By Patrick Hawthorne
In the brief time I have been on this earth few things, in my opinion, have brought more harm to the Body of Christ than the so called prosperity movement of the eighties and nineties. The prosperity movement was a period in which a handful of loud voices hijacked a very beneficial teaching concerning giving and perverted it for selfish gain.
These fallacious prosperity ministers taught, in a roundabout way, that a person’s faith was proportional to the quantity and quality of their possessions. As such, an unscriptural thought process surfaced equating spirituality with wealth; the more the wealth, the greater the spirituality. Total nonsense!
Because of this erroneous teaching, many believers have become bitter towards any message concerning giving and tithing. With closed ears and closed hearts, they reject the faithful minister who dares mention money from the pulpit. These believers have strayed from sound Biblical teachings and have taken with them a message of self greed in which their mantra is, “God does not need or want our money.”
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, Paul is speaking to believers about the importance of giving with a right attitude. In verses 6 and 7 he tells us that God loves a cheerful giver and that each person is to give as they purpose in their heart. Very simply he says, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” But why are we to give?
Notice verse 8. “…and God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have abundance for every good work.” When we are willing to give, not grudgingly or because we feel compelled to give, God activates a measure of grace that we would not otherwise receive. As we give, God is able to meet our needs. Because He is meeting our needs, we are able to give. It is a continuous cycle built on a foundation of grace through faith.
God is not in the arm twisting business. He will not force you to receive His blessings if you are not willing. Nor will He be able to impart portions of His grace to you unless you are willing to do things His way. This is not because God is withholding His grace from you, but because you are blocking the flow of His grace to you.
Titus 2:12 tells us that grace is our teacher, instructing us how to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives. By becoming givers, we are learning to walk in a portion of God’s grace that casts aside selfishness in order to walk in love; there is no selfishness in love. For God so loved the world that He gave….
My wife and I tithe (give the first tenth) and give offerings in order to help support the good work of our church which is very active in sending out missionaries to the world, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. Do we expect great riches from our giving? No! However, we do expect, according to faith in the Word of God, to have all of our needs met and to have abundance for every good work. Be blessed!