A SCRIPTURAL BASIS REGARDING GIVING
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If you want to experience anger, dissonance, or heated theological debate
this is the topic to broach. Giving is the bread and butter of ministry.
It is support for a man and his message. It is the financing of the
Gospel to world. It is the support of both the local church missionary
outreaches. Because men and women go forth with good intentions and
have devoted a large part of their lives to preparing for "ministry"
they proceed believing that they are now prepared to live by the Gospel.
"The Lord hath ordained that those preach the Gospel should
live of the Gospel." (1Corinthians 9:14)
The concept of the clergy, professional ministry is a well establish
and unquestioned paradigm. (See
the power of paradigms.) The concept of Ministry has been
traditionally connected to career or occupation. The concept of clergy
as a professional career extends into the dim past of Christendom. The
traditional church operates in accord with, and is enabled because of
the professional clergy concept. The question of institutionally
accredited, "professional ministry" appointed to churches
and church giving is something that I believe each of us has to examine
in light of Scripture and draw our best personal conclusion in the light
of the Word. It is not my desire to subvert a system that you may believe
in for your own best reasons, but rather to encourage each person to
strive to know God as fully as possible and to experience the potential
of Christ's Gospel, even if it means setting aside certain long held
traditions. Every person should support the Kingdom of God as
we judge it to be best expressed. We need to see the life of
God as a Divine promise and a human potentiality. We need to see ministers
bringing others into this potentiality. Once that criterion is met,
we can go on to other matters concerning Giving. It is not my desire
to subvert a system that you may believe in for your own best reasons,
but rather to encourage each person to strive to know God as fully
as possible and to experience the potential written of in the Gospel,
even if it means setting aside certain long- held traditions. Every
person should support the Kingdom of God as we see it best expressed.
We need to see the life of God as a potentiality and the people who
minister bringing others into it. Once that criterion is met, we can
go on to other matters concerning Giving.
Giving: Giving & Sharing is
Blessed by God
There should be no laws (rules) for giving in the Kingdom of God. God
has set us free from rules including rules about giving. Giving is good.
Giving supports the man of God and also supports people who are not
necessarily "ministers" of churches but who God wishes to
bless through us. Various kinds of worldly commitments which touch upon
the Kingdom of God need support, whether it be church buildings, outreach
expenses, travel or any of a wide variety of needs which can only be
met by others sharing the cost. God wants his will to be done through
selfless sharing and contributions of money resources. Yet we need to
be able to hear God leading us in these gifts so that it is truly a
work of God for the Gospel sake and not just a worthy cause or charity.
Jesus recommends that those who follow him "give to the poor, and
you will have treasure in heaven." So, it would seem that giving
to the poor is following God's intentions in the gospel.
basic principles identified on the pages of the Bible shed light on
the subject of giving.
It is more blessed to Give than to receive
Give and it shall be given unto you
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven
Those who give to the poor lend to God
The Tithe is the Lord's - (Old covenant principle)
In the measure you give it shall be given to you
Sow sparingly, reap sparingly
Give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven
Give as you purpose in your heart,
Let no one give out of obligation
God loves a cheerful giver
above scriptures are a few of many references to money and giving as
introduced in the Bible. With so many ministries eager to received our
contribution it is a challenge to be able to discern who God wants us
to support among the ministries or servants of God. But I believe we
would miss God if we only gave to ministry professionals and not to
individuals and especially the poor. God love is about giving. Ministry
is about sharing. Koinonia is also about mutual support. This whole
world thrives in the light of a generous heart. "God so loved
the world that he gave -" "God so loved the world that
he gave -"
Christians who have a reborn, redeemed nature do not resist giving
and sharing. The unredeemed do not want to let go of anything. The world
tends to think that their own well being and survival are threatened
by releasing necessary assets and resources. Believers know that when
they give they are really investing in the lives of others and that
returns are certain to come back to them, either now or later.
The doctrine of the tithe (a tenth of one's increase) is taught
in churches often not just as a principle but as an obligation (law).
Very few congregations actually enforce the giving of tithes by recording
all receipts and maintaining scrupulous records of the income although
some come very close to this. Mostly what we hear is teaching which
explains that tithing is a practice pre-dating the Christian era and
the era of law. We find Abraham tithing before the era of law in the
Book of Genesis. Thus with Abraham giving to Melchisedek we have in
typology giving all Christians should wish to embrace, which is giving
as unto the Lord, an eternal king and high priest like unto God.
The Book of Malachi is used by those who teach the obligation of giving
to the local church house. It argues the storehouse is the place where
you are fed (spiritual speaking.) This passage remind's us of God's
displeasure at those who withhold the tithe. God calls it robbing Him.
"The Tithe is mine," says the Lord, therefore to withhold
it is to rob him.
describes the "storehouse" where we are supposed to bring
our tithe to God. Pastors love to teach that the storehouse is the local
church, where all of the sheep are fed. Remember that under the law
the Levites only lived through the use of tithing. They were those apointed
to minister as God's ordained priesthood were sustained by the rest
of the tribes of Israel.
With the ascension of Jesus Christ
into the heavenly temple of God it is my belief that the nature of the
storehouse has changed as radically as the priesthood.
At this time in the church age dispensation, the people of God are supported
and fed by natural bread nor by the lambs and oxen of sacrifices once
given up to the Levites. Now we are a different priesthood before God;
we give spiritual sacrifices unto Christ who is now King and High Priest
over all. (Read Hebrews which explains the transition from the old
covenant to the new.)
us in the church age, this model has some problems associated with it:
Is God there?
Is his presence manifested?
Is His Word being taught?
Is the Spiritual life demonstrated as a reality and made accessible?
Are the needs of the poor and needy being met?
Are other important voices for the Kingdom of God being supported, such
as those who also edify us individually through gifts of the Holy Spirit?
where do these blessings flow? From a heavenly place. Unto whom are
our sacrifices given? To God in heaven. What is the sacrifice? It is
the sacrifice of our lips; both praise and thanks giving. Who is the
overseer who watches over our gifts and measures a blessing today and
in the time to come? It is Jesus The Great High Priest who accounts
for those things given in his name, whether money in a church collection
plate or food to a hungry child, or a visit to an invalid or a drink
to a thirsty man, or a visit to a person sick and alone in a hospital.
God sees every act done and the motive of every heart in which that
gift is bestowed. God loves a cheerful giver. The motive of the heart
touches faith. We know that Jesus sees our love and kindness to another
in need. Giving as one giving to God that is faith. We know that he
will also meet any of our needs in a time of lack because we did not
withhold to others. We do not give out of obligation. We are not debtors
to the law. We are free to give because God is a giver. Giving is sowing
seeds. We sow bounteously we expect to reap bounteously. We expect something
to come from our planting. Sower of seeds also believe in the crop which
will come at harvest time. This is surely a part of giving to the Kingdom
of God. God will meet our needs at a future time because we have planted.
God stores up treasure for another day in a heavenly place, because
we have given.
as an Act of Worship
The giving of tithes is not just a simple token gift placed in an offering
plate or bag. Tithing in the scriptural sense relates to act of worship
in presenting the "tithe" to God. We find the act
described in Deuteronomy Chapter 26. "Therefore
it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine
enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee
for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance
of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it." "And
it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy
God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possesses it, and dwellest therein;"
(- 26:1-) "That thou shalt take of the first of all the
fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD
thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto
the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there."
(- Deuteronomy 26:2-15) Note this is during the dispensation
of The LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD.
Abraham gave a tithe to Melchisedek the King Of Salem two thousand years
before the Church age and prior to the Age of the Law. This tithe prefigures
the law of commandments, giving, as it were, to the King of Heaven who
exists outside of geneology forever. We give as unto him. Jesus abides
forever, as the high priest Melchisedek.
Now regarding tithing as worship, it is not my desire that you should
memorize a ritual it to recite as a rite. But it is good to have a sense
of the understanding noted in the Levitus 26 text.
The giving of such a gift or tithe should be something which touches
our own understanding of our previous "captivity" and God's
hand at work to take us out of that place of bondage and oppression,
want and sorrow. The spiritual life acknowledges that we were also taken
out of bondage. It is a faithful saying which needs to be spoken. Notice
that all of this tithing worship is spoken to God in the place which
has His name written upon it. Today we are redeemed and the house of
God is not a special place it is the human house where the spirit resides.
The tithing worship reminds us of God's covenant with us and how he
is taking further towards strength, blessing and victorious living.
Speaking these things tells God that we know what he has done for us
and that we are truly thankful that he knows and remembers us each and
that he will continue to be with us supplying good things.
The past several years has seen a great emphasis on the Prosperity message.
Poverty and lack are seen as a curse throughout scripture. God does
want us without provision. The redemption from the curse of the law
also freed us want and lack. We believe that "God shall supply
all of our needs according to his riches in Glory by Christ Jesus."
In gaging any matter of doctrine we have to hold it up not only to common
sense and scripture but to discerning what the spiritual life needs
to be. Though we should not lack nor want, God wants more of us and
not less of us. Therefore anything which takes our focus away from God
and places it upon unfruitful things, those things which only decay,
is really a stumbling block for a believer. Those who preach riches
and wealth are leading people away from intimacy unless they are able
to handle wealth and prosperity more graciously than I. Many are able
to assume possessions of wealth and money and property without being
seduced away from God's presence. But sometimes the aware of the futility
and the emptiness of wealth comes too late when are already victimized
by excesses, this was the case of the writer of Ecclesiastes, Solomon
who realized late in life that with wealth comes other griefs and spareness
of the soul. Gain is not Godliness, the apostle writes in 1Timothy 6:5,
withdraw yourselves from such doctrines. but Godliness with contentment
is great gain, (1Timothy 6:6) God wishes to supply our needs, to
bless us in our going out and our coming in to make us fruitful in body
and in all of the pursuits of our life. (Deuteronomy 28:3-6)
doctrine of prosperity has blessing connected to it to be sure;
but the negative side of it is its link to selfish motives both in the
giver and the receiver. Many who preach the prosperity message are in
a position to directly benefit by the unrestrained giving that is encouraged
in sermons and in seminars. Some of those who preach the doctrine exceed
the Word of God by suggesting that gifts given to their own ministries
have the greatest return connected to them. Of course faith is infused
into the process to insure a greater degree of return, thirty, sixty
or one hundred fold according to scripture as is described and taught
as a consequence of giving. (There is greater insight in the 30, 60
and hundred fold metaphor than mere cash and assets. The prospering
of the soul is accounted above all, in Spiritual richness.) Giving,
according to Jesus, should not be in the manner of the Pharisees who
"sound a trumpet" to give notice that they are doing an alms
deed. Jesus teaches to give in secret and for the left hand not to see
what the right hand does. All of these teachings address anonymous giving
rather than a public display in which people are applauding the giver
for his excellent generosity. The Lord says of such people, they receive
their reward by the act of receiving public acclaim and applause. It
is far better to give when only the Father who sees in secret knows.
He will be the one who insures a return in the best possible time. Any
man or woman can give or contribute in any 'kind' or commodity. One
can give a gift of service another a gift of a song. Another a gift
of kindness. The same principle applies when the motive is right, God
who is the author and overseer of every good and perfect gift knows
when our giving is free from self exaltation. He will insure the return.
description of Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship,
the cornerstone of a Christian life
Gospel Without Religion
E Book 2:
E Book 3:
in the Bible Index
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
Understanding Home Fellowships
Frank Viola Interviews a typical church-goer
of Open Church)
"Rethinking the Wineskin"
all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles