Martin Luther once said:
“People go through three conversions in their Christian faith: their head, their heart, and their pocketbook – unfortunately, not all at the same time!”
However, there is a definite progression for those who seek the Lord and honor him with their giving.
Several years ago, my fine wife Bev and I conducted a weekend seminar at the Church For All Nations in Porte Alegre, Brazil.
The church meets in a movie theater and the stage is five feet above the auditorium floor. The Friday night service was fabulous. . .people were set free from the bondage of debt and lack. There was weeping and shouting. . .it was awesome.
We didn’t think it could get any better. . .until Saturday night.
As I began speaking people spontaneously started walking and then running to the stage where they began laying and throwing money and other valuables at my feet.
I stopped preaching and started laying hands on each person and spoke a blessing over them.
An inertia of spirit-led giving erupted in the meeting. . .with people laying money, ties, cologne, watches, rings, bracelets at my feet.
This financial move of God. . .lasted for over one hour. I’ve been in meetings where people would bring money to the stage. . .but I had never experienced anything like this.
The folks in this church. . .had been taught the importance of honor and blessing those who teach you the word. These believers understood and practiced the importance of giving.
Today, we’re going to discuss the kinds of scriptural givers we find in the scriptures.
First, a reverent giver.
Deuteronomy 14:23 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And you shall eat before the Lord your God in the place in which He will cause His Name [and Presence] to dwell the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and your flock, that you may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord your God always.”
When we reverently fear the Lord. . .we will always put Him first. By doing so, we will give when He says give. . .we will also give what and where He says to give.
Disobeying God’s divine instructions would never be an option for a reverent giver because of the scriptural priorities we assign to our lives.
Deuteronomy 14:23 in The Living Bible concludes by saying:
“. . . The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.”
A reverent giver always puts God first in their lives.
Second, a systematical giver.
There is an amazing progression found in Proverbs 3:9-10 in the Amplified Bible which says:
9 “Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency [from righteous labors] and with the firstfruits of all your income;
10 So shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats shall be overflowing with new wine.”
Proverbs 3:9 in the Message Bible says:
“Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best.”
The scripture says that we HONOR the Lord. . .when we give Him our best.
The firstfruits represents the best part of everything we produce. . .the first is the tithe. We HONOR THE LORD when we tithe and when it’s the first thing that we give. But that’s the subject of another teaching.
Now, it’s important to understand that the phrase “yours, mine and ours” does not apply when it comes to giving God what is His. The truth of the matter is that everything we have or think we own. . .belongs to Him.
As I’ve said so many times before, we own nothing in this life but we get to manage everything. We are blessed indeed.
When we finally realize that everything we own belongs to Him, it makes our giving much easier and certainly more joyful. We don’t own it anyway. If He wants to use some of it for the Kingdom, He has every right to do so.
However, God doesn’t want all you have. . .He just wants your best.
What is your best offering? Truthfully, that’s determined every time He tells you to give.
Your best in one offering may not be your best in the next. That’s why we should seek His direction every time there is an offering and listen to what He says. Determine what He would have you give as your best seed at that moment.
It’s also important to understand that the best offering is not a set amount. . .it’s whatever He says, whenever He says it and to whomever He tells us to give.
In reading these two scriptures, it’s very clear that God wants our best gifts. He does not want to be tipped . . .He does not want to be patronized with less than the best.
3. An expectant giver.
An expectant giver knows that when we obey God’s instructions and directions we will experience supernatural increase. It’s not a matter of if. . .but when and the how. . .can be, however, God choses.
An expectant giver knows. . .beyond a shadow of a doubt. . .that God will always provide a way.
1 Kings 17:2-9 in the Amplified Bible says:
“2 And the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
3 Go from here and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan.
4 You shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.
5 So he did according to the word of the Lord; he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook.
7 After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land.
8 And the word of the Lord came to him:
9 Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
No matter where he was nor the circumstances with which he was dealing. . .Elijah expected God to provide a way. . .where it seemed there was no way.
4. A cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 in the King James Bibles says:
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
According to Strong’s Concordance, cheerful is the Greek word hilaros which means: “cheerful, joyous, prompt to do anything” and it only appears in the New Testament one time.
The English word hilarious comes from this word and the implication is that we are to be very joyful givers. Now let’s look at the Amplified Bible translation of 2 Corinthians 9:7 which says:
“Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving].”
God created you to be an agent of free will. . .meaning you have a choice to obey or not obey. The spiritual benefits of tithing and giving cheerfully should make you smile . . . BIG TIME.
Every believer should become hilariously happy when they realize the incredible benefits that giving tithes and offerings bring.
I had a former Pastor who used to say that God loves a cheerful giver but He will take it from a grouch. There was a time I liked it because it was a funny statement until I realized, it is in fact, scripturally inaccurate.
The scripture says that God loves a cheerful, hilarious, joyous, prompt to do it giver. So if you’re not happy in your giving . . . then you’ve got to know that God isn’t into your giving either.
In other words, if He “…He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving]”. . .then anything else doesn’t make Him happy..
Make no mistake about it. . .the local church, the ministry or non-profit organizations may take your money and be happy about it. . .but it may not be pleasing to God.
Truthfully, I’m much more interested and motivated about how God looks on my giving than I am about my personal feelings because my flesh will always offer a ready excuse.
Do you want God to take pleasure in you?
Do you want God to prize you about all things?
Do you want God to never abandon you?
Then your answer is clear. . .be a cheerful, even hilarious giver . . . prompt to give what He says to give.
Some years back, I remember seeing a cartoon of a man standing in a baptismal tank about to be baptized. As he was about to be lowered into the water. . .he took his wallet out of his pants and held it straight up above his submersed body. He was ready to baptized but he wasn’t ready to sanctify his money.
By the same token, I know people who made a point to have their wallets baptized with them.
5. A blessed giver.
1 Corinthians 16:2 in the Amplified Bible says:
“On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come.”
Now let’s read 1 Corinthians 16:1 in The Living Bible which says:
“Now here are the directions about the money you are collecting to send to the Christians in Jerusalem; (and, by the way, these are the same directions I gave to the churches in Galatia).”
Even though the Apostle Paul is talking about taking up offerings for the church in Jerusalem there is an important giving principle at work in this scripture.
1 Corinthians 16:2 in The Living Bible says:
“On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.”
As I began to search the scriptures. . .I found Exodus 34:20 in the King James Version as a confirming verse when it says:
“. . . And none shall appear before me empty.”
The Living Bible translation of Exodus 34:20 says:
“. . .No one shall appear before me without a gift.”
Exodus 34:20 in the Message Bible says:
“. . . “No one is to show up in my presence empty-handed.”
God not only tells us what to give. . .He tells us when to give.
6. A faithful giver.
1 Corinthians 4:2 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Moreover, it is [essentially] required of stewards that a man should be found faithful [proving himself worthy of trust].”
If you do not understand “stewardship,” you can’t understand the Christian life and how to walk effectively in God’s divine provision for you.
The simple definition of steward is someone who manages someone else’s property. However, I think we need to dig a little deeper. The Greek word for “steward” is G3623 and according to the Strong’s Concordance it means:
“the manager of household or of household affairs; especially a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age”
What kind of manger are you?
Make no mistake . . . God is not looking for any below-average or even average stewards among His children. He’s looking for believers who understand and practice faithfulness, integrity and excellence.
The New Living Translation of 1 Corinthians 4:2 says: “Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.”
The Greek word for faithful is defined as:
“persons who show themselves [diligent] in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties.” And it comes from a root word that means “to make friends of, to win one's favor, gain one's good will, or to seek to win one, strive to please one.”
Your faithfulness. . .your commitment to excellence. . .your stewardship of what God has given to you determines your future blessings.
7. A generous giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6 in the Amplified Bible says:
“[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings.”
Simply said, the proportion with which you sow. . .is the proportion to which you will reap.
The Living Bible Translation of 2 Corinthians 9:6 says:
“But remember this—if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.”
Now let me also point out that “little” and “much” is relative to what you have.
For a single mother, working two jobs just to make ends meet. . .twenty dollars may be a significant seed. However, for someone who has a six-figure income $20 is not significant at all.
Luke 21:3-5 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And He saw also a poor widow putting in two mites (copper coins). And He said, Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; For they all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but she has contributed out of her lack and her want, putting in all that she had on which to live.”
The significance of your seed is based on what you have left after you’ve sown the seed.
Also, remember 2 Corinthians 9:11 in the New Living Translation which says:
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. . .”
Once again, the scripture says “YOU WILL be enriched in every way.”
God’s promise to you.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS