New Testament Giving Part 4

This is part 4 of our New Testament Giving study that we are studying in our home fellowship. We are so excited at how the Holy Spirit is teaching us through The Word and how He is bringing others in close to us as we all seek His face and purpose for our lives.

I have a friend who asked me before about why we had put our name on the envelope of our giving when we attended a local fellowship and the thought hadn't even occurred to me. She showed me these verses and asked if it was Biblical for me to put my name on the envelope.


Matthew 6:3-4: "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

Matthew 6:1 "1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."
I began thinking about this and indeed God showed me that I should not put my name down. I wondered, "why does the 'church' ask for the name?" Why do they keep track of our giving? It really is only God's business who gives and how much they give. Some argue that they like to write it off on their taxes, but what does the IRS have to do with our relationship with God? Aren't they supposed to be separated from religion? Aren't we, as Christians, not supposed to mix in with the government in matters such as this? After questioning all this I decided I was no longer going to tell anyone how much I gave, or that I gave at all.

As we studied further, we found that God does have something to say about how much we give. Although it isn't ten percent, like some 'preachers tell you it is. (More on the ten percent later in this series.)

Luke 6:38: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
The amount of giving is completely up to us. I believe the Holy Spirit will tell us who to give to and lead us accordingly. I believe He will bless us in proportion to our giving. I'm not sure I believe that God is going to necessarily give to us exactly to the penny, back what we gave. I also don't know if I believe He will always give back to us monetarily. But one thing is certain He gives us His promise right there in Luke.

I also found in His Word that He is pleased when we give up something we have, in order to provide for someone else. I don't think this means give up our home and be homeless so someone else can have a home, I think we need to use discernment. In this passage, Jesus was speaking to a rich man and I believe this was a test of where his heart truly was. We know that 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also'. Are we willing, at least, to sell something sentimental to us, in order to provide for someone less fortunate? Just something to think about.
Luke 18:22: "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."
We should also give with simplicity. I do not think it's wise to be lavish in giving to one person. I have received lavish gifts from people that made me feel uncomfortable. I feel that when we give lavishly it seems to be boastful and we are taught from 1 Corinthians that love is not boastful.

Romans 12:8: "Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."
So just how often did the believers take up a collection to help the widows, fatherless, and the poor? Did they have shiny gold plates and pass them to each individual? What if some of those in attendance at the gathering were the poor who had nothing to give? How would that make them feel that they couldn't put anything in the plate? I can't find anywhere in scripture where the Apostles passed plates to each individual. In one passage we find them laying their giving at the Apostles feet, but we'll look at that in a future study. For now let's look at when they gave?

1 Corinthians 16:2: "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
Some people use this verse to spread the doctrine of Sunday worship, the first day. Yet I can't find where they said we must worship on the first day. (I'm not saying that we shouldn't meet for worship on the first day of the week. As a matter of fact, I believe we should meet as often as possible and worship together. But I do not feel that we should limit ourselves to one day, or indicate to others that one day is mandatory for a day of worship. I think God wants to be worshipped every day.)

What I did find was their gathering was to do business on that day. The business of collecting for the widows, fatherless, and poor. The early believers met on the first day of the week, which on our calendar is Sunday. They met to bring their collection in and to distribute to the poor. Think about the distribution. I have never seen a fellowship distribute to the poor the day they took their offering. (As a matter of fact, I have not seen a fellowship provide for the finances of these people in my life. Not that some fellowships don't. I just haven't seen it myself.)

I believe this is similar to what we see today as welfare. Yet it wasn't the state who provided for them, it was the believers! You will see in the next study that the early believers took care of their own, firs,t and NO ONE had lack! No one lived above the others.

4 *click here* to dialogue with us:

{ Clara Van Nattan } at: June 16, 2009 at 7:02 PM said...

I think the reason people like others to know what they have given is because humans are often so prideful, sadly. In our society each person must do better than everyone else and gain acclaim - and sadly, often even if you would wish to keep your giving between yourself and the Lord, if anyone else is involved they like to proclaim how wonderful you are for what you did. I've got to the point where I will not give if I have reason to believe that someone will know I did it, apart from God. My mother always told me to not let my right hand know what the left hand is doing (regarding giving to the Lord/the Lord's service) from when I was a very small child (she was quoting Scripture, of course), and that is something I always try to keep in mind - think about that... Not even the other half of your body to know what you did! That's strong language! I personally have found in the past that when I give secretly (or as secretly as possible) to the Lord from the bounty He has given me, He seems to always provide for my every need and then bless me way above that again, in a multitude of ways... He is SO faithful! It is wonderful to read of others coming to the same conclusion - thank you for sharing your thoughts on this :)
Just a note, I don't think that giving to the Lord and taking care of the Lord's people is "business"... I like to think of it as 'service' for the Lord :) Business makes me think of the shady businesses of the world :P
Something interesting I noticed when I was studying this subject - not sure if you noticed this - is that the first responsibility for taking care of widows falls on the widow's family - and THEN if the family can't (or won't) take care of the widow, the church (body of Christ) should take care of the widow :) I wrote a study of this subject just at the beginning of this month, and I thought you might be interested to read it in light of your own recent studies, I think you will probably find it interesting if you have a moment to read it :) I love the way the Scriptures are so clear about how we should take care of those who have needs - here is the above mentioned study: http://danielandclara.blogspot.com/2009/06/our-focus-part-nine.html

{ Sisterlisa } at: June 16, 2009 at 7:27 PM said...

Yes i agree with you. When I said business it was not meant to say that serving God is a 'business' but just that the duty of distributing to the needy was not necessarily like worship or prayer. It was a transaction. I dislike how modern 'churches' today make the Lord's house a business for profit. Some aspire to build sports facilities or banquet halls to rent to the community to make money to further their own agenda. I believe this is something the Lord is to pleased with.

And yes I agree about the widows too. Absolutely. And the younger ones should marry. Sadly I know many widows who have grown children that will have nothing to do with them. They don't send any relief at all and the 'churches' they belong to aren't caring for them either.

{ Martha } at: June 24, 2009 at 12:09 PM said...

Last year, I was pressured into giving a tenth of my pay check at church. I remember my sister asked me why I did not sign my name on the envelopes and I told her that it was for God's eyes only :) it was the ultimate test for me, to give so much money without the knowledge of the church members. I think I caught a few disapproving glances from a few church members when tithing was the topic for the day :o) oopsy daisy!

{ Sisterlisa } at: June 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM said...

Martha, you'll laugh at this one; I asked your sister one day about why she wasn't writing her name and she gave me the same answer. After that I quit doing that too. ;O)

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