God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. That being said, we know that the church is made up of those imperfect people. It’s unavoidable that the church has historically made some mistakes. What’s important is that we continue to learn from those mistakes…and change.
I feel that one of the most damaging mistakes that’s been made in many churches is about GIVING. I’m not talking about HOW MUCH. I’m talking about WHY?
Too many people have been taught to GIVE SELFISHLY. Too many people have been taught and are being taught to approach God and give carnally. The ‘prosperity’ movement has reduced giving to a selfless act, based on our culture of greed, as a ‘tool’ to get what you want out of life from God. This allows the idolatry (Colossians 3:5) of worshiping oneself to pervert faith. They believe God can do it, but the motivation is wrong.
This actually comes from a biblical truth in the concept of giving when the bible says…
Malachi 3:10-12 (NKJV)
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
Again, this post isn’t about the AMOUNT, but about the WHY. Of course God can and will bless you for giving from the heart, but when they’re honest with themselves…too many people give so they can release the blessings of verses 10 through 12 into THEIR OWN LIVES, “open the windows of heaven”…”pour out a blessing that there will not be room to receive it”, “rebuke the devourer for your sakes”, “all the nations of the world will call you blessed”.
When they’re honest with themselves, many Christians only give so they can get. It is their BLE$$ING bill, their BLE$$ING note…no different than their utility bill, cell phone bill, mortgage, rent, car payment…that if they DON’T give God will cut off their blessings.
They prove this in their behavior. These same people who won’t get caught missing an opportunity to give don’t seem to have a problem with not reading regularly, not praying regularly, not sharing their faith with unbelievers, not being generous beyond what they think is the minimum, not helping those in need, and not even having a regular prayer life.
When we’re honest with ourselves, even when we help others sometimes, we aren’t doing it to be a blessing, but so we can feel good about ourselves, or so others can see what we’ve done. A good example…so many people rush to feed those in need in shelters during Thanksgiving, as if these people don’t need to eat 365 days per year. Jesus clearly tells us that when we do things for our own glory, that we have already received our reward…
Matthew 6:1-2 (NKJV)
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
Does that mean that it’s always wrong to share when you’ve blessed someone? No, because we are told to let our light shine…however God also knows the reason why we shared it.
We must always be honest with ourselves of even why we do good.
God wants us to give unselfishly, wishing for nothing in return. He wants us to give to fund the growth of His Kingdom in the earth. He wants us to give to simply plant seeds of His love. He wants us to give to be A BLESSING and not ONLY TO BE BLESSED.
Look at some of the verses concerning unselfish giving, and think of how infrequently you hear some of them or all of them…
Luke 6:34-35 (NKJV)
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.
2 Corinthians 9:5-15 (NKJV)
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God I sable to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”[b]
10 Now may[c] He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV)
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
1 John 3:17 (NKJV)
17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
There are many more verses where God makes it clear that we should give unselfishly.
Yes, we should always be obedient and give as God told us to do. We should be generous as God told us to be.
But, we must always be honest with ourselves as to why we’re giving or being generous…because He already knows.