FOUR PILLARS OF GIVING - REUVEN DORON
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38.
One of our primary calls and privileges in our newfound life in Christ is GIVING. In fact, so vital and central GIVING is to our new nature, that Jesus Himself, in the Sermon on the Mount, placed GIVING as one of the principle pillars of His Kingdom right alongside love, forgiveness, prayer and fasting. GIVING has always characterized the great patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith, from Abraham and Sarah to Moses, to Hannah, to David and all those who reflected the perfect God through their imperfect personalities in their generation. Now the legacy comes down to you and to us, to reflect the nature of our GIVING GOD to our crooked and perverse generation. How can this be done?
Of the many great offerings recorded in the Bible, four are of superior impact as they demonstrate the four pillars that empower and liberate the human spirit to rise and soar in high places with God - the Giver of all gifts. These four principles are ► generosity ► power ► abandonment ► and sacrifice.
Exodus 35 describes the great offering that the children of Israel collected in the wilderness to build the Tabernacle of God, His “mobile sanctuary,” on their way to the Promised Land. Responding the Moses’ call, the Scripture says that “... everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, [and] they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments...” Ex 35:21.
So great was this offering and so filled with extravagant faith and generosity, that the builders of the Tabernacle eventually were forced to ask the people to stop giving and “...spoke to Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the LORD commanded....’ So Moses gave a commandment... saying, ‘Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.’ And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done - indeed too much.” Ex 36:5-7.
Too much! The people gave so much that it became TOO MUCH, and the offering had to be brought to an end by the leadership’s intervention. Have we ever given more than enough? Have we ever offered too much to God that we had to be told to stop giving? The Tabernacle that was built from this abundant offering served Israel for hundreds of years to come, housing the very presence of the Lord who carried them on eagles’ wings and set them secure in their Land. Let’s be sure we learn this lesson from ancient Israel.
The first offering recorded in the New Testament demonstrates this second great pillar. As the young Jerusalem Church was rapidly growing by the Apostles’ teachings and the power of the Holy Spirit, filled with zeal and faith, the scripture tells us that “... great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid [them] at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” Acts 4:33-35.
It is of significance to realize that this offering was laid at the apostles’ feet in a very dramatic and demonstrative way. The money was not neatly collected in a basket or carried away in a collection box. Rather, the funds were placed UNDER the feet of the apostles, signifying that the god of mammon and greed of this fallen world was placed under their feet and made subject to the authority of Jesus Christ in His Church.
God’s people are called to live and walk in such a way that we submit our material concerns and aspirations to the Lord’s ownership and authority. We do so in such a tangible and demonstrative way that the message is loud and clear – “I am not in bondage to the God of Mammon and my resources are free to serve the King’s purposes and the Kingdom’s goals.”
The point is freedom and liberty from economical oppression of any kind, a battle we all must fight and win while in this world. And giving, born of faith, is one of our weapons! Have you learned the secret of investing, while yet in this world, in such a way so as to harvest everlasting and imperishable returns? Your giving reveals your faith or fear disposition, and we shall all reap according the seeds we have sown. This is the simple law of the harvest.
The gospel of Mark tells us that while the Lord was at Bethany, “... a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil... she broke the flask and poured [it] on His head. But there were some who were indignant... and said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarius and given to the poor...’ But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always... She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.” Mark 14:3-9.
300 denarius was a lot of money! A denari in bible times was worth one day’s wages. 300 denarius, therefore, translated to the wages of 300 days of work, or nearly one year’s income! Taken in today’s terms of average annual income in the USA, that woman “wasted” the equivalent of $50,000 on Jesus in one lavish offering! No wonder the “reasonable folks” witnessing this “unreasonable” outpouring went mad! Yet, it was them that the Lord rebuked, while the woman was praised to this very day.
When the moment calls and a unique need presents itself, such as the one that the woman sensed in her spirit on that spring day at Bethany, will we be able to act with such abandonment and liberality of heart? The secret for such liberty and boldness to pour out of our resources with this kind of amazing grace is our perspective on Jesus. If He is front, center and close up in our lives, we will find the grace when He calls.
Observing the donors who were bringing their offerings to the Temple treasury in Jerusalem, Jesus “...looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4.
There are times when the Lord would ask us to give Him our all. This kind of giving requires the greatest faith of all because we really don’t know what tomorrow will be like having emptied our pockets today. Still, it’s a matter of trust, and the Lord who supplied for us yesterday is the same today, tomorrow and forever. He is worthy of our all.
All God’s commandments are for the simple purpose of showing us His divine nature and eternal attributes. Likewise, the commandment to give shows us the GOD WHO GIVES, and tells us that if we want to be like Him, we too will GIVE, generously, with authority, abundantly and sacrificially. Thank you for giving to the Lord.
INVESTING IN ISRAEL
As a practical expression of your faith, while standing with the Lord as you watch and pray over Israel, will you consider supporting Messianic Believers in Israel through our ISRAEL FUND? The hour is late, the harvest is plentiful, and your supports helps those persecuted for the Faith, people of excellence, and those with hearts to do great things with God as He establishes His testimony in Israel during these turbulent times. You can send your tax-deductible contribution to the address below. Online electronic giving is also available, please email us for instructions.
ONE NEW MAN CALL is supported by friends of the Ephesians 2:14-15 vision, calling Jew and Gentile to dwell as one in Messiah in God’s Olive Tree. To learn more, to support this work, or to provide direct support to Messianic Believers in Israel, contact us at the address below. Thank you.
YOUR INVITATION TO ISRAEL
Join us as intercessors and worshipers travel to the land of Israel November 8-18, 2009 (not final dates). We will explore Jerusalem’s ancient past and eternal future, visit the beautiful Galilee, Nazareth and the Golan Heights, travel south through the Jordan Valley to Jericho, the Dead Sea and Masada, and visit Tel-Aviv. As we travel throughout the land, we will worship with local congregations, meet Messianic leaders and hear from Israeli scholars in the fields of ► Hebrew treasures of the Bible ► Messianic Judaism ► the Islamic conflict ► End times prophecy ► and Biblical life & culture. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-438-9096 to learn more.
In His grace,
REUVEN AND MARY LOU DORON
(C) 2009 One New Man Call
One New Man Call
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Hayfield, MN 55940 USA