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Sometime ago when I was much younger, a Pastor visited our local Church and held three days program. I was very zealous, wanting to be in Church not for the sake of being religious but because I was very hungry and in search of knowledge. I would always go with my writing materials and come home with it filled up because sometimes I note the preachers word for word.
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In this particular program, the preacher preached about giving and kept emphasizing on how people who had given before experienced a sudden breakthrough in their finances. He also gave many instances and called forth those who were interested in the “next level”. He talked so many beautiful things about giving that it kept sounding in my heart. He said he was only going to pray for those who gave and I had no money to give. What I had was my mobile Java enabled Sagem device. It was a great device then. I removed my Sim Card and dropped the phone in the offering basket.
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I learnt a lot some years after that and after I had giving other things like money in those kinds of meeting. I was expecting something big to happen, I was expecting the kind of testimonies I hear about those who had given previously to happen to me. I was thinking maybe there would be miracle alert from my bank account but all that never happened. I later realized those things I heard aren’t responded to wasn’t truly the gospel but an adulterated from of getting money for people in the name of Church.
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In the Christian community, anytime giving is mentioned what always comes to our mind is giving in church because we have always been made to believe that Church altar is the fertile ground on which our giving establishes our prosperity or our Pastor is the one with the financial blessings with which we can prosper. We are also told that when we give God gives us double but when we don’t give God closes the door of blessings on us. As spiritual as it sounds something is very wrong with that dogma. It has no biblical backing unless one has to go over to the old testament, quote verses out of context build a mountain of misconceptions on it using vocabularies that sounds spiritual and “Christocentric”.
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How could we explain this when the Bible clearly says that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3)? Didn’t Jesus say that all other things shall be added to those who has sought for the Kingdom and it’s righteousness (Matthew 6:33)? If we have been blessed as believers, how do you tell believers that their Pastor is custodian to their financial blessings? Doesn’t that sound contradictory when God has given us Jesus in whom all things consist (Colossians 1:17)? Talking about God giving us many folds of what we have given, how could we explain to believers that God hasn’t released His all to us yet? It is either those teaching this are lies or the Bible is a scam…. However, let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)! I think there has been a kind of deliberate mix up and mess up in the “prosperity message”.
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Does this mean I am discouraging giving? No! I think people should give with the right mindset. The Church isn’t a ponzi scheme that ask people to bring in money and receive 500% more of the money but that is what a lot of preachers have reduced the Church to. I keep searching my Bible to find a place to hold on to with regards to what they are teaching and I have not seen! I believe that when Christians are taught right, they will give right without been manipulated into something that isn’t true. It is not an news that a lot of ministers are into the ministry not because they want to do anything for For but because they feel it is a great platform where people are easily manipulated into giving using some bible quotations. They are serving their own belly! (Romans 16:17-28)
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Giving is not an escape route from the process! Don’t let anyone deceive you on that! No matter what you give, you must still follow the process to succeed. Look at Jacob who gave his father food and got blessed by his father. Did he succeed in a flash? Oh no! His success was growing gradually and it even took 14 years for him to quit serving Laban. Anything that promises you success without process is scam! (Proverbs 13:11-13) Church people often call some giving “seed of faith” and you are made to believe that this seed of faith brings an instant money increase. Have you really thought of that word “seed of faith”? Planting a seed is just the beginning of a process, you will have to keep an eye, water and fertilize the process! You will keep watching, working and waiting so that it becomes a successful harvest! Seeding doesn’t evade the process… Seed time is part of the process and not a tool to escape the process. You don’t give, go home and sleep for one month expecting an Angel to drop money back on your bed…. If that’s your motive you’ve got to wake up!
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However, what should be the motive behind the believer’s giving? With the current way giving is preached, believers are raised to become selfish and materialistic therefore becoming too self centered that even their worship to God revolves around expectations of personal gain. Jesus said we shouldn’t worry of what to eat and drink (Matthew 6:24-34, 1 Peter 5:7) but a lot of believers have make it become a burden and so they give not because they know they are blessed because because they feel that could be a bribe to God for extra blessings. God doesn’t need your giving to be God, He doesn’t need your giving to do what He want to do! There are great reasons every believer should give and there is also the right way to give.
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We ought to give because we know that we are blessed regardless of what we have not seen (Genesis 1:28, Ephesians 1:3). Believers should give as an act of faith and not necessarily to get God do something! (2 Corinthians 9:7) We are people of faith, we walk by faith and not by sight! We give knowing and trusting God that we are receiving what has already been made available to us. This is very different from giving to get God act fast! By faith we know God has done it all and we are giving because we know it is not our last. A believer has no last mite, that you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean all things has not been made available to you. You give because you are blessed. When you give hoping to get double, your motive is self and you are acting in the flesh but when you give cheerfully and by faith (not pretence) knowing that you have abundant supply, it is a spiritual act.
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We ought to give as part of our necessarily duty and commitment in our local assembly. In a country like Germany where people pay Church-tax to the government who in turn give the money to the Church, they have devised a system in which you will understand that you’re financially responsible for the development of the Church and it also reduces the excesses and manipulations coming from pulpit to pew. That system isn’t obtainable everywhere. You should be financially committed to where you are taught the word and to who teaches you the word. If you think giving in Church isn’t important, how do you think your Pastor can concentrate on studying and teaching you God’s word? How do you also think the Church building can be comfortable for you and others? How do you imagine your local assembly to do soul winning programs and conferences without proper finance? Sometimes its these burdens that push many ministers into manipulating people to give. If you are paying tax to your country and state don’t you think it of high necessity that the Church you belong to needs your full participation in funding? Even though certain Pastors embark on running unnecessary projects that aren’t soul oriented, you ought not to withdraw your giving as long as you remain in that Church. Paul said those who teach us the word are worthy of double honor and also said that if they bless us of spiritual things we ought to bless the with carnal things (1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Corinthians 9:11).
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We ought to give as a practice of love. We hardly hear this in Churches these days because it seem our preacher feel they are in competition with the beggars on the street. What happens when your neighbor have no food to eat? What happens when your neighbors child is dropped out from school? What happens when you see little children on the streets wasting away because they had no opportunity to be better? Some believers look at these situations and say “may God help them” while they go ahead empty their account and give the same money that would have brought meaning to these persons lives to the Church for the renovation of Pastor’s toilet! Some would change the Pastor’s wardrobe when they have a neighbor who doesn’t dress fine…. That’s a high degree of hypocrisy. They don’t even give in Church with the right mindset, they only give in church to get a hundred fold based on what they have been taught. I am not saying we shouldn’t give to Pastors but we must really find the balance! You must also note that the pastoral ministry isn’t the only ministry in the Christian community! If you find it uneasy to help the poor you aren’t practicing the Christian love (Ephesians 4:28, Galatians 6:2, Hebrews 6:10, Hebrews 13:16, Matthew 25:35-40).
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Don’t be deceived anymore, let the word of God guide you! That it is preached by your popular man of God doesn’t make it truth! Truth is clearly revealed in the word of God. If you feel your Pastor is the only custodian to the interpretation of the word of God what is the essence of the Holy Spirit in you? Some have really shut the Holy Spirit off by always refusing to listen to the Holy Spirit and rather listen their almighty Pastor. Some have really built a belief system around their Pastor that limits them from listening personally to the Holy Spirit for themselves. God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we should not take in everything! That’s what the Bible meant by saying “let no one be your teacher” (1 John 2:27) it never meant that we shouldn’t listen to the teachers of the word or submit to Pastors but it means that we should not let teachers teach us of themselves but of the Holy Spirit, we should not let dogmas be our guide but the doctrine of Christ. So let no man bring you his personal opinion of the word but that which the Holy Spirit is revealing through Him. Paul said our allegiance shouldn’t be to men but to God! He planted the seed of the word, Apollos watered it but it was God who brought the increase (1 Corinthians 6:3)! How do you know that a preacher is preaching the truth? When its not in line with the new testament truth, it is not for you! In Acts 17:11 the Bible commended Berean Christians because they examined the word they received with the same eagerness with which they received it!
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The Bible says God blesses the works of your hands, your hands ought to be doing something (Deuteronomy 28:12, Psalm 90:17)! You don’t borrow money to give hoping to pay pack when some fairy “ponzi scheme” God throws double on you! You work with your hands, stay diligent and you see yourself stand before kings (Proverbs 22:29)! That’s what the Bible says! To be diligent includes being consistent and dedicated to the process! Giving isn’t a route to avoid the process of success. In the new testament you aren’t on the list of people to be blessed, you are blessed already and you discover your inheritance by working and not by giving! You give because you know who you are. You also work because you know this is the channel through which those blessings will flow. Paul didn’t ask lazy believers to give, he asked them to work and also help others who are in need (Ephesians 4:28).
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In the Bible, seed sowing implies a lot of things including actions. But let’s talk about sowing in practicality. With this I mean investing rightly. To sow seed doesn’t mean to take your capital and give in Church, hunger will deal with you. God wants you to invest your money rightly because you can be an effective partner of the gospel when you have a steady stream of income. I get angry when I see believes borrow or even steal to give in Church because they have been told they receive more when they give! One banker had to illegally take funds from bank just to give, get his “abundance” and pay back but he was caught and it became headline in the news… It is ridiculous and insult to the body of Christ and the truth of God’s word. Another place where seed was mentioned likened the gospel to seed sowing and it bears fruit when planted on the right soul. We need to be open to the Holy Spirit who guides us beyond the limits of mortals. The Holy Spirit also guides us to do the right thing at the right time! Let no man talk you out of giving when you’re convinced of the Holy Spirit, let no man also manipulate you into giving with selfish motive because God loves it when you give in faith and love.
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God bless you!
#GracefulGeorge

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