Posts Tagged ‘Malachi 3:10’

I have heard that most pastors hate giving talks on tithing. I guess it makes since because they are basically talking about their own salaries and they probably assume that most people hate to hear about giving to the church because they know they are not giving as much as they could. I am sure that it is always a big Guilt Fest and the pastor feels like he is trying to pad his pocket. But…

If people could see what we are seeing I think it would change the way we all give. God is moving in this city and people are being drawn into his family. I think if people could see the impact of their dollars given they would be more apt to give, although part of giving is doing it sacrificially on faith, and part of that is not knowing for sure what God is doing with it and then trusting that God has the right servants in the right place to use the gifts appropriately.

I saw a study today that stated that Christians gave more during the Great Depression, out of their poverty, than they do now, out of their wealth. The Christian income average, adjusted to the 2008 dollar, has grown almost 600% but our giving has dropped from 3.3% (1933) to 2.5% (2004). Should we be excited there is economic collapse on the horizon?

My question is, “What if all Christians gave at least 10%?” Well according to this study that would be about $164 Billion dollars per year, which would by all standards wipe out poverty on the globe, send thousands of missionaries worldwide and keep $32 billion for ministry in the States. Wow.

I dream of a church in North Seattle that sees, men and women with eyes who can see, what God does when his people give. But then factor in verses like Malachi 3:10,

“Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”

Not would we be able to wipe out hunger throughout the world but God would bless us even more. Which, by the way, would only add to the amount we could give and the ministry that could take place.

But no, we settle with 2.5% that we “sacrifice” for God and then we wonder why our store houses aren’t overflowing and we whine to God that we don’t have enough to live on and we get scared when our house falls apart and we don’t have the money for repairs or we get sick and the financial bill is over whelming.

If we sacrificed as a Body of Christ we would see God’s glory poured out. As for me and my house, we want to see that and will tithe accordingly.

The Faith EquationRecently I was helping my oldest son with a bit of Algebra, he’s a 7thgrader so the Algebra is pretty basic, basic enough for me to still remember.  We were both getting frustrated because he couldn’t understand how to do the problem and I couldn’t explain it appropriately, or well enough so that he couldunderstand. So I decided to put it all away and begin with the basics. 

What is an equation?

I began to realize that he wasn’t grasping the definition of an equation.  He wasn’t comprehending that an equation is a phrase that is equal or is in pure equilibrium, in other words both sides of the equal sign are exactly the same amount.  Now they may not look the same, but when worked out they will equal the same number, in mathematics the equality of two quantities.  In baking a pile of ingredients will equal a batch of cookies. In coffee a perfect mixture of espresso, steamed milk, white chocolate and rasberries equals a Raspberry Satin Mocha, which is my fave coffee drink.

When my son understood this basic equation that I created in a picture on the table with blocks of wood he understood basic Algebra and has been flourishing this semester in that discipline.

I have recently began to understand something that I am coining the Faith Equation. I have much thought to put into this but currently it is in reference to our fund raising for the Seattle Church Plant but it really applies to much of life and our faith in God.

It is going to take a lot of funds to start a church in Seattle, it’s going to take more funds than Kristine and I and our team are capable of coming up with on our own. I suppose if we could take care of the finances on our own it wouldn’t require any faith. It is only in the impossible that that Faith is proved and developed. One question we have is, “Where are we going to get this money?” Another question is, “When is it going to arrive?”  Working out both of these questions causes us to realize that we are unable to produce the money on time. It is impossible.

So God is at work in us, developing our Faith, stretching us, testing us. We must have a full Faith, not partial Faith. Partial Faith can’t even be a definition of Faith, just as an untested Faith can’t be a true Faith. Because this Church Planting path was initiated by God we will have Faith that he will provide the finances to carry it through to completion. As crazy as it sounds we will move to Seattle even if the money is not in our hands while we are driving out.  We have no back up plan. There is no “just in case” contingency plan. God has called us to go, we are going, believing that he will provide the finances.

So one side of the Faith Equation is God strengthening our Faith. It takes time to do this and it takes testing.

The other side of the equation has to do with those whom God is preparing to partner financially with the Church Plant. He is calling people to sacrificially give to the planting of his church in Seattle. He is asking people to give beyond their means, beyond what they think they can afford. This strengthens their faith. They are being tested in their belief in God that he will take care of them and in fact bless them like his word says he will do. Now, people can give out of their abundance, i.e. give out of what they can afford, what they have budgeted to give, but this requires no faith, it only requires that they stay withtheir budget. The testing of their faith comes in when they commit to give what they can’t necessarilyafford, giving what only God could provide for them to give. It is in this that their Faith is tested and becomes real pure Faith. A Faith that only God could develop and produce.  A Faith that takes time and testing.

Both sides of this equation takes time. God isn’t just working on us he is simultaneously working on our partners and at the right time he will bring both sides together and the equation will be complete.  As in Algebraic equations which have variables that must be discovered, the Faith Equation has a variable that has to be discovered.  The Variable in the Faith Equation is God himself and the promises that he has given us in his word. Like Malachi 3:10 “…test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven…”

He is faithful. He is also Faithful to develop our Faith, so that we can live lives relying on our King instead of relying on our selves.