I was talking yesterday with Rod St Hill of the Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. He is the Dean of the School of Business there and it really was a pleasure to talk with him.
We discussed so many things but at one point we talked about this issue of fundraising and giving. He said that he thought about what he would do if he was a pastor. He said that what he would do would be to teach the people they should be generous, not necessarily to his ministry, or to that local church only, but in life generally. I think that is a really healthy model. The Bible teaches us that God is giving God. Most of us would know the Scripture in John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. We see then that God gave his most precious Son, the best He had, because of His great love.
God has a giving nature. In Ephesians 5:1, it says be imitators of God as dearly beloved children. Of course this verse has many applications, but one of the main applications that we cannot ignore, is that we should be generous just as God is generous. This will require our faith and our love to grow. Fear of lack in the future could limit the generosity that we practice. That is why we need to understand that God does bless us, does provide for us and also that he honors giving. The Scriptures says in Luke Chapter 6 is 38:
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
In Ephesians 6:8, speaking concerning the service that slaves/servants/employees do for their masters/bosses, it says:
“knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” What an amazing promise! If you really believe these, you will understand that you cannot lose! Praise the Lord!
I believe that both of these scriptures refer to eternal principles that God has put in place. Firstly, God will make sure that ultimately we will be repaid for all the good things that we do. So when we do good things for others, it is impossible for us to lose in the long term. Not only that, but God will give us many blessings through the hands of men if we ourselves are generous and give to people – especially widows, orphans and pioneering preachers who cannot collect money from those that they minister to. This scripture should not be misused by greedy preachers seeking to enrich themselves through the generosity of others so that they can live a life of luxury. In fact, we have a specific warning in 2 Peter 2 verse 3 about exactly this kind of thing. I wish we would hear more about this on Christian television. That would be a miracle we can all pray for.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 2:1-3).
In this message however, I do not want to focus on these kind of problems. Some Christians are all too aware of the faults and failings of some of the more famous preachers you can hear on television and at various conferences, and sadly they often become somewhat cynical, critical and selfish as a result. They themselves don’t seem to give much or do much for God’s Kingdom purposes on earth. The abuse at God’s word does not invalidate the truth that God intended us to understand, and we are responsible before God to be good hearers and doers of the Word regardless of how other people behave. the matter of generosity is such an important one that our failures in this area will have eternal consequences for others. You’re giving does make a difference. You can change lives every time you give. So ask God how he wants you to give, to whom he wants you to give, and how much he wants you to give. Go with what your heart tells you after you have sought the Lord. If you are not sure where you should give, remember that Jesus said the poor you will always have with you whenever you wish you can do them good. We therefore have authority from Jesus to be generous to the poor any time. The book of Proverbs teaches that whoever it gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and He (the Lord) will pay back. So don’t be afraid to do good.
From my perspective, the very poorest people are not always those with the least money. The poorest people are those with no opportunity to hear the gospel. This is why I personally invest my resources in mass media outreaches in foreign nations. We want to combine with this various kinds of social action, especially education programs. But as for you, dear reader, you need to know from God in which areas he particularly wants you to be generous. There are many genuine needs everywhere. Rembert to give not only to your local church, but also to the poor, and those who are working to truly finish the great commission.
Are you preaching the Gospel to people? If you are not actively telling people the message of the Gospel with your own mouth, I encourage you at least give to someone or to some ministry that is effectively communicating the Gospel. There are very hungry people but they may not all live close you. through the Internet you can find people who want God’s work in their life. Getting involved with missions is something that God wants every Christian to do. Be generous in every way, and you’ll be amazed at what God does in and through your life!