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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Give, And It Will Be Given to You

I admit I get upset each time I hear a televangelist ask for money. Most of them tell the listeners that God will bless them financially if they will give. The listeners are challenged to send "seed" money to the televangelist's ministry which will result in the opening of God's storehouse for them. They will receive some multiple of the amount which was sent in. The obvious money-grabbing techiniques of these very wealthy con artists makes me sick!

But are they completely wrong?

Yes, they are wrong is saying that the people should only send the money to their ministries. This is blatantly self-serving. Yes, they are wrong is telling people to do so in order to get money back. This isn't really giving; it is investing. Yet, there are many scriptures which state clearly that God will bless those who give to Him and to the needs of others freely. Should we ignore those scriptures because of the excesses of those who are unscrupulous?

God tells us that He will open the windows of heaven and pour down a blessing until there is no more need if people will simply tithe.

Malachi 3:10 (ESV) 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Jesus said that we would receive in the same manner as we have given. He said it would be overflowing.

Luke 6:38 (ESV) 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Paul wrote that giving sparingly results in reaping sparingly. He states plainly that giving is necessary in order to have everything which you need.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (ESV) 6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

It is clear that the principle exists in both the Old and New Testaments. It is clear that the one giving should do so from their hearts without pressure being put on him. It is clear that God will return back to the giver an overflow of what was given. Is this a test of faith? I think so.

Now, I am not asking for anyone to send anything to me. I don't even want to imply it. I do believe that we cannot ignore the principle of God's return when we give either.

Years ago I got a call from a lady who told me that she had pledged $1500 to a televangelist. She had sent him $300 and had not received anything yet. I asked her if she had pledged to God or to the televangelist. She eventually told me it was to the televangelist. I told her that she needed to do whatever she thought was right with the rest of her money. I wonder what would have happened if she had pledged the money to God. I believe she needed to fulfill all vows made to God. But would she have received back an overflow?

My practical nature says that giving to God in order to receive is merely manipulation. Often people try to manipulate God by claiming scriptures which they believe forces God to do what they want. Is there a difference in this and believing scriptures which tell us what God will do? Faith has very little to do with what is practical.

So, I must come to this conclusion. Those who give to God freely will see God's blessings poured upon them until they can hardly stand it.


Anonymous said...

I loved this post! I have said the same thing, although not as articulately, for years. Faith is NOT spouting magic words as you throw money at it as tho God is some sort of casino slot machine. We can't pull down God's arm and get a windfall. hmph.

We do reap in response to what we so, of course. And if we sow manipulation and control tactics, we aren't going to reap God's blessing in response.

Haha. Putting the brakes on my rant before I write a post here. :)

As always, thank you for this good word.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, this and the next few comments would be somewhat belated. I was having the Chinese New Year busyness, for one; for another, a strange thing had happened – I used to use my daughter’s Ipad (with internet connection) to do some of these comments on your blog, but at the beginning of this month, the Ipad went missing from the house, right from the living room; till today, we have still NOT found the Ipad (which of course, my daughter blames it on me for it missing), but there was no break-in and nothing else was missing from the house! Was it misplaced, somehow; I have no idea whatsoever; my daughter claimed she did NOT take it, either?!

So, is it giving away or investment? People sure do NOT use it, interchangeably with their “secular” investments. In their “secular” (actually, there is really no such secular and non-secular thing, for one who truly follows the ways of the Kingdom!) investments, people don’t think they give away their money or time or energy. They do NOT also think that it is exchange, like gift exchange; they want to get more, even manifold return, for what they put in, true to the positive side of investment.

When it comes to kingdom stuff, many people do, use the giving or investment interchangeably. Is it that wrong to think investing (putting in money, time and energy) in Kingdom stuff? Let’s say, we narrow it to money, is it wrong to think investing in ministries and other stuff of the Kingdom of God or the Faith? To me, it is always the heart-condition. The word, investment, is NOT the appropriate word that can be used with the things of God.

The prosperity gospel preachers or such televangelists like to use the word, invest or investment over the word, give or giving or giving away, because it is appealing to the people – saying what people like to hear. But the problem also lies with the listeners, for if it is investment, it means, it can go the other way, the negative side; instead of having a positive return (manifold even), what you put in can be reduced to nothing. Now, is giving to God an investment? No, for there is NO the other side of the coin; investment can turn out to be good or bad, but true giving to God can only turns out to be good. May I encourage us all, to refrain from using the word, invest or investment; instead, stick to giving.


Anonymous said...

Cont. from above

I come back to heart-condition; and the 2 Cor 9:6-8, Ps Prentis quoted, said it well. Firstly, it is a giving. Secondly, it is to be coming from a cheerful heart; meaning you are very happy to part with what you are giving, be it money, time or energy. On top of that, you are happy because you know you are pleasing God with what you are doing, giving of your money, time or energy. Some people can be happy for other reasons; for example, “I was bored and so it was good I gave that time to God”; or “Good riddance, I cleared those old clothes from my closet” (I am NOT saying you cannot give away your time or old clothes). The motivation of our heart should be we are after God’s heart – to please Him. Now, if you are thinking, “I shall invest $1,000.00 into this man’s ministry, and like he, the man, said, I would get a hundred fold back, i.e. $100,000.00”, are you honestly after God’s heart, or are you after your own heart? Thirdly, God loves a cheerful giver, and God is able to make all grace abound to him, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, he may abound in every good work. What does it mean? It means when you are after His heart, and give, to please Him, He would let His grace flow out to you, in such a way that you will NOT lack what you need, and He wants you to lack nothing you need, so that you may devote yourself to every good work. We can see, true giving to God has only one side – the good side, no negative side. God’s ways are NOT inconsistent; it is Man’s ugly heart-condition that perverts God’s way. God is consistent, and He said, in Eph 2:10, we are saved (yes, by grace, vv8-9) for good works; and right here, in 2 Cor 9:6-8 passage, God blesses for the same consistent outcome He wants, that we may abound in every good work. One may need to be transported to another place to engage in a good work; maybe you need a car, but NOT necessarily a Lamborghini; you may need to fly on a commercial plane, but NOT necessarily a private jet; or if He likes, He just blinks you over, like He did with Phillip (Acts 8:39-40)?!

Is there no return or reward with our giving to God? Ps Prentis said, “I do believe that we cannot ignore the principle of God's return when we give either.” Recently, in my monthly Divine Healing Meeting (service) I talked about “True peace and joy – the reward from pleasing God”. I said, “The kingdom of God is about His righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (from Rom 14:17)”. To have that peace and joy of the Spirit, we have to follow after the Holy Spirit (who is also the Spirit of Christ), who is always in agreement with the Godhead, and so, only seek to please the Godhead. There is, I believe, a well-being reward that we can all get – peace and joy in and of the Holy Spirit, when we acts to please God. Is there no return or reward with our giving to God? When our giving is pleasing God, there is at least, the reward of peace and joy in and of the Holy Spirit.

But can I be sure what I do pleases God? 1) Be led by the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit cannot but leads us into agreement with God, and so, can only lead us to please God. 2) Subscribe to Romans 14:6 – What we do, we do it as unto the Lord, NOT with other motives. 3) Subscribe to Phil 4:8-9 - whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things; and (verse 9) put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions