2001-12-13 - The Other Side of the Coin
2 Cor 9:6-7 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. (NAS)
Last week we discussed pressure to tithe from a human source. During the last week I received three letters, one of which was a beautiful testimonial to God's faithfulness, regarding tithing. The pressure in these cases was from the Holy Spirit. These believers were being led by the Holy Spirit to trust God to provide for them materially. Their situation was such that tithing to the level that they felt they were being directed to would actually leave them financially short.
In each case as they followed the leading of the Spirit and trusted God, there was a raise, or an unexpected sum of money that came to them. Some folks will scoff and say it is just coincidence. If a man will refuse to open his eyes and see the provision of God before him, pray for him. He is in far greater need than someone who goes without a meal. In each situation, God blessed the family or individual as they trusted His leading to give to their local church or charity.
Will this always happen? There may be times when God is asking us to do without one meal a week and pass that money along to the missions fund. This is a form of sacrificial giving. It is often a very private and unseen matter. But what is done in secret for the Kingdon of God will be heralded in Heaven.
So, what I'm saying is this. There are times when there will be human pressure to give when you simply do not have the money to do so. Could God be using a sermon, or a friend, or a guest speaker to lead you to reach beyond your means so that He may bless you in trusting Him to provide? Certainly! God is in control of everything. But test the spirit that leads you to give. If it is the Holy Spirit, this could be a test of your faith so that you can see it growing.
One last thought is that God loves a cheerful giver. The word cheerful is where we get the word hilarious. Does this mean that if it pains you to give that you should stop giving altogether? I would rather say to first check your heart. Check for gratitude for the things you have: clothes, heat, food, family. If you have enough, then be thankful for them and be thankful for the chance to provide to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are in need yourself, then consider your situation. If God leads you to continue giving, look for alternatives to getting clothing and shelter. Don't be too proud to bless someone who wants to give you a piece of clothing that you need. Being gracious and truely thankful will repay the giver 100 times over. Ask your Pastor, Elder or a trusted friend for ideas. If there are no ideas and there is no end in sight for the financial struggle, God knows that too. It is at this point that you must pray and ask for guidance. It is then that the alternate forms of giving discussed last week may be best for you. Or, it may be time for you to be the beneficiary for a time.
Lord Jesus, teach us to be thankful for all the many things You do for us. Give us eyes to see Your provision and hearts filled with grace, peace and joy at the opportunity to give to Your outreach to a lost and dying world. Amen.
Grace & Peace,