A Heart Matter
Giving to the Lord is the topic of songs, books, and sermons. But, it is not the priority of God’s people. When we consider the vast numbers of people that profess to know Christ as Savior with the small number of actual “contributors” to the church financially, it is obvious that somewhere along, there has been a disconnect from Biblical reality. American Christians have quietly determined that faithful giving of our finances is optional and God does not really expect for the Christian to worship through giving financially to the Lord. The fact that the majority continually enjoy the benefits of the few that do give consistently without giving would demonstrate that conviction to support the work of the Lord financially is just not there.
Over the years of being a pastor, I have had people want to confess their sorrow over many different sinful things in their lives. I can say that I don’t remember anyone coming to me broken over stealing from God. This culture believes too much in self-gratification to experience the power of the Holy Spirit’s work on the heart with regards to faithful stewardship of wealth. And, when you hear a modern Christian speak of “sacrifice”, it is in a sentence about how to make a house payment to get to live in a certain community, or how to pay for sports or band trips in hopes that a child will get a college scholarship, or how a family worked together to save enough for that dream vacation. I have not heard any testimonies of folks sacrificing to make sure that they had enough to give faithfully to the Lord. Sacrifice is a heart issue, not a money issue.
The outstanding Baptist preacher, Dr. George W. Truett, was helping a struggling congregation raise money for their church building. They still needed $6500. Truett found the response weak. With only $3000 pledged he said in exasperation, “Do you expect me to give the other $3500 needed to reach your goal? I’m just a guest here today.”
Suddenly, a woman near the back stood. Looking at her husband seated on the platform recording pledges, she said in a shaking voice, “Charlie, I wonder if you would be willing for us to give our little home? We were offered exactly $3500 cash for it yesterday. If the Saviour gave His life for us, shouldn’t we make this sacrifice for Him?”
Truett reported that the fine husband responded with equal generosity. “Yes, Jennie, I was thinking the same thing.”
Turning to Truett, he said, “Brother Truett, if it’s needed, we’ll raise our pledge by $3500.” Silence reigned for a few moments. Then some of the folks began to sob. Those who fifteen minutes earlier had refused to do more now either added their names to the list or increased their donations. In a short time, their goal had been achieved, and Charlie and Jennie didn’t have to forfeit their home. Their willingness to sacrifice had stimulated others to similar generosity. (copied).
Paul spoke good words about a generous people in 2 Cor.8:1-5 – And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.