Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How to give

Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38, NLT).

In this passage, Jesus made an incredible promise: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:48, NIV).

In other words, the Lord promises that the more we give, the more we will get back. That is amazing, but also dangerous. We really have to be on guard about our motivation. Our heart attitude in giving is something that we have to keep a watch on.

Money shows what's really in the givers heart. The intent of the giver makes all the difference in the world. Our motive should not focus on the return, but on our love for the Lord Jesus and our desire to obey Him. If our motives are pure, we know for sure that we'll get a huge return. But if we try to manipulate God through our giving, the law of sowing and reaping is something we'll never experience.

Oswald Chambers in "My Utmost for His Highest," describes the emptiness of Godly-money manipulation: "Our Lord replies in effect, that abandonment is for Himself, and not for what the disciples themselves will get from it. Beware of an abandonment which has the commercial spirit in it... If we only give up something to God because we want more back, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in our abandonment; it is miserable, commercial self-interest."

Self-interest is empty because it focuses the spotlight on ourselves and away from God. When we give to a ministry because we don't expect a return other than it will further the Kingdom of God, then we'll really see how God rewards us.

I'm worried about a lot of Christian fund-raising efforts that focuses on this giving and receiving principle and tries to get people to give to their ministry with the promise that they will get more back in return. Yes, the principle is a true one, and if the donor's heart is right, they will receive a reward. But if we are not extremely careful in how this is presented we will play upon people's self-interest and cause them to be tempted to greed, and sin.

Personally, I prefer a ministry that needs to be explained, and let the Holy Spirit speak to people about how much, if any, to give. That way, any giving will truly be of the Sprit and there will be no chance of wrong motive. Remember, it's really about what's in the heart that should determine what we give. Love more, give more.

Praying that we all learn to give through love,
Pastor Mike


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