65. A Personal Invitation

In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: 1 Chronicles chapter 29

Memorise This Verse: 1 Chronicles 29:17 ‘I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you’

Afterwards Talk About This:  What this course has meant to you.

Something To Do Before Next Time:  Encourage others to do this course.

Written Diploma Work:  Briefly outline some of the leaders that God has used to release a large corporate offering from the people of God.

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse:  Acts 20:35

The bible gives several examples of great men of God who stood out as true leaders and one specific quality that certain Christian leaders have shown in the bible is that they encouraged and led the people of God into overflowing and generous giving. Just as there are worship leaders who lead the people of God in worship, and prayer leaders who lead the people of God in prayer there are also those who are called to show leadership in giving and lead the people of God into a wave of generous giving. As with all the gifts of God when they are stirred up and utilised then both those who use the gift and the beneficiaries of the gifts are blessed – when they are neglected however, blessings are stolen away from the Body of Christ.

The first example of someone showing leadership and leading the people of God in their giving is Moses who led the offerings for the building of the tabernacle. Firstly in Exodus 25:1, Moses receives direct revelation from God concerning the building of the temple and is instructed by God to lead the Israelites in their giving of their money, resources and time. Moses then articulates this vision to the people in Exodus 35:5 and the result is seen in Exodus 36:5 where the skilled craftsmen say, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done’.  Have you ever seen an offering being taken in church which was so large the people were told to stop giving? – clearly, Moses showed incredible leadership in the encouraging of people to give to the work of God.

The second example of leadership in giving is King David who led the people of God in the giving for the building of the temple as detailed in 1 Chronicles 28-29. Just as Moses received plans from God to build the Tabernacle, David receives plans to build the temple and in 1 Chronicles 28:2 he says, ‘I had it on my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark’. In 1 Chronicles 29 David speaks to the Assembly of God’s people and outlines the plans for the temple and what he has personally given so the assembly is well informed. He challenges the people to give in verse 5 when he puts a searching and almost provocative question, ‘Now who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord?’ As a result a massive offering is given and in verse 20 the people fall to the ground and praise God for the size of the offering when was the last time you saw that happen in a church?

As we move onto the prophets at the back of the Old Testament, we find three prophets that were raised up and used of God to call the people of God back to generous giving :- Haggai, Nehemiah and Malachi. After the Jews were allowed by Cyrus to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, they spend more time and money on their own houses and their own comfort. God speaks to the people through the prophet Haggai and instructs them to prioritise his temple and give themselves (and their money) into building it. The people receive God’ instruction through the prophet Haggai to prioritise and be systematic in their giving and Haggai 1:14 shows that people threw themselves into the building of the temple. The prophetic voice of Haggai turned the people of God from being selfish into a wave of corporate giving.

Unfortunately, as time went on, people slipped back into bad habits and selfishness crept up on the people of God as a result God raises up another prophetic voice in the form of Nehemiah who was allowed by the Persian King Artexerxes to also return to Jerusalem and re-establish the community of God’s people. His leadership and prophetic input eventually cause the Jews to take seriously their responsibility to give and men are actually appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, first fruits and offerings (Nehemiah 12:44). Nehemiah returns briefly to King Artaxerxes and on his return he again finds that the people have neglected to tithe – once again Nehemiah raises a loud prophetic voice and Nehemiah 13:12 says, ‘All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the store house’.

This seemingly perpetual cycle of God sending a prophet to call the people back to systematic giving, the people backsliding and then another prophet is sent is carried on yet again in the last of the Old Testament prophets – namely Malachi, who came at either the same time, or just after Nehemiah. Malachi was a bold prophet who feared God and not the faces of men and through Malachi, God was able to deliver some very strong rebukes to the people of God. In particular, Malachi did something that almost nobody is prepared to do today, namely, he issued a strong rebuke to the religious leaders for their lack of generosity, their pathetic gifts and offerings and their failure to teach the word of God.

It would appear that we need a thousand Malachi’s today to combat the watered down preaching and financial mis-management that is prevalent amongst church leaders. Malachi then goes on to issue the strongest financial rebuke anywhere in the bible in chapter 3:6-12 where he accuses the people of God of actually robbing God by their refusal not to tithe. In conclusion God was so concerned about the level of giving of his people after the Babylonian exile that he anointed 3 separate prophets to lead the people in their giving and their tithing.

The final example of leadership in giving is Paul when in his second letter to the Corinthian church he exhorts the church in Corinth to contribute to the collection for the impoverished Saints in chapters 8-9. In the two most powerful chapters in the bible on money and giving Paul goes into great detail about the need to give to this particular offering and shows excellent leadership and encouragement in exhorting the Corinthians to give. Whilst there are many verses from these two chapters that we could quote to show Paul’s leadership in this matter, he simply says in chapter 8 verse 7, ‘See that you excel in this grace of giving’.

Just as Moses, David, Haggai, Nehemiah, Malachi and Paul invited and exhorted the people of God to be generous givers, I want to personally invite you to be a giver into the work of the Kingdom of God and seeing the gospel taken to those people who have never heard it. I invite you to turn away from selfishness and the desires of this world, and I invite you to make sacrifices, sell your possessions and do whatever it takes to be a generous giver into the work of the Kingdom of God. I invite you to invest your money into the precious souls of lost men and women and to see them saved from hell to invest your money into the lives of orphans and widows and the poor and bring the Kingdom to them. I invite you to give to dethrone the false God of money out of your life, give to prove you have a true and living faith and that the love of God is in your life, give to show that you believe God is alive and can take care of your financial situation.

I invite you to give if for no other reason than the fact that Jesus said in Acts 20:35 ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’.   James 1:22-25 says that if you hear the word of the Lord and do not do what it says you deceive yourself in this book you have read hundreds of scriptures and thousands of words about money and giving and if you choose to ignore them and not be a giver then you have deceived yourself.

Moreover, Galatians 6:7 says, ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows’, this re-enforces James 1:22 which says that if we ignore what God says about a certain matter (such as money) we fall into deception. Through not giving, Galatians 6:7 shows that you are mocking God and you are deceived – surely this is a position no Christian should be in. In the name of Jesus, speaking from much personal experience, I invite you, I urge, I plead with you to be a giver.

A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations

Pray for Lithuania

3,670,269 people, 76% Christian

Majority Catholic church in need of change to meet the needs of the people.

This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.

The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.

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