Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Basis for Giving

(One of the major causes of division in the church today is the use of money. I would therefore like to start series dealing with this issue.)

Who do we belong to? The common modern concept is we belong to ourselves. But this is not the Scriptural position. It says that we were created by God (Psalms 139:13-16; Acts 17:24-28; Genesis 2:7). Also, if we have trusted Christ for our salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; John 3:16-18), we belong to Him as having been redeemed by Him (1 Corinthians 6:19,20; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9). But if we are able to trust God with our eternal destiny, why is it sometimes so difficult to trust Him with the money for the electric bill? (I am preaching to myself here.) And why is it that no matter how many times God comes through, I doubt Him the next time? God has given us a promise to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:25-34; Psalms 127:1,2), but we struggle to believe it. Perhaps part of this is that God provides in His own way on His own timetable. But I suspect another reason is that we see our things as belonging to ourselves. I also suspect that one thing that reinforces this is a refusal to give to help others. Dave Ramsey says that God wants us to give, not because He needs something (Psalms 50:7-15), but because it makes us into the kind of people He wants us to be. God is the ultimate giver, and as His children we are to reflect who He is (1 John 4:7-21). But if you are like me and have Lincoln thumbs from pinching too many pennies, how do we become people like that? 

There are some things I have found helpful in putting this in perspective. (Again, I am preaching to myself as much as anyone else.) I need to remember what Christ has done for me, in comparison to which anything I might do for Him is minuscule (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15). Also, I need to realize I am not my own person, but God is in control of my life and will guide it where He wants it to go (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 2:4). I also need to see that all my present struggles are temporary and will all look minor in the light of eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17,18; Romans 8:18; Revelation 21:4). But the bottom line is, as C. S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, that we tend to treat God as we treat the taxman. We try to figure out what is the minimum we can get away with giving Him and hope when it’s over we will have something left over for ourselves. God rather asks us to give everything to Him (Romans 12:1,2), and He will take over and rearrange our entire life after His pattern. For it is only then that we can become the cheerful givers God wants us to be (2 Corinthians 9:7).

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