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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

How To Become Generous Givers

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According to Scripture, if the Lord demands that we give up everything and follow Him, we should not worry about the next meal or what we have to wear. God has promised that He will look after all the needs of His children. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

Nonetheless, a great many Christians worry about tomorrow and strive relentlessly to hoard money for themselves. They would sacrifice relationships, godliness, spiritual services, even their own health to hoard more money. To them, the first principle or goal of life is "make money and more money". Their hearts are burning with an insatiable lust for wealth and prosperity.

When it comes to giving to the poor or to the Lord's work, they act as though they have nothing to give. They feel very stressed when they hear a call for generous giving. They would argue in their minds why they cannot afford to give.

There is a great difference between the modern Christians and the early Christians in their attitude towards money. Most Christians of our time are very calculating and hesitant to give sacrificially, whereas most of the early Christians would give sacrificially, even all that they got from selling all that they had.

Is it not amazing that into the treasury of the house of God, "a certain poor widow, ... threw in two mites, which make a farthing", which was "all that she had, even all her living" (Mark 12:42-44)? Have you ever wondered at the faith and devotion of the early Christians who "sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need" (Acts 2:45)? We read of them again, "For as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need" (Acts 4:34-35).

It is possible that we can also be generous givers for the work of the Lord. Now, let me share with you some biblical guidelines that can empower us to be generous givers for the glory of the Lord and for the support of His church.

Remember that all our wealth and possessions belong to God

"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts" (Haggai 2:8). "The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1).

David confessed that he and his people gave generously because they acknowledged that God had blessed them with whatever they possessed. "Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee" (1 Chronicles 29:13-14).

David confessed that he and his people gave generously because they acknowledged that God had blessed them with whatever they possessed. "Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee" (1 Chronicles 29:13-14).

Recognise that giving according to God's will today is more important than securing wealth for tomorrow

We cannot put concern for our assets before the present needs in God's kingdom. Only faithless people and immature Christians will ignore the will of the Lord for us in His work for the sake of their future material prosperity.

God rebuked the Israelites who did not bring their tithes and offerings appropriately and adequately to the temple. He called them robbers. "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings" (Malachi 3:8).

Scripture reminds us that we should never withdraw our hands from helping someone who approaches us with a real need. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee" (Proverbs 3:27- 28). In the Epistle of James, we read, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

So the Apostle Paul urges, "That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate" (1 Timothy 6:18).

When we give, let us not worry about our future needs

Many hesitate to give generously and sacrificially because they worry that if they give, they will not have sufficient funds for their future needs. But Scripture says to us, "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10).

To the Philippian church, which gave abundantly to the ministry, the Apostle Paul assured, "The things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:18-19).

May the Spirit of God direct us to take some of our assets, which we have set aside as investments, and give to the Lord's work. He will prosper you. That is God's business. We are not to worry.

Jesus said, "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" (Luke 6:38).

Our trust in God and love for Him must determine our giving

It is not how much you give that matters; but the attitude of your giving. Second Corinthians 9:7 tells us, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” If we have the right attitude, even a cheerful spirit, then we will not be unwilling to give all that we can.

Pastoral Exhortation