Christians and Giving (Part Two)

Frank was talking the other day about the “happy” church that he attends on occasion. They were participating in a faith promise campaign, beginning in giving out forms to complete: “for their faith promise commitment that requires the following information: name, address, total income, phone number, % of increase of last years giving, and the option to drop the donation in the offering plates or letting the church take the giving directly out of the giver’s checking account.”

Beside the fact that it seems they are breaking rules of confidentiality and some human rights as well, it doesn’t quite see any shame in asking for money from its congregation. I can’t say this would the most correct method to ask for more money, the reality is, it is one among a myriad of possible ways to ask. What method that a church asks for money is probably best measured against the Bible which prescribes that:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2Corinthians 9v.7)

I know it’s a tried and used passage about giving, but it’s still often used too carelessly. In fact, I’m pretty sure reading the context, the verse isn’t even specifically referring to money, the passage surrounding talks of reaping what you sow and therefore, you must give generously to God because He is the author of our lives. Exactly what the passage is talking about is the refocusing of ambition towards God, cheerfulness in giving not out of compulsion or of guilt.

Previously, I argued that we cannot begin to make givers out of unsaved people. Similarly, I would argue to make cheerful givers, there needs to be understanding of the grander reality of the Kingdom. There is a unhealthy perception of church from many peoples as a boring and irrelevant place. According to what other people have thought, a lot of churches have changed and molded to what other people want the church to be. Unfortunately, the church isn’t a circus, nor is it a country club and it isn’t a Fortune 500 company either. While I find there is always room for improvement, as being part of the Church we are aiming towards the perfection of Jesus always, the people that are the problem more often than not are not the people within the church but the outside people knowledge of the people within the church.

Changing the knowledge of people outside of church is difficult. I don’t have answers to counteract the power of mass-media, and stopping the multitude of movies that are so driven for pushing down Christianity dishonestly. *cough* Easy A *cough*

Finally, on the topic of giving, all the money we have is not ours, it is all from God. How could we have this money without the grace and mercy that God has shown to us? The first premise of correct Christian giving comes not from a percentage of your total income, but from a fundamental understanding of our own poverty. Charles Spurgeon says:

So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Do you want nothing? Then, I fear you do not know your poverty.

God sustains us. Money does have a central role in our society, so much so, I admit sometimes it feels like a sustaining force as well. Having money is equated to having power, and celebrities are celebrated because of their wealth. If we can begin to understand how powerless money is, it cannot sustain us beyond one more breathe that God has breathed into us, only then would we be good with investing more into the Bride of Christ. If we can change the perceptions of the Church; A church not controlled by man’s thirst for power but only accountable to God, only then could we be expecting enough to sustain the church. Then, only then, will giving to the church be equated to giving to God as an instrument for His work in this fallen world.

We all should be giving 100%. Giving 100% of our money, but of our hearts and of our lives. Nothing we have is ours, but all is given and blessed onto us from God alone. How can we begin to be like Anaias and Sapphira and begin to hold some back from God? How can we be like Adam and Eve and pretend that we could run and hide away from God? The money we have is utterly worthless and we should invest more in Jesus and the Kingdom coming to reign in our hearts.

i personally love that pic. got a nice ring to it, i guess every superhero need his theme music. oh yah. this book really helped me. not. http://tinyurl.com/5s7xn8p

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About JN
what happened to dignity / never see it on MTV.

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