Devotional - Understanding Biblical Giving And Redefining Prosperity

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. - 2Corinthians 9: 6 (NIV)

    There was an uproar in the charismatic world this past week when a well respected theologian decided to spend a week on the Benny Hinn Television program. Dr. Michael Brown spent that week discussing Jesus in the Old Testament and the subject of hyper-grace with the renowned false teacher. On these subjects there was no controversy but the overarching point was that the falseness of Hinn's 40 + years in "ministry" were never addressed. That is a subject for another day however as a needed debate brewed after between Dr. Brown and Christian music artist turned pastor, Steven Camp. During the two hour exchange between the two, Dr. Brown asked a question that may need some clarification these days amidst the plethora of false prosperity doctrines. That question is this:

    Is it doctrinally sound to believe that as you give financially God will bless you financially?

    Giving is one of those subjects that divide many believers and has done more damage to the cause of Christ than most others due to the abuses of the Bible by men seeking to make money by misusing God. But we do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when discussing financial giving. Hopefully by reviewing what Scripture says we can clear the waters that so many have muddied. Let me start by saying that it was reassuring to hear that both Dr. Brown and Pastor Camp denounced tithing as not being biblically supported in the New Testament. Instead of spending time here on that matter, if you are interested here was a previous review of the tithing issue which came up during my brief exposition on the Book of Malachi:

    The first thing we must recognize is that there is a general principle regarding giving found in the New Testament and it is the key verse today. This principle is simply known as sowing and reaping. While this principle applies to more than just finances, there is no question when examining the surrounding context that Paul is addressing financial giving to the ministry. This is also confirmed in Scripture:

    One person gives freely, yet gains even more;another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. - Proverbs 11: 24 (NIV)

    There is no question that the work of the church requires finances to accomplish, especially in this day and age. In fact, there is no work more important in our lives than the work of the church that is correctly following God's Word. I say that because often I have heard the defense that "once I give my money, what they do with it is not my problem." I disagree. The Bible implores us to follow correct doctrine and to not partner with the works of darkness. Sometimes we have to put our worshiping of our church aside and move on if we find ourselves in a church that is not doing the Lord's work. Giving in any situation that is not advancing the Gospel is simply not giving to God. We do have a responsibility to test everything and determine what is and what is not from God. The problem with the sowing and reaping principle is that our carnal minds assume that we are talking about a prid quo pro where I give something so therefore I expect something in return. Let us be clear. God is not short of cash. He does not need our help. We give because when we do we advance the Gospel and more lives will come to the foot of the cross. Also we must realize that the "return on our investment" may not always be financial. Quite frankly, most times I think it will not be. One of the far reaching damages done by the false prosperity gospel is that it has ruined the understanding of blessing. We are taught through false teachers that blessing is something to seek God for instead of being something God has already given. Thankfulness is replaced with petulance. When we sow correctly into the kingdom we might reap peace in the middle of our storm. We might reap joy in the midst of our sorrow. We might reap health and kids that are not wayward. The prosperity gospel dismisses these blessings in favor of cold hard cash and that is not what reaping necessarily is. Secondly, giving unto the works of the Lord is an act of worship.

    They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. - Matthew 2: 11 (NLT)

    The gifts given to our Savior upon his birth were part of worship. We were created to worship God!

    The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. - Isaiah 43: 20-21 (NIV)

    The heart of worship is to realize that the glorious salvation we are blessed to live in is more important than anything else in this world. That God does not wish any to perish. That we need to let as many people know as possible what Jesus did for us and can do for them. That is why we give. Not everyone can go to the jungles and preach to those farthest away but the fact that we make missionaries come and beg for the funds they need to survive should be a scandal in the church. The fact that most churches brag about allocating 5% of their monies to missions should be a scandal. The change in mindset needs to be that the opportunity to worship God is a privilege. The opportunity to give to the cause of Christ is a privilege.

    For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. - 2Corinthians 8: 3-5 (NLT)

    This is Paul speaking about the Macedonian Church, which he described as poor yet generous in their giving to the kingdom. Their first action was to give themselves to the Lord, which if we notice here is exactly what God wanted them to do. It is exactly what God wants us to do. Pursue Him first. Think of His kingdom first. Worship Him only.

    Thirdly, we are meant to be cheerful givers. Beloved we ought to be happy about having the privilege to worship God! We ought to be happy that our money might help bring someone into the kingdom of heaven! That is the only thing that holds eternal value! He who dies with the most toys is still dead! We cannot be sad about giving. We cannot be angry about giving. We cannot be reluctant about giving. If we are then money has become an idol in our lives. Anything that we place as more important than God in our lives is an idol.

    You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” - 2Corinthians 9: 7 (NLT)

    This is the heart of the New Testament teaching on giving. We decide with God how much we will give. The church does not decide. Your pastor does not decide. You decide in consultation with the Holy Ghost inside of you. I firmly believe that pastors that insist on enforcing tithing are actually showing a lack of faith. If we ever left this matter up to the individual and the Holy Spirit, I am sure there would be more than 10% given. God does not want us to be reluctant or angry about the business of God!

    Lastly, while giving can be a focus of worship, it should not be a focus of doctrine. I remember my former pastor spoke on giving about one time per year and that sermon was never condemning in nature but rather to remind people of the privilege God gives them when it comes to giving. Or to discuss sowing and reaping. It was never to twist arms but rather to teach correct doctrine. When one turns on TBN or whatever passes for Christian television these days this is simply not the case in prosperity circles. Their week in and week out message centers on money in one form or another. Count how many times Joel Osteen uses the word "bless" or "blessing" in a half hour sermonette. Even when he gets around to dragging a Scripture out it is only used to support his money focused message. What is the bottom line difference?

    Is the emphasis for giving on self or on God?

    This is what it all comes down to beloved. What is the theological focus on when giving is discussed? Listen to the parade of false prosperity preachers and you will only hear how giving helps you. How God is just waiting to bless you if we would only speak it into existence or demonstrate some level of faith, which inevitably comes back to giving as well. If you are listening to a solid biblical preacher however, all you will hear is how giving glorifies God or advances the cause of the kingdom. There is a lost concept in modern Christianity. It is about Christ. It is not about us at all other than the fact that we were once lost but now we are found!

    So we come full circle and the question still remains:

    Is it doctrinally sound the believe that as you give financially God will bless you financially?

    What have we learned about giving today? We learned that sowing and reaping is a principle in action but that the reaping side may not necessarily be financial in nature. We learned that giving is an intimate form of worship. We learned that we are supposed to be cheerful givers - not coerced or reluctant. That it is an honor to be able to give to the work of the kingdom that should lead to more people coming into the eternal kingdom of God. Lastly, we learned that giving should not be a repeated form of doctrinal preaching. That if giving is discussed to emphasize self then we can rest assured that it is not of God.

    I am forced to answer the question then in the negative. Now, is it possible that God will bless you financially if you obey the principle of sowing and reaping? Of course. He is God and can do whatever pleases Him. But here is the main point regarding this and there really is not way of getting around it. If you are asking that question then the answer must be no. If your concern is for God to bless you financially then the answer must be no. If you are handing your offering in while thinking how much you want in return than the answer must be no.

    God does not do quid pro quo. He gives us the opportunity to worship Him in many ways and finances for the advancement of the kingdom of God is one. Do not sit under abusive pastors beloved. I saw one pastor claim that if you did not give first to him, instead of your rent or bills, then God would curse the rest of your money! I heard of another pastor who told a young couple they were not conceiving in their new marriage because they were not tithing right. I know of another pastor who removed people from the membership rolls because they were not tithing right according to him. No discussion - just removed. People there over 30 years, removed. These are just a sampling of stories told every day about a church that has lost its sense of direction. A church that has allowed too much leaven in unchecked. A church that has taken a sacred privilege to give and turned it into a sacrilegious right to receive.

    “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6: 28-34 (NIV)

    Jesus uses clothes here to represent material needs but it just as easily could be money. We need to shift away from the modern church focus on materialism and get back to pursuing the kingdom of God above all else, trusting that all the things we used to worry about; He will give us as well. Not that we all become millionaires and rich as the world perceives wealth but rather rich in the things of God; wealthy and prosperous as God defines it. Not as man perverts it.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - January 21, 2014
  2. this ain't one of those "False Prosperity" Gospels is it?

    Playing with ya......

    Prosperity Gospel:

    You can't reap what you have not sown. Believing God to help with rent, help someone else with their rent according to ability.
    Not only does this invoke you must reap what you sow, but it takes your mind off need as we are told to take no thought. (Mat 6)

    God multiplies all seed sown. You come out better putting the Kingdom first than not sowing.

    There can only be one first in your life. Money is a great measure for who is first. If your bills are first then God can't be first. Jesus said seek the Kingdom first. I tithe, so God always comes first before any bill considered. It's never failed one time, God always comes through.

    there is a difference between tithe and offering....... don't tithe out of duty or because you have to...... that kind of tithing is not going to do anything but loose you money. Tithe from the revelation that God is first and His kingdom is first and it's a heart thing revealed.

    All giving is to be done because your led to give and it seems right. Not what others tell you to give or give under pressure. A Pastor needing a new thing to come in is no indication that you need to give. You can't be the Pastor's source and No Pastor should even pull on anyone for money or make anyone feel guilty.

    No pastor can promise God will bless your giving, He can only teach that giving can bless you and what you gave into. It's between you and God.

    If you want things, put God's Kingdom first with your money and Jesus said things are added unto you. More often than not God moves to give what is in your heart and lots of times I hear stories of people not even have to ask God but it shows up because they put God first.

    All pastors are worthy to be paid, I think they should make the most in the World considering Their message can give live and avoid an eternity in hell.

    God gives wealth to establish His covenant.............. prosperity is in doing the will of God and obeying him. So just giving without obeying is not going to get anything multiplied for you. In that wealth to enable you to do the plan of God you can get some nice things but things always start out small and increase as you obey and God increases you.

    Giving was never designed to make us rich and do our own thing. If you give 1,000 dollars then don't expect 100 fold return if your not also doing the will of God. The money comes back as you need it having treasure in heaven.

    i did not take much time to type it, but this is the Word of Faith version of it,.


Share This Page