|Vol. 15 No. 8 August 2013||
Religious teachers have come and gone, but hands down, Jesus is the greatest teacher ever to walk upon the face of the earth. Unlike the scribes of His day, Jesus spoke with the highest authority because His message was direct from the Father (John 7:16-18). No divine spokesman ever spoke with higher authority than God’s Son.
When the Judgment Day comes, and it shall, every accountable person will be judged. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48; cf. vs. 49-50).
Any doctrine that teaches or implies that accountable, saved people may habitually practice unrighteousness, and yet maintain God’s favor, is a doctrine that has not proceeded from the throne of God. Any doctrine that suggests there will be additional opportunities to prepare for heaven after death or upon Jesus’ return is a doctrine whose source is not from heaven. Any doctrine that proposes that all that is necessary to go to heaven is to be born into the world, or simply agree with God that Jesus is His only begotten Son, is a doctrine whose origin is not the Father. “…[P]repare to meet your God…” (Amos 4:12).
A true motive for giving in our worship should be God’s love for us and our love for Him. God desires that on the first day of every week Christians should lay by in store (put something aside – give) as we have been prospered (1 Corinthians 16:2). This simple act is a vital part of our worship. God has loved us. God has prospered us. God has blessed all of us beyond measure. This proof of His love should motivate us to give liberally and cheerfully because we love Him Who first loved us.
God had the apostle Paul to place this matter of liberality in the list of essentials to eternal salvation. As one brother said many years ago, this “puts a very serious phase upon it.” Paul said by inspiration in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, “Charge them that are rich in this present world [that would be all of us!] that they be not highminded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate [“be generous and ready to share” ESV], laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed.” If we would lay hold on life eternal, that is, be saved, we must do good, be rich in good works, and be willing to share. When we “lay by in store” in our giving, we are “laying up in store” for ourselves a good foundation for the future that we may “lay hold on eternal life.” So, gaining eternal life by laying up treasure in heaven is also a pure motive for giving to God in worship (Matthew 6:20).
We are rich, but riches are deceitful. Jesus said so (Matthew 13:22). One of the deceits of riches is making us think we are not rich when we really are, and if we are rich, we should give accordingly. When we give in worship in a sporadic manner or we give much less than we are able, we are in essence robbing God (Malachi 3:8-9). To fail to contribute regularly according to our prosperity is to keep from God that which He has asked of us. This is a serious matter. No faithful child of God wants to be guilty of robbing God. In Malachi 3:10, God challenged His people to put Him to the test. Give as you should, He said and see if I won’t “open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing…” Remember, the true motive for giving in worship to God is our love for Him. Giving cheerfully and freely is a proof of our love for God.
God commands giving on every Lord’s Day, as one prospered, as an act of worship (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). We all prosper. In fact, we are all rich in comparison to most of the world. Therefore, we should give to God without reservation out of a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). How much is liberal giving, you ask? You must decide. Though just a suggestion, giving back to God a tenth of your financial gain is a good starting point in giving liberally. Pray that God will help us all develop a more generous heart.