Monday, January 11, 2010

On Giving

As promised, here are the notes from what I shared with so many of you recently.

On Giving.

God set forth a pattern for giving very early in the Old Testament that has prevailed ever since,
among His people.

Here are highlights of it.

1. Tithe forms the basis of everything - Leviticus 27:30-32 - 10% of all income given to the place of spiritual formation and life

2. Every 7th year, cancel all debts and set your debtors free - Deuteronomy 15:1ff

3. Leave the corners of your fields uncut for the poor - Leviticus 19:9, 23:22

4. Take a Sabbath rest each week - Exodus 23:12

5.Redeem firstborn males of children and animals with an offering - Exodus 13:12-13

Any way you cut it, this was large amount of giving in a very challenging time - some have calculated it came to over 40% of actual impact in terms of their income and lifestyle.

What prevailed into the Jesus' and New Testament era (our time) was a tithe as a basis, given to the place where spiritually we are nurtured and helped to grow, plus offerings to the poor and giving as sparked by the Spirit of God, now released through the work of Jesus in His people. Basic to this all in our era is the conviction everything now belongs to God and is to be released at His clear bidding. Both Jesus and Paul are recorded as saying: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) I would rather have 90% of my income to manage with God's blessing than to be on my own with 100%.

What is the "blessedness" (or greatness) of giving all about?

Three things...

One - Giving is a form of spiritual warfare.
We cripple the power of mammon when we give and reassert the Lordship and generosity of Jesus in our lives.
a. I Timothy 6:9-10 - nb Matthew 13:22
b. Luke 16:13
* Illustrations - a couple and a set of tires -
* Us and Einsteins Bagels just yesterday

Two - Giving further establishes faith, confidence and certainty in our hearts
We give shape to the power of the Spirit in us when we simply follow the directions of the word.
a. Luke 16:11-12
b. Matthew 10:42 - You CAN take it with you.
c. Proverbs 3:9-10
Andrew Womack: I've never seen anyone moving in God strongly who is not generous.

In God's financial system:
a. there is total security
b. there are eternal dividends
c. there is heart focus, confidence, and faith in the now

Three - Giving is a gateway to the miraculous, the road to adventure with God.
Luke 6:38
a. People give earrings and God turns it into cherubim - Exodus 25, 35, 40
b. A woman of little means gives a jar of oil - and bam! - I Kings 17:7-16
c. A boy gives up his lite lunch and 5000 people sit down to eat - John 6:9ff
d.A soldier gives regularly to people in need and God shows up extraordinarily - Acts 10:2

So, get started or catch up - join the adventure and feel the presence and security of being a generous giver.

Malachi 3:7-12

As you give, exercise faith to...
break the power of mammon in your life
speak your faith in the present time - God is your source
open your heart and watch for the adventure this brings.


Three -

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