Summary: This messages focuses on "how" we should give from a functional viewpoint.
Godly Financial Management Part 2
Paying God Part 7
This morning I will conclude my series on giving. We have covered a lot of information and I want to give you time to digest it all. In my message this morning we will examine the mechanics of giving – meaning how we should actually do it. As I have already taught on being a cheerful giver, I will not cover that in this conclusion but I want to address some of the other things that I have mentioned throughout this series and during our bible study classes.
As you recall we have discussed several situations as it relates to how Churches today take up their tithes and offerings. We have heard about churches where the pastor asks for all of “his” tithers to come down first and give their tithes/offerings. We have heard of churches where they take up offerings repeatedly until they get the amount of money they want for that specific service (sometimes taking up two or three offerings in the same service.) We have heard stories of churches requiring their members to bring in their W-2s so that it could be determined how much they should be able to give to the church (to ensure that they are actually tithing.) We have heard of churches that posts what every member gives publicly for all to see thus promoting or elevating the status of some versus others. All of these examples are examples of how not to take up an offering based on God’s word. This morning I will review how we as individuals, regardless of what a church might require, should give to the Lord. We will begin with giving anonymously.
I. Giving Anonymously
When Jesus was teaching His disciples He told them the following in Matthew 6:1-4: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound the trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Let me confess up front that I have lost my share of rewards because of talking about something that I did for someone else versus keeping my mouth shut. So what I am telling you this morning is not coming from a perfect person, but someone who has been chastised by God. This is and continues to be a learning process. This is not always about bragging about something you’ve done for others, but includes the simple fact of confirming that something had been done when there is no need for you to do it. I have learned that regardless of the reason whatever we do for others should be kept private unless there are some very clear extenuating circumstances. When Jesus taught His followers He taught them to refrain from walking around talking about what they had done for others. He did not want them coming before the Church and giving a testimony about someone they helped as a means of bragging about their “righteousness.” He did not want them sneaking what they had done for others into their everyday conversations like making the statement “I took some food over to so and so because I heard how they were struggling.” What Jesus requires is that we do what we are going to do and walk away. We are not to wait for praise or an acknowledgement for what we did. He wants us to do it and do it secretly. In a perfect situation the person we help would not know that the help came from us as it would be totally anonymous but that cannot always happen. In the twenty-third chapter of Matthew Jesus told His followers the following in verses two through five: “…The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. (Matthew 23:2-5)
In these verses Jesus talked about the mentality of some of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus told His followers to follow their teachings as they taught the Law of Moses but He told not to follow what they do. So what did they do that concerned Jesus? They did everything that they could to draw attention to themselves! They did not lift a hand to relieve someone’s burden, just the opposite – they added to them. All of their deeds were done to draw attention to them. Jesus said that they broadened their “phylacteries.” These were square leather boxes containing four strips of parchments on which was written parts of the book of Deuteronomy. During prayer one was worn on the forehead between the eyebrows and another on the left arm close to the elbow. They were held in place by leather bands, which the Pharisees made broad to attract more attention to themselves and their holiness. Jesus also stated that they lengthen the tassels of their garments. What He was referring to was the hem or fringe on a garment that was placed there in accordance with Numbers 15:38 which the Pharisees made unnecessarily wide. When you read the rest of the chapter you see the other things they did as part of their desire to be recognized for their role in society. They loved the special place of honor at banquets; best seats in the synagogues; respectful greetings; being called Rabbi, etc. All of these things were done for self recognition. Jesus abhorred this as it went against everything He stood for in His ministry. As a matter of fact, when He did something He asked people not to tell that it was Him that did it. Long story short, as it relates to our giving, it should be done anonymously as possible without looking for any recognition to be given to us for what we did. If you seek recognition for something you did for someone else then you have your reward once you receive the recognition! Let’s move on to the next one.