Article # seven: Stingy vs Generous
F A R
Mannie is cheap. Getting is fun but giving hurts. She has heard a hundred times, “Give and it will be given to you,” but still….
One day Mannie will be up there looking back on her time here. She will realize fully it would not have cost her anything to give. It would not have cost her to give a little and it would not have cost her to give a lot. Not one cent. Had she given little, the Lord would have replenished her little; had she given much, the Lord would have replenished her much. He is like that.
Mannie has the potential to finance great works for the Lord. She could be a soul-winner by simply supporting evangelists in certain third world nations, but giving is done by faith, and faith is lacking in the less-than-fervent.
But Mannie believes in tithing. She would be a second-rate adherent rather than a genuine church member if she didn’t tithe. Perhaps when she gets to heaven Pastor Whoever will look her up to thank her for faithfully supporting him all those years on earth. Maybe she will be able to peek over the edge and look with solace at the nice church building she helped finance.
A. W. T o z e r : Careless, unintelligent and prejudiced giving is wasting millions of consecrated dollars among evangelical Christians. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
L a r r y J o n e s : A man’s money and a man’s heart go in the same direction. If his money is not being directed toward the Great Commission, neither will his heart be there. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Financing the Great Commission)
As a young christian Mannie, like most young christians, had a zeal for soul-winning. But church took that out of her heart. First they taught her it was wrong to not attend church regularly so she attended church regularly. Then they taught her the Lord commands her to support the local church by tithing, so she tithed. Capturing her treasure had the effect of capturing her heart. And since her church was not particularly keen on reaching the lost with the gospel, neither was she. Brick and mortar and salaries slurped up her contributions…. and her heart.
She heard both sides of the tithing controversy, and it wasn’t logic that made her decide to tithe. Her heart, not her mind, was the decision-maker. She would not be fully accepted if she didn’t tithe, Mannie needed as much of that good stuff (acceptance) she could get, so Mannie became a convinced and dutiful tither.
L a r r y J o n e s : The weightiest evidence against the tithe system (for the New Covenant person) is the fact that there is nothing in Scripture to suggest such a practice. The Bible, that which is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” does not instruct the Christian to tithe. Jesus never taught it. Nor did Paul. Nor did any of the other New Testament writers. There is not one precedent to be found. Not one. (Financing the Great Commission)
Setting her loyalty upon man’s words over Christ’s words, while swelling her status with the group, was detrimental to her relationship with her Redeemer. Which forfeited the necessary grace we all need to overcome the natural tendency to hoard. Thus we have a very stingy Mannie.
N E A R
Merf was cheaper than Mannie. Never carried cash so he wouldn’t be tempted to spend it or help someone in a moment of weakness. Merf and Mannie in a cheapie restaurant: Darn, I forgot my wallet in the car………………. Again, Merf?………………….. Think you can cover this one, Mannie? I didn’t forget the two-for-one coupon. Heh-heh.
But in time Merf has changed from a miser to a giver, a result of assimilation – walking with Jesus causes one to assimilate His nature, and there is none so generous as our Jesus.
A. W. T o z e r : We are all in the process of becoming. We have already moved from what we were to what we are, and we are now moving toward what we shall be. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
A. W. T o z e r : Not only are we in the process of becoming; we are becoming what we love. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
As time passes Merf’s reverence for Christ’s words deepens. It used to be, “Jesus said, ‘Give and it will be given to you.’” And then it became, “Jesus said, ‘Give and it will be…..’” And now it’s “JESUS said, ‘Give and it will be…..’”
As reverence for Christ increases so does reverence for His words. Merf trusts the words because he trusts the speaker of the words. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Though the old Merf never disagreed, neither did he give heed. Today it’s, Truth, Lord! Give me more truth! Even if it hurts, I want it.
Merf learned, and is learning, you can’t outgive God. So he got brave one day and said, “Lord, every month I’m going to give this much,” this much being enough to make the old Merf quite woozy. He opened a bank account and wrote checks whenever and to whoever the Spirit prompted. Well you know, Merf was none the poorer for it. After a year his confidence grew and he doubled the this much. A few years later he increased the this much by fifty percent. It was hard. There’s no way he could give that this much. How would they survive? But somehow, don’t know how, Merf and Mannie never went hungry. Matter of fact, Merf has more cash for himself than ever (and he can take Mannie to classy restaurants.) Giving has become fun. Hmmm. I wonder if I dare increase my giving again.
And Merf made it real hard on the Lord by refusing to work so much. His study of the New Testament led to the conclusion it was not necessarily the Lord’s will for christians to work a forty-hour week. He was certain none of the apostles did. (Yes, for some it would be wrong not to; it’s not a simple matter.) So Merf stopped working fridays (Mannie: You’re not going to work fridays?!), spending that day communing with the Lord, relaxing, soaking in His Presence. (I’m a Sixth Day Adventist. Heh-heh.) And as if that wasn’t enough, a few years later he stops working mondays. (Mannie: Mondays too?!)
How can Merf work less and give more? Answer # 1: He can’t. Answer # 2: “With God all things are possible.”
Now Merf still has to learn to be directed by the Holy Spirit where to direct his givings. Where is no less important than how much. The Holy Spirit, the topic of another article.
C h a l l e n g e : Either you cannot outgive God or you can. If you can’t, you can bless multitudes and it won’t cost you a dime. Think about it. Multitudes saved, thousands fed, wells drilled, orphans sponsored, medicine distributed, evangelists and missionaries financed. And who will finance the calling God has placed upon your life? Don’t look to others to finance your calling; you will be sorely disappointed. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man.”
P r a y e r : Jesus, because we are who we are, it is strenuous to give. If we walk far from You we will not learn to be givers. So draw us to Your side, writer and reader. And Lord, Your anointing, please. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)