Enjoying the Journey
First let me say that I am not a pastor. I do not have the responsibility of shepherding one flock and overseeing the needs of a local church. As an evangelist I spend much of my time trying to encourage pastors and help churches advance the gospel in many places. I love pastors and local churches. Most of all, I love the Lord.
Our generation of Christians has never seen anything like the current state of emergency in our world. Many people are frightened and all of us are unsure of some things. Yet as a Christian there is one thing I know: God is with us and we must continue to obey His Word. Truth always endures.
In times of crisis it is natural to look after your own self-interests. But God’s people are called to live supernatural lives – through faith and obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit. Emergencies reveal the depth of a person’s faith and the strength of their conviction.
Ask any pastor who ministers in an area of the country where weather can disrupt church meetings and he will tell you that many church members who give regularly do not make up their giving when the church does not meet. Over the next few weeks churches in every part of the country will not be assembling as normal, but God’s people must be faithful in their giving. This is not the time to rob God.
- The practical reason: the work of the church goes on! There are still missionaries who desperately need support, hurting families who need help, and regular bills to pay. Yesterday Tammy and I took our tithe check by the office of our home church. This is our church. It is Christ’s church. And it is to be advancing no matter what hell brings against it (Matthew 16:18). We know God will do His part, but we must do ours.
- The Scriptural reason: God’s Word teaches that we are to be faithful in our giving. The principle of giving is found throughout God’s Word and is true for every age: Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15. This is not a matter of convenience – it is a matter of obedience. You may give online, mail in your tithe and offering, or take it by your church, but whatever you do obey God!
- The spiritual reason: as you give, God will use you to meet the needs of others and will meet your own needs. God’s economy is different than this world’s economy. He is the great multiplier. It was in a season of tremendous persecution and uncertainty that the early church gave sacrificially and God proved that He would meet every need! Read Acts 2:42-47. God’s way is certain in uncertain times.
As a footnote permit me to give a personal reason: we have seen God provide for us as we have tried to honor Him. You cannot explain it and there is no substitute for it. My dad taught me as a boy that you can’t outgive God. It was to a giving church that Paul wrote the famous words, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
God has been so good to us. So on this Lord’s day let me encourage you to follow the prescription of 1 Corinthians 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him…” This Sunday is different for many of us but God’s way is the same.
It is good to save. It is right to be a good steward of the resources you have. But it is never good or right to keep what belongs to the Lord or withhold good from others (Proverbs 3:27). In times of prosperity, poverty, or pandemic we must not fail to follow God’s commands.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).
This is not the time to rob God. It never is.