Sunday, March 11, 2007

Get or Give?

There’s a guy who came to church (not MGC :-), I hope) with his family. After the service, on their way home, the man was complaining about everything. He said, “The music was too loud. The choir was off-key. The sermon was boring. The announcements were too long. The aircon was not working. The people were unfriendly.” He went on and on. Finally, his son said, “Dad, you’ve got to admit it wasn’t a bad show for just fifty pesos!” (Adapted from the illustration database of Sermon Central)

We tend to have a consumer-mentality, that is, we ask what we can get, not what we can give. Some people hold on to what we call “prosperity doctrine.” They give because they want God to give it back a hundredfold. Yes, I believe that God indeed blesses us when we give. But, if that is our motive, then it is still getting, not giving. That should not be our reason for giving. Also, we give not just to pay for the bills of the church organization and its work. We do not give to have a good “show.” To paraphrase JFK, “Ask not what the church can do for you. Ask what you can do for the church.”

We give because it is our act of worship. “Honor GOD with everything you own; give him the first and the best.” (Proverbs 3:9, The Message) It is one of the means to grow in our faith. “But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV) We can measure one’s growth through his or her giving.

Our giving would also lead others to worship God. “What you are doing is much more than a service that supplies God's people with what they need. It is something that will make many others thank God.” (2 Corinthians 9:12, CEV) One time I felt like I need to give a certain amount of money to a classmate in seminary. It turned out he was in need at that time. He prayed to God for provision. When I gave my gift unexpectedly, it came as an answer to his prayer. Thus, it strengthened his faith in the Lord. That’s what giving does to people.

Brethren, it is more blessed to give than to get.

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