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Posts Tagged ‘Giving’

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Here is a quote from Paul:

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich…………13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

In Paul’s second epistle (or third or fourth depending on what you mean) he is encouraging the saints in Corinth to fulfill a promise they had made over a year ago. The Jerusalem Church was suffering (yes Agabus’ prophecy came true). Paul must have taught or talked about it during his missionary journeys. Well this motivated the Corinths to take up an offering to meet this need, somehow this information got to the Phillipi/Macedonia Church and in their great poverty they gave before the Corinths. By the time Paul writes this epistle (again a year later) they still had not given what they promised.

I say that to say this is not an attempt at manipulating the scriptures. I do want to focus in on something Paul says. He says “your abundance at this present time should supply their need……”. Why do I say that? Because today must of us live in abundance, most of us are thinking of nice gifts to give to our families. Power Wheels, jewelry, clothes, trips, movies and the like. Nothing is wrong with that at all. I think God has so blessed us so that we can provide for our families and even give them good gifts. However, that isn’t the only reason. As believers we recognize that we have a higher responsibility than just giving good gifts. We also have the same responsibility that our elder brothers and sisters had. That is to meet the needs of those who lack while we bask in utter wealth (yes we are much wealthier than those who live on $90 a year).

Paul goes on to use an Old Testament reference in the gathering of the “manna”. Why does he do that? Because he was showing us and the Corinths that all that they have comes from God. Just as God had provided for Israel so He provides for us. Not for us to store up and have our “manna” spoil as the Israelites did. But to ensure that no one in the camp lacked! All who gathered had enough for it was God who provided. So God has povided us with much manna so that the rest of the redeem will not lack (How wse is or God?).

The Need!

Second, as you know we are starting this clinic in Burji.  To date, comparing designated gifts for the clinic with costs of the clinic, we are about $10,000 in the red.  The great bulk of this is because the cost of purchasing the solar power stuff (panels, invertors, wire, etc) was more than we had expected, plus we went ahead & are installing the loudspeaker for the chaplain’s communication of the Gospel while people are waiting (now it will be heard in all the area surrounding the clinic as well as under the waiting shelter), plus we had to pay about $5500 to ship the supplies, plus we had to pay about $5000 for Customs fee, storage, loading, etc., and we’ve bought alot of start-up medical equipment (the clinic didn’t even have a blood pressure cuff!)   God’s people have been very generous in helping with these expenses, but we’re still $10,000 off as of today.  Stewardship requires us to monitor this, so we don’t want to get further behind.  Perhaps people reading your website will be appointed by Him to help these people with a “Christmas present” that lasts & lasts, perhaps even to eternity!  All checks can be payable to BeckyLynn Black (non-tax-deductible), or Bethel Hill Baptist Church (tax-deductible, but a minimum of $500).  Either way, the checks should be sent to us at 2691 White House Rd., Nelson, VA 24580.  My son Nathan will be checking our mail daily, so nothing will be lost.

Lets help the Blacksfulfill the Great Commission and not only that lets support a modern Priscilla and Aquilla meet the needs of the Saints of God. These are our brothers and sisters and they don’t have much. EVERYTHING that you give will go to building the clinic and getting wells and meeting the other needs of our Ethiopian sisters and brothers. 100%. Above there is a tax-deductible ($500 minimum) or a (no min..) non tax deductible way to give. Please as you give this Christmas and as you provide gifts for your family please consider giving here! I have met the Blacks personally and they are much lovelier than you would every imagine! If your finances have been effected due to our current economic crisis please, please, please pray then pass this need on by posting the information or letting your church know! God bless and thank you Blacks tell the team we love them and are praying for them.

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Jesus says this to the Pharisees:

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

In Mark 7, Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They came up to Jesus attempting to punk him over eating with “defiled” hands. In other words Jewish custom was to wash your hands before eating and it was consider unclean to do the opposite. This isn’t a matter of a husband changing oil then grabbing a cup of water without first running to a sink and getting scolded by his wife. The Pharisees took this uncleanliness and pretty much made it a sin to violate such a tradition. They were very popular for that.

So Jesus flips a tradition they were holding against them. It was the tradition of giving. The Pharisees would teach their disciples that if you gave to the “church” (religion) then you were free from giving to your parents. However Jesus uses the Law to expose their hyprocrisy. He says “you have a fine way of rejecting the commandments of God in order to establish your tradition”. That statement is priceless. I could imagine the faces of the Pharisees, I bet if their was a brick near by they would have tossed it at Jesus. This is the epitome of “pie face”. LOL.

But seriously Jesus was bringing an undeniable charge to them. Not paticullary the money but the fact that their traditions had taking precedent over the commands of God. I will spend time with this a little.

James says this:

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Now let me ask again. I am not trying to be forceful but are what we doing today in our traditions somehow infringing on the direct commands to meet the needs of others? Are our multimillion dollar facilities, state of the art equipment and other such things preventing us from properly meeting the needs of others. Now let me clarify. I am not saying you can’t have these things. But what I have a problem with is:

1. The manipulation that goes on to raise funds for these things

2. The legality of tithing that is taught with little to no regard of the gracious New Covenant

3.The traditional teaching of giving to a “church” (which typical means a building or entity not a group of believers) that can’t be found in the scriptures (unless that giving is to another church examples are Macedonia and Corinth giving to Jerusalem)

With that I believe we must be careful with our traditions that we don’t ignore the clear commands to properly provide for the the needy. Many Chrisitans that I know personally believe they must tithe or give to their local church versus helping a neighbor who is about to lose their home. We are taught that are giving priorities start with our local church. This maybe true if the funds are being used properly. But if the majority of the money goes to utilities, staff, video equipment, landscaping, and surplus, then I would probably disagree. If we are building youth wings so our children can have video game rooms and a place to play basketball away from the “world” then I would probably say no. Again I am not against these things but when 80cent on a dollar of charitable giving never leaves the hands of those it is given to then I struggle. 

I believe by greatest obligation is not to be build a state of the art building with all the amenities but to ensure that my neighbor can take his son to the doctor, or that my grandmother or elderly aunts and uncles can have both food and medicine. Not only that when the janitor at my job is working 3 jobs and have poor English, maybe I can slide them a few hundred bucks. When we give as a “church” we should be looking at ways to be blessing to others, praying that God would open doors for us to give to the less fortunate, to help fund missionary work. But again that typically takes “special fund raising” and also “missions week”. After you here the story another plate is passed around. While what you have given rather it be 5, 10, or 20% you only need to look up to see it.

I will say again I am not giving to the local church, but first there is no command in scripture and second when your local church looks more like an Entertainment Complex then I struggle. This is my personal conviction so I mean no harm.

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Matthew 6

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Okay I was wrestling with this text the other day after reading a quote that says “Christians give more than non-Christians”! My first question is how is this known? So anyway I started to look at plant churches, missionaries and many organizations and each of them gives this disclaimer “All contributions are tax deductible”. So here are the questions.

1. Would you give less if there were no tax benefit?

2. Are we ignoring Jesus’ commands by ensuring that we provide this disclaimer?

3. Do you believe we would rather give to an organization that has tax benefits than give to the needy directly?

4. Would you plant a church without this status and trust God to provide anyway?

5. Are we writing the Holy Spirit out of the equation?

6. What do you think is going to happen when the government starts regulating what we can and can’t say and effect our tax status based off of these regulations (I promise it is coming)?

7. How did the first-third century Church survive without these exemptions while still paying taxes?

8. Are we to give to our churches and let them start programs? Is the “chruch” the new storehouse?

The reason I ask is because it is much easier for me to give to an organization with a tax exemption status versus a needy person. I would much rather lower my taxable income versus give to a neighbor or some needy person God has put in my path! Why? Well I don’t want to pay taxes (I would rather break even or even get a return) and I would like a small refund. But I believe that there are many needs that go ignored due to this.

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