Somebody once said that you can know there is a revival in a church when the offering in the church increases. Well, I don’t agree with it for the reason that, I have seen people give in response to a prosperity & blessing sermon purely out of greed & desire to make more money, like they’d do as an investment venture.
But the vice-versa of that is completely true. When there is a real revival, people genuinely and sacrificially give their money and resources to their local churches and for the kingdom of God as a whole. Radical giving is what characterized the first century church that was born in a revival, and their giving was not just limited to the ministry activities or for the ministers. The church back then made sure that not one person within their community would have unmet needs. People went to the extent of selling their property and giving up their luxury to make sure that the needs of others in the house of God were met.
The teaching about giving today is purely based on what one can get out of it. But that was not so with the first century church. It is a very true fact that God would bless and honor us for our giving. But to make that the motivation for our giving is extremely selfish.
Here are few things that I think are fundamentals in giving. To begin with, all forms or giving or offering has to be motivated and driven by love, and not out of a desire to get something back. I know that no one sows a seed without expecting anything in return or out of a expectation that our problems will be solved. That is technically bribing God.
We Give Because We Love
“For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Cor 9:7)
Reiterating what I said above, our giving has to be out of love. Never give out of compulsion, nor out of pity or obligation. We are called to love God and to love the people around us. And that is what should compel us to give. Our giving should be intentional and also led by the Spirit. This is a place you can never go wrong or ever overdo.
This is more than just giving to pastors or ministers. We should give to strangers, orphans, widows, fatherless, and more. Look for every opportunity to give and to bless.
We Tithe Because We Love
Tithing is an Old Testament principle, where the 11 tribes of Israel would bring one tenth of their produce to the Levites who didn’t have an inheritance of their own in the land, since they were committed in the ministry and service of the Lord. This is not a practice that the first century church followed, because they believed in giving their 100% to the house of God, not just the 10%. So tithing in the New Testament was defined as 100%!
That is a standard most of us would rarely be able to meet. So tithing is no longer about giving 10%. Tithing is continuous consistent commitment to give to the house of God, recommendable the local church where you are spiritually fed and led. This is an intentional way of life. And we do it not because the sermons in church is good, or because their is a need in the church. We do it because we love the church which is actually the body of Christ!
On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. (1 Cor 16:2)
That’s the principle that Paul taught us, some call it tithing, others call it free will offering. Whatever we give in order to bless the house of God, or the ministers in the house of God, will come under this category.
We Sacrifice Because We Love
Again drawing the example from the Book of Acts, where they sold their properties and belongings to make sure not a single person had unmet need in the church. That is really sacrificial. And that is the kind of giving that God has called us into. You would never experience the complete joy of giving till you give sacrificially. The importance of giving sacrificially is showed on the cross. That kind of giving can displays agape love, and in turn represents God himself.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
Revival and Giving
What is the connection between revival and giving? Why is it that people give generously during a revival? Jesus said, ” Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matt 6:21) In a true revival, your heart is so connected to God and realigned to love and worship God that, you are get disconnected from the material and monetary aspect of human life. It is our attachment to our possessions that stops us from excelling in giving.
Revival will always breed a generation of generous givers. If you have not yet been provoked to give, it is because you have not been experiencing revival at a personal or community level.
What have been your greatest challenges with giving? Does the principle of tithing make sense to you? What is the closest to sacrificial giving that you can get? Do you think generous giving is an essential activity during revival?