Monday, September 29, 2008

My God shall supply

I was reading something interesting (to me!) the other day. A writer was pointing out that though  charitable giving in the United States has steadily increased over the last 30 years, in the '80's religion received nearly 55% of all charitable gifts, but in the '90's it went down to 40%, and now is at 33%! This is interesting, in that though giving to those in need has actually grown, giving to the Lord has actually gone down. Americans, in general, give away 2% of their income yearly (far less than a tithe), yet less give to their churches today than ever before.  While we Americans, as a people, are the most generous people on the planet, we no longer seem to trust the churches we attend, which obviously includes the church I pastor. What is interesting is that we believers apparently have forgotten (or perhaps never really believed) that eternity matters, and that our church fellowships that we attend are actually impacting the world, for eternity. Without the financial support of our members, our churches will simply cease performing the functions that have produced such blessings in so many lives. I never actually say this in church as I am aware most would misunderstand me, but I am concerned for the health of our fellowship. It has been said "Giving is the closest thing we have on a daily basis to getting a true pattern of a person's character", and I happen to agree with that statement. As I have said in the past, my wallet and my heart have an invisible string, tying them together. I have seen that, when times get financially tight, the first thing that people do is stop giving to the Lord. It is not that they stop giving (fast food restaurants still get plenty of business), but they do stop giving to Him. Interestingly, some say that they will return to their giving patterns once the financial crunch is over, and they borrow from the Lord. Still, in the Old Testament, if I decided to withhold my gifts to God for personal benefit, I would actually add 20% to what I held back when I next presented my gifts to the Lord (Lev 27:31). Can you imagine how much I would be obligated to the Lord were we still under the Law? I pray that we, the church, repent from our habit of robbing God and begin trusting Him to "supply all of our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus". As a pastor, I actually am saddened as I see the church numerically growing, but now having to hold back on doing things that would benefit the kingdom of God and this church because people are withholding their gifts, or have simply never stepped out in faith to give to the Lord. If you are afraid financially, my encouragement to you is to evaluate your spending habits, eliminate non-essential spending, develop a budget that prioritizes your spiritual life, and be careful to eliminate credit card debt and unnecessary purchases. Learn to, as we used to say so long ago "put your money where your mouth is", in other words, learn to walk the walk as well as talking the talk. In doing so, God will reveal to you that He truly is the Jehovah Jireh, the God Who provides (Gen 22:14)! 


:corinne: said...

Yep you're so right Pastor. Thank you for the encouragement. We should never put God last in our giving.

circleslash said...

In our walking by sight, not by faith, this is sadly common. We go through motions, not realizing that Eternity is really real!
I've heard it said that when fear comes knocking, send faith to answer. Amen to that.

SHALOM said...

Pastor David,

Confirmation. I was just talking with my husband about the financial crisis in America. We agreed that Americans (including ourselves) spend so much mula on unessesary things. It is amazing what people buy now a days. Collectables,Gadgets, plastic surgery, shoes, food, etc.etc. We were talking about how we should sit down and evaluate our priorities. It all starts with us. Materialism is rampid. May God deliver us!

Thomas said...

I think people need to understand that we should not threaten to tithe, “I swear Lord if you get me out of this financial situation I promise I will tithe.”

Our goal should be to Tithe our way out of debt or any other situation that arises.

The lord put us first so why can't we do the same for him and the church.