October 31, 2017 by maryruwe
Let’s talk about giving and receiving. When that subject comes up most people immediately think of money but there is giving and receiving in other areas of our lives too. If we give friendship, we will reap friends. If we give kindness then others will be kind to us. If we are critical of others then we will naturally think others are judging us that same way, whether they are or not. However I want to zero in on how our ability to receive is closely connected to our ability to give. The Bible is very explicit in how God views our giving and receiving; not only in the area of finances and prosperity but also in the areas forgiveness, judging and acceptance. There are two sides to every truth in the Bible; the negative result and the positive result. If we walk in obedience to the Word of God then the positive results come to us. If we walk in disobedience then the negative results come. We decide which is in our own lives by how we live by that truth.
Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
The first area is our giving offerings and tithe. We’ll begin with this topic since it is the area most of us are familiar with. The Bible has so much to say about what and how we make offerings to the Lord. Two things are clear: 1) we are to give tithes, and 2) we are to give offerings; and we are to give both of them with a cheerful heart. We are to give of the first fruits of our harvest – in this day and age – that’s our paychecks. (Leviticus 23:10, Deuteronomy 18:4, Proverbs 3:9-10) How we give determines what we receive or reap. If we are stingy with our giving then we cannot expect a great harvest. Our heart determines the kind of return on our giving. If we are selfish and sow sparingly we will also reap sparingly; if we are generous and give bountifully then we will reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) Also, we are to give with purpose and that purpose is to obey and be pleasing to God. It is not the monetary amount that carries the value as much as the condition of our heart. Offerings are not the tithe.
The word tithe means “tenth”. The tithe belongs to the church where you are a member or where you attend on a regular basis. This is made clear in Malachi 3:8-11. Offerings can also be given to your church for special projects such as building funds, or a speaker at a church service or event; or for the missionaries the church itself supports. However these offerings are NOT to take the place of your tithe or be instead of your tithe. (Example: If you earned $300.00 this week then the tithe would be $30.00 for your church. If you decide to also give $15.00 for the church’s building fund – that amount would be added to the tithe amount. We are not to rob from our tithe to give in other offerings). I don’t wish to offend anyone by the simplicity of explanation but I have met some who have never been taught this basic spiritual truth about the difference between the tithe and offerings and as a result many have suffered financial setbacks in their lives. Some have suffered in other areas too.
The second area has to do with walking in forgiveness. Over the years I noticed that when I’ve easily forgiven someone who hurt me, I also had an easier time of receiving forgiveness from my Lord for a wrong that I did. The flip side is when I was slow to forgive others then it was also more difficult for me to receive my own forgiveness. It was not that God was withholding the forgiveness but because when we don’t walk in obedience to the Word of God, our heart condemns for our doing wrong and that makes it hard for us to receive the forgiveness we need and want. Remember, condemnation comes from the devil to pull us away from God but conviction is from the Holy Spirit to draw us to God. Jesus did not come to condemn us but to save us. (John 3:17) Obeying God’s Word brings peace to our heart and disobedience brings torment and anguish to our spirit and soul. In order to walk in forgiveness we must also walk in mercy. The go together. The way I look at it: forgiveness is the divine blessing of the result of mercy. God’s mercy toward us is what moved Him to make the way to forgive us. When we are merciful then we also obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7) If we want to reap forgiveness from our Lord, the Bible says in Matthew 6:15 that if we don’t forgive others then neither will our Father forgive us. Isn’t this a picture of “sowing and reaping”? I think so.
The third area is acceptable and judging. The Bible tells us that the way we judge others is the same way we will be judged. Matthew 7:1 puts it very clear, judge not, that you be not judged, for with whatever measure you use to judge, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:37) I also have noticed over the course of time that those who are judgmental and critical have trouble feeling that they themselves are accepted by others. So if you have trouble feeling or thinking that others don’t like you or accept you – maybe it’s because you have trouble accepting others because of judging them! It’s hard for others to accept us when we are judging them. This does not mean we are not to judge any sin in a person’s life and perhaps confront them, it means that any judgment we do is to be based correctly and righteously according to the Word of God. Personally I think it is better to spend our time judging ourselves before God rather than to be judging others. (John 7:24, 1 Corinthians 11:31)
My prayer this week is for each of us to search our own heart, and for God to reveal to us where we need to make corrections. May we make adjustments necessary in our giving so we are not hinder our ability to receive the blessings of God – whether in our finances or with relationships with others or even our Lord.