your trust is in the IRS and not God! God’s principles for giving are not negated by the fact that a receipt is not issued. God can bless much more than the IRS. Tax deductible receipts have been used of Satan to stop many believers from giving to the Lord’s work under the guise of “proper stewardship.” This is false stewardship because the work of the Lord will be hindered unless a receipt is issued. I think it is interesting that we spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year on junk for the house, the lawn, the car, etc., but when a decision has to be made to give a few dollars to a Christian ministry that does not or cannot give receipts, then we close the wallet and say, “Well we want to be able to deduct our contributions because that is wise stewardship.” Then in the same breath they are on the run to the nearest WalMart to buy more personal junk which will be sold at their yard sale in one year. Is that wise stewardship? Christians should not be concerned as to whether they receive a receipt or not, they should be concerned about their faithfulness to the Lord in sending out the Gospel.

Six basic Dynamics which Giving builds into our lives:

1. It teaches us to look beyond ourselves as we see the needs of others.
2. It teaches us we are stewards and not owners.
3. It arrests greed and self-centeredness.
4. It opens the door for a sacrificial life.
5. It teaches us that we can trust God with money which opens the door to trust Him with other things.
6. Obedience.

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