We are living in a world that is going through difficult times, not just in terms of health and natural disasters, but with most countries’ economies crashing and going into the red, these are unprecedented times in the lives of many believers. As I write this the rand hovers at R 18.00 to the dollar, never has this generation seen such turmoil in the markets.
Yet as believers we need to understand that we are not controlled by the economy of the world, our dependence is on the one who supersedes all economies, the one who controls all things, our creator King Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NKJV)
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
There are three things that Paul wants us to latch onto here in regard to worshipping God through our giving:
1.Prepare to give in worship
Paul writing to the church, tells us in vs 7 that we need to give as purposed in our heart. This means that there needs to be a preparedness, we need to come before God having prepared our hearts for what we are about to give. We should not be giving under pressure (scrambling for our wallets when the offering bowl comes around)
When we give to God, we are worshipping him though what we are giving. Many times, we give little consideration to what we put into the offering bowl, we look for the smallest note or loose change, and we sometimes have the mindset that God will understand.
1 Corinthians 16:2 (TLB)
2 On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.
Again, we see the idea of being prepared, not waiting. When we bring our tithes and offerings to God in worship, it should not be just haphazardly done, but there needs to be some thought into what we are giving, and we need to pray about what we are going to give, otherwise it will just be about the flesh.
Jesus in his life on earth, taught more about money and possessions that he did about heaven & hell. The word “give” is used more than 1500 times in the bible. And there is a reason for this.
You see God wants us to be generous, by nature God is a giver. (John 3:16). And we are created in the image of God, so we should in the very nature of God, be excellent in our giving. Worshipping God through our tithes & offerings is an integral part of every believer’s relationship with God.
2.The manner in which we give
“not grudgingly or out of necessity” – The manner in which we worship God in giving, is extremely important.
Giving is an expression of our appreciation to God, for all that he has done for us. When we give, we are telling God, thank you. We are worshipping and praising him for his goodness and blessings upon our lives.
How we worship God with money, reveals what is really important to us. When we put God first in our money, it shows God, what he means to you, how much you value his love and mercy.
Its all about the heart. How is our heart, when its time to give, do we give God because we are forced to do so? This only indicates that our heart is not in the right place.
In the book of Genesis, God was pleased with Abels’ offering but rejected the offering of Cain.
Genesis 4:4-5 (NKJV)
3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
Abel brought the firstborn to God, he offered to God the first portion of his increase, he offered him the best portion. On the other hand, Cain’s offering to God, was not what God required. There was no obedience to what God required of him and the way in which he was to give.
I believe one of the reasons God rejected cain’s offering was because it was done out of obligation, it was done because he had to do it. There was no consideration into what he was giving, he gave what he felt like giving and not what God required of him.
2 Corinthians 8:8 (GW)
8 I’m not commanding you, but I’m testing how genuine your love is by pointing out the dedication of others.
Many Christians are like that in our worship to God, we give because we must give, not because we want to give. Its all about the heart, if our heart longs to worship God, then our wallets should follow and long to worship God as well.
3.The Blessing of being a cheerful giver
Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver”. What do we understand by cheerful giving?
The word “cheerful” in the Greek is “hilaros”, and means more or less the same – cheerful, joyous.
In order to understand cheerful giving, we must learn from Jesus Christ himself. Our greatest motivation to worship God through our giving should be that it pleases God.The principle of giving, is clear throughout the bible, and with us honouring God in our giving comes the blessing of God.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Luke 6:38 (ESV)
38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
God wants to bless you and those around you, those who are linked to you.
Malachi 3:10-11 (ESV)
10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer[a] for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.
Gods blessings are just not linked to financial today, we can be blessed in marriages, family, relationships, health. But it all comes down to how are we worshipping God in our finances. When we give to God, are we coming prepared, are we cheerful givers today.
Right now, the economy of our country suggests that God can wait for what we should be giving to him, we need to provide for our families, jobs are on the line and with the chaos in the world, we don’t know what tomorrow holds, so hold back on your tithes & offerings.
But friends I want to encourage you today, we might not know what tomorrow holds, but I know the God who holds tomorrow, I’ve seen Gods hand move when we surrender our finances to him in worship and we give him everything and trust in him alone.
The world might paint a bleak picture right now but let’s not stop worshipping God in our finances. He has given us the ability to get a salary, he has provided us with a roof over our heads and a plate of food, Lets worship God & honor God.
Feel free to comment or share a testimony.