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W. A. Criswell tells of an ambitious young man who told his pastor he’d promised God a tithe of his income. They prayed for God to bless his career. At that time he was making $40.00 per week and tithing $4.00. In a few years his income increased and he was tithing $500.00 per week. He called on the pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise. It was too costly now. The pastor replied, “I don’t see how you can be released from your promise, but we can ask God to reduce your income to $40.00 a week, then you’d have no problem tithing $4.00.” (W. A. Criswell, A Guidebook for Pastors, p. 156).
Why is it that Christians often need to be motivated to give when God has given us so much? God had provided for the Corinthians in such a wonderful way and yet they were hesitant to share what they had with others. One year before this, the Corinthians had enthusiastically said they would share in this offering for the needy saints. Paul had used this zeal of the Corinthians to challenge the Macedonians. The Macedonians had followed through on their promise, but up to this point the Corinthians had done nothing. Since there were special representatives from the Macedonian churches on this financial committee, Paul was concerned that his boasting might not be in vain (Acts 20:4). It would not only be an embarrassment to the apostle but a disgrace to themselves if they did not keep their promise.
While he applies pressure, he tactfully suggests that he is only concerned that they be on schedule (v. 3). Apparently Paul did not see anything wrong or unspiritual about asking people to give. He did not tell them how much to give, but he did expect them to keep their promise. If it is acceptable to make financial commitments for telephones, credit cards etc. then it certainly ought to be O.K. to make commitments for the work of the Lord. Then these commitments should be kept, just the same as the one for our telephone.
God has blessed me financially and materially so that I can give to the needs of others. This means that I need to be alert to the needs of others and be faithful in fulfilling my commitments.
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