Wednesday, February 5, 2014

STOP Giving!

Can you imagine your pastor telling you to stop giving? Can you imagine him saying 'we have enough to do the work of the Lord and no more is needed'? Can you imagine offering plates sitting unused and gathering dust? No, of course you can't because it hasn't ever happened in our time, has it? But it did happen to the people of Israel. Moses told them to stop giving because no more was needed. We read in Exodus 36:1-7:

So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom theLord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”
Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willingto come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”
Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

Did you notice the words I typed in bold lettering to grab your attention? The people gave of their own freewill. They didn't need someone urging them to give, they wanted to and they did so morning after morning! I love how we're told in verse 6 that the people were restrained from bringing more. Can you just imagine being told you don't need to give more in the offering? Can you imagine how pleased God must have been with their willingness to give? 

2 Corinthians 9:6-7: 6Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

God loves it when we don't hold back. He loves it when we trust Him to take care of us. God likes things done decently and in order. He has a way He expects things to be done and giving is just one of those things. 

Malachi 3:8-18 

“Will a man rob God? Surely not! And yet you have robbed me.

“‘What do you mean? When did we ever rob you?’

“You have robbed me of the tithes and offerings due me. And so the awesome curse of God is cursing you, for your whole nation has been robbing me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room enough to take it in!
“Try it! Let me prove it to you! 11 Your crops will be large, for I will guard them from insects and plagues. Your grapes won’t shrivel away before they ripen,” says the Lord Almighty.12 “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land sparkling with happiness. These are the promises of the Lord Almighty.

The tithe belongs to the the Lord. The offering you give is a gift from you to Him. I don't want to rob God, nor do I just want to give Him back what is already His. I want to joyfully give as much as I can to Him to show Him that I love Him. If we all had the same attitude as the people of Israel did back then; if we all gave our tithe, the 10% plus our freewill offerings, our churches would be able to do so much more to win the lost and do God's work. 

I don't think you will ever hear a modern day pastor tell his people to stop giving because there is enough for the work that needs to be done, but Moses did. The difference isn't in the pastors but in the people and their willingness to bless God with everything they have. 

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