July 24, 2013

MinistryCPA Special Topic: Motivations for Giving to God's Work

Question:

One of the wealthy men in the church was overheard by a member of the youth group, "I wish the preacher would stop ranting about giving all the time! I've got to be the biggest giver in the church already. You'd think our church was on the edge of financial ruin!" Later, at the dinner table, the young person still wrestled with the ramifications of what the man had said, "Dad and mom, why does our pastor preach about giving?" What Biblical response can these parents offer to their inquisitive teenager?

Answer:

Dad and mom could first remind their child of the Apostle Paul’s response when addressing a similar question, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9.7). The reasons (Paul, “purposes”) for giving to God’s work, His workers and to others is a private matter of the heart. If others cannot give joyfully, we might feel sorry for them, but we cannot allow their attitudes to affect ours.

God hates an unthankful attitude. Receiving an abundance of provision from God and then failing to respond with a desire to serve Him and an attitude of joy and gladness brings the judgment of God.

Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things (Deuteronomy 28.45-47).

The teen’s pastor is simply teaching and preaching the commands of Scripture that he is responsible to deliver. As a mentor of young preachers, the Apostle Paul commanded Timothy to 

charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (I Timothy 6.17-19).

Finally, Moses commanded the people in his day not to think of giving as losing possessions, but as gaining God’s joy in the act of giving and in one’s outlook on life in general.

If there be among you a poor man … thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine hand shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works (Deuteronomy 15.7-10).

Perhaps without making an indiscreet direct reference to the wealthy men in the church, the parents can help their teenager connect the passages to the recent conversation that was overheard.

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