We are living in a time of financial crisis for many. While some folks have not yet been affected by the rising gasoline prices and ongoing inflation across the board, most families are not doing as well financially as they had been.
Fewer family summer vacations took place this year. Commuters are looking for carpool partners. In every instance spending is down. Take a look at the status of the offering within your local congregation.
While times may be difficult, this is not the time for us to stop giving to the Lord. I have heard many excuses over the years made by people who have either stopped giving or have cut back on their giving to the church. It has to do with everything from fixed incomes to job loss to extra expenses not expected. But I have to be honest - I don't understand this attitude. Does God get a raise when we do? Most of the time the answer is "No." But if we struggle for a while we tend to lose our faith.
Why is it that God gets the first pay cut? If we were honest about our spending there are things that each individual and family could change that has nothing to do with the offering. I have found that for the most part, people will cut God out and live the same way they were living, with few adjustments. Then when they get back on their feet financially, their offering does not increase again to the level of the past.
In difficult times, we should be able to see that God is the One who sustains us. Do we not ask Him to give us daily bread? If we receive it, do we not recognize our prayers to Him have been answered? Malachi asked by inspiration, "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation" (Malachi 3:8-9).
Malachi was pointing out that we often limit what we can do by settling for what we are obligated to do. True faith is not seen in that which merely meets the norm. It is found in the willingness to go beyond what God has asked. It is giving when it doesn't fit the budget. It is extending oneself beyond what is reasonable into uncharted waters of hope.
God was not obligated to give sinful man anything. Man left God. But when the grace of God was abundantly poured out on His highest creation, God did not spare. Instead He sent His very best. He made the biggest sacrifice He could make. Jesus, though He was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we might have true riches.
I ask of you, is there anything that you lack in true blessings? Is there any reason for giving to God less than your best? Can you have true faith? Can you examine yourself as you examine the Christ? Can you show yourself to be rich toward God?
| - Luk 12:20 -|