How Should We Give?
1. In Tithes – “Bring the whole tithe into the store house, that there may be food in my house” (Malachi 3:8). This is not an old testament notion. The King, still in reference to tithes and offering said “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
2. In offerings – “No one should appear before me empty handed” (Exodus 23:15 and Exodus 34:20). Royal protocol demands that we appear before the King with a gift.
3. At the behest of the King – He owns all. Our ability to give is highly correlated to our revelation of the King’s lordship.
4. Just because – It is the way of royalty. We bring to the King of kings what is worthy of Him – in “worth – ship”.
5. To the poor and those in need – “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19:17). And The King of kings will be indebted to no one.
6. To Parents, Biological and In the Lord – “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you”. Honouring our parents is not limited to respect. Honour includes giving out our substance to them.
7. To the righteous – “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward”. (Matthew 10:42)
8. To anyone who asks – “Give to everyone who asks you…” (Luke 6:30).
Why We Don’t Give
The Bible highlights many consequences of not giving. God talks about being cursed with a curse, He implies not rebuking the devourer and He talked about the goats on judgement day going into eternal burning, because they refused to look after the poor.
This however does not seem to resonate much. Statistics highlight that around 18% of the church regularly pay tithes. That Christians on average give 2.5% of their income in tithes and offering. 33% -50% of church members give nothing what so ever.
There are 2 core reasons we do not give:
One being we do not believe God and we come up with excuses to justify our disbelief. Excuses such as tithing being an Old Testament idea, or that we don’t pay tithes and still “doing well” financially, or that God will understand that we cannot afford to tithe or that there is safety in numbers – after all the majority of the church does not tithe. The bottom line is that we appear to pick and choose what to believe of God’s word, based on convenience and circumstance. So we believe those things that appear convenient and justify our disbelief of those we consider inconvenient.
The second reason is that we do believe God but struggle to comply with His word. We struggle to change when the change we desire clashes with a core belief we already hold. As such, in order to change, we do not work on our actions and but rather on our thinking. This is why Christ did not call us to change our actions, but He repeatedly asked us to “Repent”. To repent is to revise, revisit and renew our thinking. Let us explore the core beliefs we have that hinder our giving:
1. The Ownership Paradigm – somewhere along the line, we have confused possession with ownership. Because we (erroneously) believe we own what we possess, we have the idea that by giving, we are doing God or the church a favour. The truth is, we give or not, God will build His church because everything that happens in creation is but the unfurling of His will. The question is – do we want to be part of it or not?
2. God or money (Who is master?) – Christ said we can only have one of two masters – God or money. Devil, demons, idols did not even make this list, implying that money has a stronger hold than these. Most of us will conclude that we don’t serve money as we neither pray to it nor worship it. However a closer look at our actions may paint a different picture:
• The boss gives us a right telling off at work, but we return to work promptly the next day, eager not to offend further because the boss can fire us and cut off our perceived source of money. However should the same happen in church, no one will see us for weeks, until emissaries are sent to cajole us back;
• We leave the church in a huff because someone looked at us funny, spoke to us funny or bruised our fragile egos. But eschew all of that when it comes to earning or making money;
• We often give the excuse of work for church/God (i.e cannot come to church because got to work) but rarely vice versa;
• We do all we can to pay mortgage, car note, loans and credit card bills to protect our credit rating (perceived access to more money) but play fast and loose with tithes and offerings
Who really is master?
3. God’s Economy – we assume God is a capitalist and seek Him to in order to bless me, myself and I. However the God’s economy operates on a commonwealth, where everyone jointly enjoys the largesse of the King. The commonwealth economy operates by God requesting the release of resources he has kept in the possession of one, to be released to another. We however often disrupt this economic system by refusing to release resources.
4. Understanding natural and supernatural laws – Natural law are those laws that apply to the terrain of earth. Supernatural laws are those laws that exceed the natural. The are key differences between natural and supernatural law:
• Natural law applies to earth (Supernatural law applies to heaven and earth)
• Natural law requires we navigate the planet using 5 senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch (We navigate the supernatural with 2 senses – faith and discernment)
• Natural laws are precise, concise and repeatable (Supernatural laws are repeatable but relational)
• Natural law applies to our physical concerns (Supernatural applies to our soul)
• Under natural law we get to increase. (Under supernatural law we give to increase -“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” – Luke 6:38)
However, we often try to get supernatural results by applying natural law. For instance we may refuse to give because we conclude (based on natural law) that we may not have enough left, but at the same time expect to increase. Natural law dictates that 2 plus 2 is 4. However supernatural law has demonstrated that 5 loaves plus 2 fish is greater than 5,000, with a remainder of 12.
Why the King is Lord
In concluding, let us explore why the King is Lord (Owner). He is Lord because
1. He is owns all in creation. He created creation – Genesis 2:4
2. He designed the operation of creation – Genesis 2:5
3. He made a piece of the Master, a masterpiece he called Man – Genesis 2:7
4. He beautified creation – Genesis 2:8
5. He enriched creation – Genesis 2:9
6. He perfected creation – Genesis 2:15
7. He sustains His masterpiece – Genesis 2:16
8. He gave His las to His masterpiece – Genesis 2:17
9. He expanded His masterpiece – Genesis 2:18
10. He made His masterpiece a ruler- Genesis 2:19
11. He upgraded His masterpiece – Genesis 2:22