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Posts Tagged ‘giving’

At year end there is the usual reflections on the year just past and hope projected to the year upcoming. It has become tradition to lament the failures of the year and try to recall some successes, too. I feel some reflection must also go to what we have given.
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Last week, my pastor, Glenn Feehan, asked me to give the ‘giving nugget;’ to say a little word about giving. I agreed. I then asked the Lord – as has become my practice – what do we talk about in the area of giving?

Immediately springing to mind I thought of several verses of giving. This was not my first time talking about giving and I have studied ‘giving.’ Not relying on my education, I asked GOD and began to listen. How does GOD give? How did He give?

“For GOD so loved this world He gave…”

John 3:16, we see that verse a lot. But have we considered it? Have we thought about it from the stand point of how GOD gives? GOD gives excessively. GOD gives and does not seek anything in return from you other than you being blessed. Interesting.

For GOD so loved this world He gave … GOD gives the same way He loves; without thought of return.

“In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth…” Genesis 1.1

GOD’s idea of giving has been to take something that cost Him, make it useful, and then give it away. GOD created the heavens and the earth. After all of that, He made a place that was pleasurable to Him. He called it Eden [pleasurable, pleasant]. And in the midst of Eden, He made a garden. Then He gave the garden to Man. Do you see GOD’s idea and level of giving?

Out of Himself, universe, Earth, Eden, garden … Man’s.

GOD gives out of His love for us and for this world He created. That kind of love is epitomized by the Greek verb ‘agape’. Most dictionaries of biblical words will define ‘agape’ as the God-kind-of-love; the kind that loves without expecting to be loved in return.

The apostle, Paul, tried to communicate this kind of love too in a letter when he said that they set aside what is in their heart, they should give not out of compulsion, but out of what they purposed to give. You see, the early Church in Jerusalem was being heavily persecuted and they were being ostracized. No one was buying or selling or trading with them. It was a difficult time for them to follow after Jesus. They were being sorely tested for their faith. But GOD did not want the rest of the Church to just give. GOD wanted them to give out of their love for one another. GOD had set the example of giving and wanted them to live it out.

If GOD wanted to be demanding He could be. In Malachi He points out the tithe is Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The tithe pre-dated the Law of Moses but became a requirement under the Law. The tithe is a form of blessing if you let it. If you give out of your love and not out of obligation.

In Genesis we see where it has come time to make an offering to GOD. This is something that Adam and Eve had been doing and now included their sons. Cain came with an offering, but Abel came with an offering that was made up of the best portions. By implication those verses point out that Cain gave out of obedience, that he had better stuff, he just didn’t bring it. Those same verses point out that Abel brought the best portions. This implies Abel took time, made selections, went through preparations, all to bless GOD. Abel’s sacrifice was pleasing, Cain’s was not.

The Law proscribed giving, made it mandatory. Leviticus goes through the many different ways the children of Israel were required to give. Jesus showed it is not the why or how but the heart’s intent that means the most.

Farmers understand seed and sowing. They understand that you plant your seed on purpose and specifically if you want to receive a harvest. In our modern society, most of us are not farmers. We are in our own ‘fields.’ Our jobs, our specialties, are considered our fields. The fruit of our labors may not be in corn, wheat, barley, livestock, or whatever. The fruit of our labor in the USA is the American Greenback. When we give we must give intentionally and on purpose.

In Malachi 3, GOD points out they should bring in the whole tithe that His storehouse might be full. The purpose of the storehouse is to provide for the maintenance of the house, provide for those whose work is the work of the house, and to bless those out of the increase of the house. In the same way the local church is that local storehouse. There are needs to ensure the local house of prayer is maintained well. There are needs to provide for those who labor in the Gospel for the Church’s sake. And there are those that are blessed out of the excess, the increase, the surplus of income into the local church.

The local church building is not the Church, but it is the place where the Church meets, worships, studies, prays, and ministers. There are specific needs that must be met to maintain the building for all of the people attending at that local meeting place for the Church. It is a reality check. Electricity makes the lights work. Water makes the plumbing and drinking fountains work.

The Bible states that those who labor in the Gospel are worthy of double honor. Honor in biblical times and at the writing of the King James English translation meant gifts and support for the person being honored. Now does that mean pastors should be paid double what is normal? No it does not, but is does mean that they should be looked after well. For those who are pastors after GOD’s own heart, the work load is heavy and usually double for pastors. They carry what they must for their own lives and they carry what they must for their flocks. It can be heavy at times. Every effort should be made to maintain those who labor for us in the things of GOD.

The local church is the local storehouse and the local expression of GOD’s provision. Our local church has had the privilege to give to the Frisco Family Services, to special needs, to missions, to strangers who came to the local church with a need. That is being the Church, the local expression of GOD’s goodness.

So, we should give out of our ‘agape’ love. We should give on purpose, intentionally, with some thought and effort put into it. We should give to bless GOD and His house of prayer. We should give to bless those who labor in the Gospel for us, to show them our love and appreciation for them. We should give so we can be the hands that GOD might use to bless others, both locally and internationally.

So, give. Not out of compulsion or obligation or duty or obedience. Give just as you have purposed in your heart … out of your love for GOD, His house, His co-laborers, and His people.

Amen.

©20100221

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Everyone who has been ‘churched’ seems to know Luke 6.38 … give and it will be given unto you … but have you looked at it closely?

 

– Luke 6.27-38 NKJV

27“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28“bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29“To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30“Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33“And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34“And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

37“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

 

– For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

 

Q: What are you giving? Love, peace, generosity, forgiveness, mercy… judgment…

In the same manner, in the same measure that you give, it WILL be given back to you … pressed down, shaken together, overflowing…

 

Q: What are you giving? Trust? Are you giving your trust to God?

 

In Mark 12 we read about the widow and her two mites …

 

– Mark 12.41-44

41And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  42And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  43And he called to him his disciples, and said to them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow has cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

 

The widow gave more than the rich. She gave all she had. She gave her ‘trust’ that God would take care of her, so she gave all to bless God and what God was doing. She knew God would take care of her. She gave her ‘faith’ that God would take care of her.

 

When you give, watch what it is you are giving. If you give out of compulsion, if you give out of religious need, if you give out of putting on a show … you will get what you give … pressed down and shaken together will it be given back to you.

 

But … if you give to bless God, in partnership with God … you give out of your trust, your hope, your confidence … your faith … then God who sees from heaven will bless you … windows will open. It just may come to you, and come to you, and come to you, pressed down and shaken together and overflowing coming to you.

 

Partner with God. Pray and ask … or just do that which God has already put in your heart to do. Bless God and His work. He will go out of His way to bless you. Amen.

 

©20090418 Dr. David J Rogers

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TOAST

Tithe

Offering

Alms

Special Giving

Taxes (Giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s)

Partnership

 

 

I – T.O.A.S.T.

 

            T.O.A.S.T. is the tithe, the offering, the alm, the special giving, and taxes. TOAST is giving out of what GOD has entrusted to you. TOAST is His partnership with you.

            Throughout the Bible we are shown giving. From Cain and Abel’s first offerings in Genesis to the giving according to works in the Revelation of John. The first giving shown in the Bible is not normally considered giving.

 

“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” – Genesis 2.8 KJV

 

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” – Genesis 2.15 KJV

 

            The Lord God created a place that was pleasurable to Him, Eden. In the midst of the place that was pleasurable to God, He made a garden. In the garden, he placed Man, to watch over it and tend it. God gave the garden in the place that was pleasurable to Him to Man. God let Man partner with Him and shared the garden in Eden. This was the first of many partnerships that God desired.

 

            In the parable of the Talents, Jesus showed the Kingdom of God was a trusted partnership.

 

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” – Matthew 25.14~15 KJV

 

            In this trusted partnership, there was the expectation of having to give an account.

 

“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.”

– Matthew 25.19 KJV

 

            In the kingdom, God seeks partnership. God tested the hearts of Man with whether they would partner with Him. His next partner was Noah, then Abram/Abraham.

Abram heard God and obeyed.

 

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him:…” – Genesis 12.1~4a

 

II – Tithe

 

Abram did as the Lord God commanded. While wandering through Canaan, his nephew became a prison-of-war, a spoil-of-war. Abram went after his nephew. When he returned, Abram took a tenth of all and gave it to God as a gift through the priest of God.

 

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

– Genesis 14.18~20 KJV

 

The word tithe comes from the Anglo-Saxon word teóthe, meaning the tenth part. The word in the Bible is the Hebrew word ma’asrâh, meaning tenth. It referred to a tenth of your increase. Genesis 14 is the first note in the Bible of one tenth of the increase being given to GOD via his priest. 

 

In Genesis 28, Jacob makes a vow unto GOD.

 

“…If GOD will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God; …and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” – Genesis 28.20~22 KJV

 

And, GOD blessed Jacob. He followed a pattern set by his grandfather, Abraham. Jacob partnered with God.

 

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD‘s; it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.” -Leviticus 27:30-32 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.”

-Malachi 3:10 KJV

 

Hebrews 7:1-19 covers the tithe now being received by a more permanent high priest, Jesus Christ. The tithe is still received and used.

 

“For this Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high GOD, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 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; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, no end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham; but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedek met him. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law, ) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedek and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. for it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of the carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. – Hebrews 7:1-19 KJV

 

The tithe is for His storehouse. The word store means to collect against a future use. The storehouse would be the place where those things collected would be stored. The storehouse would be for local use. The local church is now that storehouse. The local church is there to support the community. The local church is the storehouse in your community. The tithe is brought to the local storehouse, the local church, to feed and support the local community. It is there to give GOD goods, services, and currency to meet the needs in the local community. Therefore, your tithe should be paid to the local church wherein you attend. Bring your tithe, the whole tithe, to your local church that GOD might use it to feed the needs in your community and beyond.

 

III – Offering

 

            The offering was / is a gift to God out of what you have. An offering is separate from the tithe. An offering is something, whether goods, services, or currency, that you have set aside or dedicated to give to someone else as unto God. You are not looking to receive anything in return from the recipient. It is a free-will gift to them. In older days, when an offering was made it cost the giver something. The offering or gift was considered to be completely given over to GOD. Usually, the offering was delivered as a sacrifice on an alter and consumed by fire. When you give, decide in your own heart what you will give and release it to GOD and to the purpose you are giving it.

 

“Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness abides forever. Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7-11 NASB

 

“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour in to your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” – Luke 6:30-38 NASB

 

“Jesus speaking to the rich young ruler: One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” – Mark 10:21 NASB

 

“Jesus speaking to his disciples: Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he shall receive a hundredfold times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” – Mark 10:29-30 NASB

 

If you decide to give all of your possessions to GOD that does not mean you have to become a hermit or homeless. You can become a steward of all that GOD puts in your hands to do and oversee. Simon Peter gave up everything to follow Jesus, but he still had his wife and he still had the tools of the fishing trade. So let each one of you do just as you have purposed in your heart and give as GOD shows you the needs to be met. In the first century Church, the Bible says they had all things in common. If they saw a need in the church, they met it. They gave it as an offering to GOD. 

 

IV – Alms

 

Alms are gifts to the poor. Those that are in need do not care about bigger issues in life. They are interested in getting through that day. Like the widow with her two mites of money, they are looking for real assistance from a real God. The people of God who are partners with God can easily be that answer.

 

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.” – Proverbs 19:17 NKJV

 

“For the poor you have with you always.” – John 12:7 NKJV

 

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” – Acts 4:32 NKJV 

 

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘LORD, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see you a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

– Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV

 

“Pure and undefiled religion before GOD and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

– James 1:20 NKJV

 

            Alms is your opportunity to show the love of God substantially through giving of things, substance, shelter, currency, or just plain human kindness. People who are in need want more than just stuff. They also want to know somebody really cares. You can show them that in the sharing of alms.

 

V – Special Giving

 

            Moses, David, and Solomon asked for special giving when they went to build the Tabernacle and the Temple. And, the people gave abundantly of their gold, silver, and other precious things. Paul asked of the Church in Corinth.

 

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2Upon 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. 3And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.” -1 Corinthians 16.1~3 KJV

           

           

 

VI – Taxes

 

            Taxes are those things due to the government. There was even a government in Biblical times. These funds help to provide for the maintenance of the government and services that the government provides. Jesus even paid taxes and accepted that as due process for government.

 

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”

– Matthew 12.17 KJV

 

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”

– Matthew 17.24~27 KJV

 

            The paying of taxes, or tribute as stated in the New Testament, allows for the functioning of government. And, since you are partners with God, it allows God to partner with you in the government. Paul, while in Rome, wrote that the Church and Christians should be submitted to the government and pay what is due to the government.

 

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God:  the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” – Romans 13.1~7 KJV

 

VII – Partnership / T.O.A.S.T. Your Money

 

            God said we were made in His image and likeness. God said we are to rule and reign with Him, and that through Christ Jesus. Those not born descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are adopted into His family and all those blessings through Christ Jesus. God sent His only begotten son, Jesus, that there might be peace between Him and His children. If God went to such extremes to repair the breech that was between Him and us, would it not also follow that the same covenants and relationship He had with Adam and has with Jesus is also ours? Yes, it is so. God partnered with Adam. God partnered with Noah. God partnered with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel. God partnered with Moses, His friend. God partnered with Joshua. God partnered with David. God partnered with Solomon. God kept showing us through history that He is willing to and wants to partner with us. Are we willing to partner with Him?

            The fruits of our increase are the evidence, the bi-product, of partnership and blessings. Those that partner with God have the tendency to all ways have something better happen to them. More people are blessed because Man partners with God in the things that God is doing. He has already said through Jesus, no less, that if we partner with Him and are faithful over a few things He will promote us knowing we will be faithful over many things.

            TOASTing your money, your time, your efforts, your talents, your fruits of your increase will allow God to partner with you in larger and larger ways. The first place to start that partnership is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Accept the cross. Ask Jesus to forgive your past; your sins, your everything. Lay aside everything that so easily besets you and press on toward the upward call of God in Christ. Then take whatever you have and begin to TOAST your money, your time, your talent, your everything. Partner with God and let God show you what the possibilities are.

© 2007 Dr. David J. Rogers

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