Tag Archive | money

A SPECIAL GIFT (guest post)

 

Two months ago my husband had a birthday. From some of the gifts he received, there was one gift that didn’t look as beautiful as it usually packs a gift. There were several lines of creases on the wrapping paper. It seems that the person who gave the gift had to uncover the crease of paper several times before finally succeeding in wrapping the gift. But all our impressions about the gift changed after we opened it. Not because the gift contained expensive item that was deliberately camouflaged with makeshift packaging as some people do to make a surprise. Not also because the gift contained the items we needed. The gift is “only” five small sachets of chocolate powder commonly used for instant drinks. On the sachet there was a pink paper that is usually used by children to make crafts, with congratulatory sentences and simple prayers in the typical handwriting of children. It was a gift from our niece, Joceline, who was only five years old. Instantly our hearts became warm.

Her mother told me how Joceline really loved all forms of chocolate. Usually she often whines with a sad and miserable face if her chocolate has to be given to someone else. But at the time she was very excited about wrapping her chocolate and writing a card to give to my husband. We still remember how Joceline gave her gift with a smile on her lips and sparkling eyes. Although the nominal value of chocolate powder is much lower than other gifts, but now we have more than enough reason to place the gift in a special position in our hearts.

What about us and the Father in Heaven? Have we offered the best of ourselves to the Father and pleased Him? Have we offered this whole life as a special gift to Him?

LOVE AND FAITH

In Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 it is written the story of a poor widow who put two copper mites into the temple treasury. This passage literally tells about giving offerings in the temple, but I believe that we must have the quality of giving as the poor widow did, in every aspect of our lives. For truly everything we do in this life must be our offering and worship to God.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44 NIV)

Jesus didn’t just sit and see, but He view attentively how people put money into the temple treasury. The Lord Jesus observed and perceived each of them. His eyes penetrates to the bottom of the heart. More than just knowing the nominal value of the money, He knows every way of their lives and motivation. Among the many people who made offerings, He praised a poor widow who gave her two copper mites, the smallest and least valuable coin among the coins circulating in Judea at that time.

What was the distinguishes the poor widow’s offering from others? Were the coincidences that made offerings at that time were all rich people and this woman was the only poor person? Were there no other poor widows who also made offerings at that time? We don’t know for sure because the Bible doesn’t tell details about it. But surely this is NOT ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY and also NOT ABOUT RICH OR POOR. This is about HEART ATTITUDE AND LIFE BEHIND AN OFFERING.

Jesus’ words in verse 44 are the key: “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” ” At that time two copper mites was equal to the cost of food for one person per day. Not fancy food, of course. We must remember that she was a poor widow. The two copper mites certainly means a lot to her. It money was all she had to live on, but she gave all to God. That’s what makes her offering worth much higher than the others. In this poor widow’s offering there was a SACRIFICE based on FAITH. He will not give all her living if she didn’t has faith that God must preserve and will never leave her. In other words, letting go of all her living is the same as entrusting her life into God’s hands. That is the BEST part she can give to God.

Now let’s look at this in a broader context. Indeed, we will never be able to “give” to God because everything comes from Him:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalm 24:1 NIV)

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:7-8 NIV)

If the whole universe including ourselves belongs to God, then what can we give to Him? Nothing at all! So, when we “give” offerings to God we are actually “offering back” what is truly His mine. This is not just money, but our entire life! Whatever we do in this life must be an offering that pleases God, but everything must be done in faith in Christ.

Faith is the assurance of our hope for God’s promise. Faith makes us willing to sacrifice because we believe that what we do in God will not be in vain. We sacrifice our pleasure in sin and fleshly desires in order to obey God’s word. Faith affirms us to be faithful until the end because we believe that there is a reward that awaits us in Heaven. And only faith makes us fully able to entrust our whole lives in His hands as long as we walk in the world. Faith must be the basis of all our actions, because without faith everything we offer is like ordinary activity without eternal value. And above all, LOVE must be our driving force and main motivation because without love all our sacrifices are nothing and useless.

…and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2b-3 NIV)

SINCERE

In previous events, Jesus criticized the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23:1-36; Mr 12: 38-40; Luke 11:37-54; Luke 20:45-47). These Pharisees and Scribes were people who were very respected and influential at that time. Their words were like the law that the Jews must obey. Jesus called them hypocrites, who knew and taught the truth but they didn’t do it. They look godly and holy on the outside, but they full of trash and decay inside. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 NIV).  Everything they do is done for people to see…” (Matthew 23:5a NIV). It seems that at that time there was a special pride if it was seen as a pious and devout person, so there was a tendency to do everything in order to be seen by others. In the midst of such a spiritual atmosphere, sincerity is something rare.

Return to the poor widow with her two copper mites. What can be proud of with two copper mites compared to the offerings of rich people who must be jingling loudly when put in the offering treasury. The jingling might invite admiration and respect from the people who saw it. This was in contrast to the poor widow’s offering. There was no pride gained by this widow in the human eye even though she gave all her income. I believe that she only gave sincerely to her Lord without seeking human praise, because it was impossible for Jesus to appreciate this woman’s offering if she did it with the wrong heart.

God sees the heart more than performance. Incorrect motivation makes everything we do become wrong. Doing good but not sincere is the same as deceiving ourselves, others, and God. Sincerity means what we do and say are the same as what is in the heart. More than that, we are like the Pharisees and hypocritical scribes. If we long for our lives to be offerings that are pleasing to the Father, then all our deeds must be truly sincere and not just look beautiful on the packaging.

Everything we do in sincerity and sacrifice to give the best that is moved only by love and based on faith in Christ will be an offering that pleases God.

A HEART THAT IS BANDED TO GOD

In fact, none of our offerings can amaze and fascinate God because wealth, talents, and creativity that we offer are come from Him. No matter how good we sing, it will not be as beautiful as the singing of angels in Heaven. As great as our ministry or work that we do, there will always be weaknesses. What distinguishes one person’s offering from others is that HEART is involved because there are no things we do without involving the heart, whether our hearts are right or wrong! In the heart there is a motivation for each of our actions, which in turn will DETERMINE THE QUALITY of our offerings.

The gift from Joceline is worthless compared to other gifts we received. But because of the attitude of her heart – love, sincerity, sacrifice and willingness to provide what she herself likes, also joyful when she was giving up her gift – making her simple gift becomes a special gift. How about our hearts??

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

HOW FAR or TO WHOM we believe, love, sacrifice and give, it’s all DEPEND ON WHAT OR WHO IS the treasure to us. If God becomes our most valuable treasure, our hearts will be banded to Him. If our heart truly banded to God, we will definitely make Him the center and our main reason for living this life. The poor widow has offered her two copper mites to God. Now, let us rededicate our “two copper mites” – that is our whole lives – as a special gift for Father with love, faith and sincerity. I believe the Holy Spirit is with us. His strength and power will help us not only to choose what is right, but also to do it with the right heart and in a way that pleases God. Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo by: Sella Irene

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THE TITHE (guest post)

the-tithe

Every believer will surely want to please God and live in His entire promise fulfillment. Some of us are praying, fasting, and serving God with hope will be blessed. It’s not wrong because God promise and longs to bless His children. But on the other hand there are certain things that we “should do first” before all of God’s promises fully fulfilled in our lives. One is to “give” tithes.

 

RECOGNIZING GOD GREATNESS AND WORKS

In a battle in Genesis 14, Sodom and some of its allies conquered by king Chedorlaomer. They took all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Lot and all his possessions. Hearing brother was taken captive, then Abraham and his men were trained to chase and finally defeated them. Abraham took home back Lot and various possessions booty.

After Abraham returned with triumphant from the battle, Melchizedek meet Abraham and bringing the bread and wine. Then Melchizedek blessed Him. After that was written in verse 20“And he gave him a tithe of all…”

Abraham, the father of all who believe, the owner promises “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed…..” (Genesis 22:18), gave tithes to Melchizedek after Melchizedek blessed him!

Who was Melchizedek so Abraham gave tithes to him?

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God….first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” (Hebrews 7:1-2)

Now observe and consider how great  this was to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth  of the spoils. And it is true that those descendants of Levi who are charged with the priestly office are commanded in the Law to take tithes from the people–which means, from their brethren–though these have descended from Abraham. But this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham  and blessed him who possessed the promises . Yet it is beyond all contradiction that it is the lesser person who is blessed by the greater one.(Hebrews 7:4-7 AMP)

Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek because he admitted that Melchizedek is greater and higher than himself!

As believers, giving a tithe to God means recognizing the greatness of God and recognizes that all blessings we receive are from God. Tithing means to believe that God, Jehovah Jireh, is able to maintain and meet all our needs.

 

BELONGS TO GOD

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, BELONGS TO THE LORD; it is holy to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30 NIV)

Indeed, when bringing tithes to the house of the Lord, we are not “give” offerings but “bringing back” what actually belongs to God. But I still use the word “give” because God is not going to rob us. Although it is a must to do, but God wants us to do it not because of coercion, but with joy and love Him.

Tithe is belongs to God, God’s rights. It is not “if we can or “if we want or “if we are able”, but “WE MUST”! No matter in abundance or shortage, we must bring tithe to God.

 

TITHE IS A TITHE

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.” (Deuteronomy 14:22 NKJV)

Tithe is not a freewill offerings as we like. Tithe is a tithe, should not be reduced. God doesn’t look big or small of the nominal we give but God rather look to the amount is actually one-tenth of our income or not.

Some Christians that living in abundance think that the number of one-tenth of their income is too big, then they cut a certain number and assume that it is okay because after reducing the amount still very big. Otherwise, that who living in shortage assumes that it doesn’t matter if they not give tithe.

God’s word speaks strictly about those who do not give tithe properly:

Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You?  tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8 AMP) 

People who do not do or do not fully bringing back the tithe called the fraudsters and robbers who take what belongs to God.

 

TWO PROMISES

“I have a small income and not enough. If I still have to set aside for tithing, how can I meet all of my needs?”  Some of God’s child who have financial problem will think like that. Mathematically is true and logical but we don’t live based on the world standard. We actually lives in the law of Kingdom of God that supernaturally far beyond of human logic.

We believe that God is not selfish God who demands us to do His command without caring about our situation. God isn’t an extortionist and not a beggar. God is the owner of the entire universe and everything in it, including the breath of our lives. God doesn’t need our money. Then for what God asks us to give tithe?

 

TITHE OPEN THE DOOR OF BLESSING

Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10 AMP)

There is power in obedience. When we move to do God’s word, then the power of the word will work wonders and make the promise of God becomes real in our lives.

By Malachi 3:10, when we bring the tithes to the house of God, then God will open the windows of heaven and pour His blessings to us abundantly.

When you have very wealthy, God is able to bless you more. And if you are still in a state of a mediocre or even the needy, do not worry about your finances will worsen when you set aside a tenth of all your income.

We will not become richer by “reducing the amount of our tithe” and we will not become poorer because of “we cut our rations to bring tithe to God

I love to give a short testimony to you. Compared with people who have a lot of possessions, I am not a rich people. My life isn’t luxurious based on the world size. There are certain situations I also have to be thrifty. But no matter how much I get I always give tithes with joy and gratitude to God. I don’t delay it, do not bid, but even prioritize it. After tithing then I start to use the rest for other needs.

Until today I proved that I never lack because (Please forgive me should use the following words) I must cut ten percent of my budget for tithe. In fact, by faith I dare to say that I am rich in Christ. My life is happy. God has always helped me in all situations. God always provides all of my needs with His way and always on time. I enjoy His cares and loves. Also I am grateful to His way by using me to be a blessing. God’s promise is “Yes” and “Amen”

 

SEED PROTECTION

“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”  (Genesis 8:22 NKJV)

 “…..for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7b NKJV)

The Word of God depicts very clearly that this life is to sow and reap. A student must sow through studying diligently to achieve graduation with good grades. A marketing must sow through friendliness, product presentations, proposals, etc. to reap consumer confidence. An athlete must sow through exercise discipline and unyielding to victory in the match. Every aspect of life is about sowing and reaping. It is the same in the terms of finance and tithing.

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:10 NKJV)

Our job is to sow the seeds that have been provided by God. But there is time to wait between sowing and reaping. It is a crucial time span that will determine the outcome of our harvest because there is the devourer can eat the seed we sow and destroy the fruit so that eventually run out and do not give any results. But God gave His promise:

Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house….. And I will rebuke the devourer  for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-11 AMP)

When we obey bring our tithes, God promised give protection of our seed we sow in the land of our life so that it can grow and produce fruit.

Now let’s together see our lives. If there are certain things that we try the best but always failed or didn’t give the outcome as they should be, there may be a devourer destroys our seed and fruit. Are we doing disobedience especially about tithing? Let us pray and allow the Holy Spirit shows it to us and immediately repent

From the two points above, we know that the tithe is not to meet God’s needs but for the sake of ourselves.

 

ALL MUST

God gives the right to the sons of Levi to receive the tithe from the people as it is written in Numbers 18:21. But God’s Word also says that the Levites had to give tithe.

Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak (Hebrews 7:9 NKJV)

If Abraham, the father of faith, offered a tithe, then there is no single reason for us to not give tithe as well. No matter who we are and not matter what is our profession (church full-timer, evangelist, employee, entrepreneurs, etc.) ALL MUST bring tithe to God.

 

OBEDIENCE AND PURE HEART

Not bring the tithe it is the same with shut the door of blessing and opening the door of devourer to damage the fruit and foil our harvest.

God promises a blessing and protection for those who obey to bring tithe. Believe and put hope on that promise. God is pleased when we understand His word and then waiting for Him to fulfill it. But do not give tithe is only a motivation to pursuit His blessing. Scripture does not say “Wait for His blessing” but “Wait on the Lord”.

When we give tithe simply to waiting for God’s blessing then we will be people who always make calculation with God. We will miss love and purity of our faith.

This time let me remind you of something that I am sure we are all already know, that the tithe belongs to the Lord and we have to bring it completely to God.

There are two teaching about  to whom we should to bring our tithe.  Some churches teach the tithe should be given to the church,  some other allow tithe give directly to the needy. We don’t have to debate this thing.  Let us obey our church leader in which we attend,  embedded and grow: “Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them , for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account . (Hebrews 13:17a AMP). The Holy Spirit will lead us to the whole truth.

Dear readers, please allow me once again in the love of Christ to remind you:

All that we have received is not merely our efforts. All is a blessing and a gift from Heaven. Therefore bring our tithe faithfully. Don’t reduce the amount because the tithe is belongs to God, but do it all with gratitude and full of joy for our loves and obedience to God Father. His promise is sure to be evident to anyone who obeys Him.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV)

 

AMEN

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo credit: Google images (edit with pixlr app)

NOTE:

Dear readers, thank you so much for your precious time to read this post. Karina still on vacation in Japan. All comments will reply by Karina when she come back next month. Once again thank you and God bless you all. (Warm regards from Karina)