There is an old story I heard about a pastor who was trying to encourage his flock to give generously, so he decided to give them an analogy to make his point. He said to them....
This church, or any church, is like a child. After it's born; as it develops; first it's got to crawl. This church has got to crawl”
And being a Pentecostal church the congregation yelled back, “Let it crawl Rev. Let it crawl!“
The pastor continued. “After it's crawled this church has got to walk. This church has to walk.
And the congregation yelled back, “Let it walk Rev. Let it walk!“
Thinking it was all going well the Pastor said, “And after it's walked this church has to run. This church has got to run!”
And the pastor said, “For this church to run it's going to take money!”
And the congregation yelled back. “Let it crawl Rev. Let it crawl!”
That's worldly, carnal, thinking! God's church though has to be swift in bringing the good news of salvation to the world. It also has to run to bring aid to our congregations and others in the world who may be facing hardships, trials and persecution.
Now there is a gnostic idea that piety means poverty and that God's people shouldn't have money. But if that were so we could not help others in far flung parts of the world who need the provision of material things as they recover from disaster.
We as a church support our brethren in other parts of the world. We provide help for others not in the church also, where relief is needed. Jesus did not just help Jews and we do not selfishly only look after our own or look just to ourselves and say “I'm all right!” No, we believe we are blessed to be a blessing.
2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace (divine favour) abound to you, so that having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you may abound in every good work.
It's not just in material things of course. It's in spiritual things as well. The Lord's model prayer says, “Thy kingdom come”. but, in Roman's 14:17 we are told that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit is the most precious blessing or gift that God has given us; Himself. And if you have received Holy Spirit then righteousness, peace and joy are gifts which come with Him.
Thus, for us the kingdom of God has come, and we are to pass it on to others through preaching the gospel and doing the other good works that God has called us to do.
Every day we may find opportunities to give of these spiritual gifts to people and of course the Church is able to help people in need through the tithes and offerings that Church members give to it.
Because of these funds we collectively can be like Joseph and put by something in store to help others out in times of physical need.
I started on a humorous note so I'll end on one also!
The scriptures tell us that God loves a cheerful giver, so we want God to see big smiles whenever you put your offering in the basket at any Church.
Do you know that in some churches the congregation sings as they give their offering?
And as you live to please God, may the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the
Love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.