Does all mean everything?


Number 603 • January 12, 2021


More about giving: How Much Is Enough?

The last essay, about The Widow’s Mite, did what I expected, raised a few questions and comments pro and con and ranging from “great” to “how dare you” – and between the two some serious questions, such as “how much is enough” and “does all really mean all” in the Bible? It also does not sit well with some to point out that we are not always telling the truth in songs we sing but obviously do not intend to be taken literally by God or by ourselves and others who hear and even sing with us. Some examples on the point: “All to Jesus I surrender … I surrender all.” “Now I’ve given to Jesus everything…Now I gladly own Him as my King.” “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold.; I’d rather be His than have riches untold.” “Take the world, but give me Jesus.” “We give Thee but thine own, what e’re the gift may be: All that we have is thine alone, in trust, O Lord, from Thee.” “Lord, I give myself to Thee, thine for ever more to be.” It seems as if just saying or singing the words is enough, even if our lives contradict what we are saying, We sing or say, “Jesus is Lord,” and do not hear Him asking, “Why do you call me Lord but do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus is Lord, whether I know it or not, but He is not my Lord if I do not obey Him and his gospel. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #giving

The widow’s mighty mite

Number 602 • January 10, 2021

Putting in my two cents.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it: “I’ll just give the widow’s mite” – which means “I’m just giving a pittance, just a little bit.” Those who speak this way have decided that a penny or two counts with the Lord, so they’ll get credit as a giver, no matter what the amount actually is. If you ask for a scripture reference to prove the point most cannot tell you where to find it (can you?). There is one, in Mark 12:41-44, also stated in Luke 21:1-4. They also can’t tell you where it says attitude is more important than the gift itself, but they believe that if your heart is right the amount you give or how much you do is irrelevant – that God looks at the heart and not the gift itself. Can you give a scripture reference for this? Actually there is none that fits this. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #giving

July 2018 Issue of Christian Worker (Worship)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • In Spirit and Truth (Rick Brumback)
  • Worship (Cody Westbrook)
  • I Will Sing the Wondrous Story (Andy Baker)
  • Approaching the Throne of Grace (Bruce Ligon)
  • Preaching As Worship (Mike Vestal)
  • New Testament Giving (Jon McCormack)
  • Worship – The Lord’s Supper (Kerry Clark)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2018 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-worker, #communion, #giving, #prayer, #preaching, #singing, #worship

Perspectives on Giving

King David declared, to a very generous Jebusite who was willing to give him everything he needed to sacrifice to God – “‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (II Sam. 24:24).

Although studying this context would be productive, our attention in this lesson will instead be directed to the concept of giving and various perspectives toward it. David, although he had sinned recently, here displayed an excellent attitude about giving to His God. However, for every person who has a proper attitude on giving, there are countless others who cling to inappropriate views.

If we slightly modify David’s statement to generalize the focus upon giving to God in general (as opposed to giving a burnt offering), it would read: “I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing.” If we then break that statement apart, we can see four unique perspectives on giving. The first three are not proper, but the fourth most certainly is. Let us consider each perspective at this time.

This is the perspective of the individual who loves himself and himself only. He will not give to anyone (whether mortal or divine). Such an individual fails to realize the benefits of giving to others. Indeed,”it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). People of this sort are dead inside, even while they live, for they lack compassion and wisdom, trusting in their money and possessions (cf. I Tim. 6:17). Continue reading

#attitude, #giving, #perspective

There’s always room for these kinds of givers

Whether you’re talking collectively or individually, there’s always room for giving in these three spiritually vital areas:

  • Time
  • Finances
  • Encouragement

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9 – ESV)

#giving, #serving

Powerful example in Waffle House

We were seated in a Waffle House in Montgomery Christmas day. Our booth was next to the checkout counter. I heard the older man say, “I’m going to need your help in a few minutes.” I turned to look over Doug’s shoulder at the older gentleman and noticed there was an older lady beside him. He asked, “Do you have five twenty dollar bills?” He handed the girl a hundred dollar bill and she made the change for him. He then called all five of the employees, males and females, up to the counter and gave each one a twenty dollar bill.

One girl was heard to say, “I was about to cry.” Others were telling him thank you. As he was leaving he turned and said, “It’s Jesus Christ birthday,” and went out the door.

The man didn’t look to be wealthy. He wasn’t someone you would pick out in a crowd. He was just an everyday sort of guy, but he had a heart of gold. He didn’t wait around for all the praise that would come from the employees or those of us who witnessed his kindness, but he made a lasting impression on us. We won’t soon forget his act of kindness, nor will those employees who had left their families to come to work and serve us on Christmas day. He gave from the heart.

One day Jesus was sitting over against the treasury, and watched how people cast money into the treasury. Many that were rich cast in much. And the Bible says that there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. Jesus took note of her giving, and said, “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:43-44).

The only Jewish coin mentioned in the New Testament is the “widow’s mite” or lepton, called a mite by the NKJV. These were very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny by today’s standards. Yet, Jesus commended the poor widow who gave two mites to the temple treasury, because “she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood (Mark 12:44). – Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 856

May we be open to helping and blessing others with that which we have been blessed.

#blessing, #example, #giving

The new Hebrides are a group of islands…

The new Hebrides are a group of islands in the South Pacific. The natives of those islands long practiced an idolatry unique to their culture for centuries. In their worship they took a pig and they cooked it just right. Then they had a feast. All of the family and friends came and “pigged out”, literally. They ate the whole pig except for the tail. The tail they gave to their god. That is pig-tail religion! They took the best and gave their god the left-overs – a pig’s tail! But before you wag your head and cluck your tongue, ask yourself, Are we any better? Am I giving God my best or am I just barely getting by? God deserves the very best of all that I have – my time – my talents, my treasures. After all, it is all His anyhow and I have these things only on loan. “The earth is His and the fulness thereof.” This is Just-a-Minute.

#giving, #just-a-minute, #sacrifice

She gave the best she had to give


Sierra, our youngest granddaughter, was about six when we went to visit her family in Texas. She had agreed that Mama Lala, her great-grandmother, could sleep in her room. Sierra offered to sleep in a sleeping
bag on the floor in her older sister’s room. Continue reading

#best, #christian-example, #giving, #thanks


(#47) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:24-25- Banking on Giving

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:24-25: “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.”

The benefits of “generosity” are summarized here with: it comes back to you. The movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” visualizes the principle of helping others in a way that helps them be able to help you back. The “one who scatters” in verse 24 is the “generous soul” of verse 25. It is the “generous soul” who is “rich,” and the one who “waters” (shares blessings) will “be watered himself.” Moses’ Law required a generous spirit to the “poor man of your brethren” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11). Solomon showed generosity to an enemy can act like punishment on his conscience: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22), which the Apostle Paul bound on Christians (Romans 12:20). Jesus Christ had extended this spirit to our “enemies” (Luke 6:27-31) ending with the words, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Other proverbs which teach this thought are: Proverbs 19:17: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given;” Proverbs 22:9: “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Isaiah prophesied of “a righteous king” who would see to it things were set straight (Isaiah 32:5-7), ending with, “a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand.” Whenever there are “hard times,” whether caused by unemployment, marriage problems, short supply of goods, this principle of generosity will be sorely tested! Sometimes generosity is the only “line of credit” we are given that we must remember when our situation improves.

The other side is of the “one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.” This is the stingy, greedy, selfish person who sees no more than his/her own needs, and always lives lonely. The “poverty” is not only of goods, but of friendships, as well! One may become poor by holding onto whatever he possesses! Other proverbs call this oppression and mocking the poor: Proverbs 14:31: “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy;” Proverbs 17:5: “He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished;” Proverbs 22:22-23: “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them;” Proverbs 28:27: “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses;” Proverbs 29:7: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor, But the wicked does not understand such knowledge.”

Jesus Christ established this generosity for the church: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #generosity, #giving, #hard-times, #poor, #poverty, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #stingy, #wisdom

Why Does God Care About Your Money?

In no small part thanks to charlatans on TV and to thieves of the church treasury, finances stands large among the spiritual subjects that the world misunderstands. Some in the world view the church as a money hungry institution that has hypocritical stances concerning finances. They often confuse money itself being a root of all kinds of evil with the love of money being a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). And they confuse works being done with the aid of money with works done being done through money alone. One thing the world, and maybe even the church, must come to understand is that God doesn’t need our money. The God who created the heavens and the earth is the same God who purchased man’s salvation – and He did both without spending one penny! God doesn’t need our money, but He does want our heart, and the reason that God is concerned about money when it comes to His people is because of the possible negative effects that one’s material wealth can have one’s spiritual health. One can deny it all they want, but the fact that purse-strings and heart-strings are tied together is too obvious to miss. Even Ebenezer Scrooge figured that one out! So if anyone is convinced that an individual can show a heart full of gratitude toward God while carrying a full wallet and purse that doesn’t know how to properly give then that person cares more about money than they do finding out about why God cares so much about the topic. Praise God for the people who own their money without their money owning them.

Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 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, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

(2 Corinthians 9:5-11 – NKJV)

#finances, #giving, #god, #heart, #money, #religion

Honeycomb givers

There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb. Which kind are you?

To get anything from the flint, you must hammer it. Yet, all you generally get are chips and sparks. The flint gives nothing away if it can help it, and even then only with a great display.

To get anything from the sponge, you must squeeze it. It readily yields to pressure, and the more it is pressed, the more it gives. Still, you must push.

To get anything from the honeycomb, however, you must only take what freely flows from it. It gives its sweetness generously, dripping on all without pressure, without begging or badgering:

Note, too, that there is another difference in the honeycomb. It is a renewable resource. Unlike the flint or sponge, the honeycomb is connected to life; it is the product of the ongoing work and creative energy of bees.

If you are a “honeycomb giver,” your life will be continually replenished as you give. And, as long as you are connected to the Source of all life, you can never run dry. When you give freely, you will receive in like manner, so that whatever you give away will soon be multiplied back to you.

—God’s Little Lessons for Teens, page 83

Luke 6:30 – Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.

Luke 6:38 – 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.”

2 Corinthians 9:7 – So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#generosity, #giving

Question about Benevolence

Does the congregation where you serve pay electric bills for people in the community?

#benevolence, #giving, #money

Faith and the Church Budget

When a congregation plans a budget for the upcoming year, they work with cold, hard numbers based on the expected contribution and the needs of the congregation.

If this budget is seen as a business document alone, does it fit with the Lord’s work?

If we step away from the business model, we ask: What role does faith and prayer have in the construction of a church budget? If we work on our budget in October and November, should we not begin praying for the budget months before?

The sobering reality is that the terrible economy has been savage to church budgets causing cuts everywhere.

  • Does God stop working during difficult financial times?
  • Do we not redouble our prayer and maintain our faith during these trials?
  • Does God give us a pass when we have less money?
  • Does He expect us to give all the time regardless of the situation?

I look forward to your thoughts on this subject.

#budget, #church, #faith, #finances, #giving, #prayer

Are You Robbing God?

In Malachi 3:8-9, the prophet of old penned these words, quoting Jehovah:  “Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse:  for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

At first glance, the question, “Are you robbing God?” sounds absurd.  Yet, from God’s Word, we learn that the children of Israel in Malachi’s day were, in fact, robbing God by failing to offer the proper tithes & offerings.  What about us?  Can we rob God today?  We certainly can, & we often do so in the same ways those Israelites did so long ago. Continue reading

#articles, #church-bulletin-articles, #giving, #worship

“And Moses Blessed Them”

The title of this article is taken from Exodus 39:43, which states, “And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.”  Chapters 35-39 of Exodus deal with the construction of the tabernacle (and all the other material that went along with it) and the making of the priestly apparel.  To read the conclusion of this great undertaking is wonderfully encouraging, for it ends with that great statement, “And Moses blessed them.”  Why does the Bible state that Moses blessed the people? Continue reading

#church-bulletin-articles, #giving, #obedience