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In this episode, we are going to lay out what we believe the Bible says about the fourth sequential principle of money management, OFFERINGS. For over 30 years, we have passionately taught that after we give generously back to the Lord of our first-fruits and blessings, and then take a portion of the remaining money and save it, we are to then spend wisely, and pay our bills on time. Once our bills are paid, we have the privilege to look for the needs of others, and be a blessing through what we call “offering”.
There are a lot of money management philosophies and programs today. However, I do not know of one out there that brings in this key, critical, and BIBLICAL aspect of stewardship and personal finances in this position – right after paying your bills!
When we see the needs of individuals and ministries, we tend to have a reactive, rather than proactive response. We look into our wallet or bank account to see what, if anything, we can afford to give. In our stewardship framework, we believe that Christians should proactively set aside funds in their budget to meet these needs when they arise.
This sounds good, but is it biblical?
TITHES VS. OFFERINGS
- A tithe is a specific amount (e.g. 10% of your income) that you give first (remember, give of our first-fruits – episode #3), and an offering is anything extra that you give or bless someone with beyond your predetermined tithe to your local church.
- Offerings can go to your church (e.g. missions fund, building fund, deacons fund, etc.), a para-church ministry (e.g. Samaritan’s Purse, Campus Crusade etc.), or it could be used to bless a new mom, help an elderly person, or buy groceries for your neighbor that is out of work.
- Proverbs 21:13, “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor, will himself call out and not be answered.”
- Jon Courson in his commentary states, “Many times people wonder why God doesn’t seem to answer their prayers. Here is one of the reasons the Bible gives. That is, if we ignore the cry of the poor, when we cry in our own time of need, we won’t be heard. But we’re too busy or self-absorbed to answer them. Our text tells us that if we’re not compassionate toward others, our prayers can indeed be hindered.”
- There is a cause and effect aspect tied to this verse.
- Also, take a look at 1 John 3:17-18 which deals with our priority of “offerings”:
- “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
Let us take a brief look at a few other passages of Scripture that speak directly to looking for the needs of others:
- We are to remember the poor. “They asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).
- We should not be stingy toward those in need. “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor, will himself call out and not be answered” (Prov. 21:13)
- We please God when we help and encourage others. “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb. 13:16).
- We are rewarded by God for our generosity toward the poor and needy. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Prov. 19:17)
With Kids: Surprise Generosity
Training our children to have a heart of generosity is important, and Surprise Generosity can help you do that. There are three steps in Surprise Generosity:
- LOOK – for opportunities to bless someone, through:
- Surprise package – a gift given anonymously
- Surprise service – physically meeting a need of another through your time, talents, and your treasure. You pay for the needed resources, if any.
- PRAY – for discernment:
- About your resources, and to whom you will bless.
- Let the children make decisions, especially to whom to bless.
- Decide how you want to surprise this person/family, either through:
- A surprise package
- A surprise service
- ACT – Surprise someone by being financially generous or serving
- Set up a time and place, and get items needed to serve whom you picked.
- Consider giving anonymously to your recipient, through another individual, a pastor, or by door-drop.
- LOOK – for opportunities to bless someone, through:
Without Kids: Build it into your budget.
- In your budget, include a category or line that is called “offerings,” if you do not have one already.
- “Fund: this category monthly. You pick the amount…$10, $100, $1000…or whatever works within your budgetary framework.
- Look for the needs of others:
- In your extended family
- In your neighborhood
- In your work environment
- In your church family (even ask your pastor if he knows of a need)
- In your church – projects, missions, ministry needs. Note: While giving to things such as a benevolence or deacons fund is an easy way to give to those in need, we encourage individuals to take a personal interest in finding people to bless.
- Parachurch Ministries
- Consider either depleting that “fund” monthly or doing a “build-up” so that a blessing could be of a greater amount!
Here is a good statement, thought, and principle from author and Pastor, Randy Alcorn from his book “The Treasure Principle” –
“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.”
It is not wrong to take any “extra” cash and/or cash flow and plan to use it for things such as projects, but you should also consider taking a portion of it and giving generously to those in need.
Key Takeaway: We should look for an excuse to put God’s wealth back into circulation.
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