Jesus Watches What You Give
The subject of money and the way Christians give, tithe, offer and spend it, can be a touchy one. But whether we like it or not, money represents so much of our life. It takes (for most of us anyway) so many hours of our time in earning it, that we all like to make the most of it once we've got it.
For the Christian, however, we have a Godly obligation to seed/sow into the Kingdom of God with our money. At least a tenth (tithe) of our earnings should be given back to God and His Church(Matthew 23:23; Genesis 14:20; Genesis 28:22; Leviticus 27:30; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Acts 4:34-35). I believe the giving of our money in tithes and offerings is part of our WORSHIP TO GOD. We worship Him in our giving, and giving to God does involve the giving of our money.
The Bible has much to say about giving. In this article we shall look at just a little portion to bring out a thought on giving that you may not have noticed before.
WE GIVE TO KEEP GOD'S HOUSE IN GOOD ORDER:
Turn to 2 Kings 12:9-12:
"Jehoida the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the Lord. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the Lord. Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal secretary and the high priest came, counted the money that had been brought into the temple of the Lord and put it into bags. When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the Lord -- the carpenters and builders, the masons and stone-cutters. They purchased timber and dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the Lord, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple" (NIV).
This section of Scripture is about a good king by the name of Joash (or Jehoash) who wanted to repair and restore the house of God back to a place of honour and glory. So he came up with the idea of placing a big offering box in the temple, right in a place where everyone entering would pass by. The chest (or offering box) was placed right beside the altar. The giving of money for the work of the house of the Lord and the payment of the labourers' wages was a very important part of restoring God's house to its former glory. The peoples' giving was esteemed as being so important that it was placed right beside the altar of God.
The altar, of course, represents the place where we yield ourself, our will, our ambitions, our life over to the will of God. It is the place of personal sacrifice.
For many, to honour God with a tenth (tithe) of our salary, plus free-will offerings, is a big personal sacrifice. But God always promises to reward the sacrificial giver (see Proverbs 3:9-10; Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians Chapters 8 and 9). The test of commitment is whether or not we put GOD FIRST, especially with our money!
In 2 Kings 12:9-12 we read that "there was a large amount of money in the chest" (v.10). The money was put into the hands of the oversight of the house of the Lord, who distributed it to the workers.
JESUS IS WATCHING WHAT WE GIVE:
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and watched how the people cast money into the treasury ..."
This section of Scripture is well known, for it is the account of the widow's mite. It tells of a poor widow woman who gave everything into the offering box . . . a total commitment of everything to God. Oh, yes, there were rich people dropping their cheques and $20.00 notes into the offering too. But they never missed what they gave!
Notice where Jesus was sitting: RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE THE GIVING WAS DONE!! The Scripture says He sat right there WATCHING WHAT THE PEOPLE GAVE!! He knew exactly what each person gave! Jesus observed the giving habits of those who called themselves worshippers of God. Not only did He observe, but He also called His disciples to observe what was happening.
Why would He do that?
Because our life is tied up with our money. The way we handle money -- and our attitude toward it -- tells us a lot about us!
Let's seriously ask ourselves the following: "Am I trusting my money more than I am trusting God? Am I relying on my money more than the promises of God's Word?"
(When our money takes the place of God we're in a bad way spiritually!)
Here's another vital question: "What is my real attitude toward money?"
One does not have to be rich to have a wrong attitude about money. Some people are poor -- very poor -- financially because of a bad attitude toward money. (I find it very interesting that whenever a church puts on a seminar to help people with their finances, it is usually those who need the seminar the most that are the ones who will boycott it.)
Wrong attitude to money, giving and tithing.
BRING IN THE TITHES AND OFFERINGS!
Consider again Malachi 3:8-12:
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me.
"But you ask, 'How do we rob You?'
"In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse -- the whole nation of you -- because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty (NIV).
These verses in Malachi 3:8-12 teach us of the blessings of giving tithes and offerings. God caused it to be written in Scripture because His people had all sorts of "hang-ups" about money and giving. They had robbed God in tithes and offerings! The word "rob" means "to take something from (someone) illegally, as by force or threat of violence; to plunder (a house); to deprive unjustly" (Collins Dict.). The peoples' withholding of their giving (liberally) to God had produced a curse over their life. God's work suffered as a result. But so did the people who did not give their tithes and offerings. The tithe is for the local church we attend; the offering can be freely given to whatever ministry or ministries we feel God is asking us to support. God told the people that if they would bring in ALL THE TITHES INTO THE STOREHOUSE, there would be "meat" or "food, provision" in His house. We, the givers, would be able to PROVE GOD in seeing Him open the windows of heaven and pouring out His blessings! They would overtake us! (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
God would personally rebuke the enemy and cause our ground (labours) to be fruitful; to the point that others would call us blessed!
JESUS WATCHES WHAT YOU GIVE.
LET'S STOP ROBBING GOD! . . . AND OURSELVES!
We can pray, argue back and forth with one another over the pro's and con's of tithing, money, etc. But we cannot dictate our beliefs and terms to God! As Christians we do have money obligations to Him!
Let us always remember that JESUS IS WATCHING EACH OF US WITH REGARDS OUR MONEY.
If you could literally see Jesus standing alongside the offering bag or box each time you dropped something in, would you still continue to give like you have in the past? The truth is HE'S THERE WATCHING YOU, whether you can see Him or not! And He knows exactly what is in your heart concerning money. That's why the offering box is right next to the altar!
THREE KEYS TO GIVING:
In closing, let me leave with you three keys to giving:
It is up to each of us to prove for ourselves just how much God blesses those who will follow the principles of His Word in our giving. When we are willing to be generous in our giving to the work of God, we know an increased blessing in our own life, and we also help ministries (like "The GFM") to impact multitudes of others. Let us be determined to be released from a poverty, miserly mentality with regards our money and see the Kingdom of God and its ministries expanded because we are doing our part.
If we give (sow) little, we reap little.
If we give abundantly and freely, we reap accordingly (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Let's prove God in our giving!