Financing Church Work
As in every other aspect of Christianity, financing the church's work involves God's part and man's part. On the Divine side "giving" is a matter of GRACE, and on the human side, we must first give our "own selves t o the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:4-5). A certain gospel preacher tells how he used to preach on giving from the standpoint of need but has since learned to emphasize it as a grace. God has favored us with the command to give, not because He needs the money, but because His children need the spiritual exercise and growth. Thus as Paul begins a discussion of church finances to the Corinthians, he speaks of " . . . the grace of God which hath been given in the churches of Macedonia" (2 Cor. 8:1). Therefore, liberality in giving is traceable to abundantly receiving and cooperating with God's grace.
Funds and faithful brethren are sorely needed in the Northwest to carry on the Lord's work. Many-desire to see the churches of this area stand on their own feet financially. However, we are aware that even within the borders of Texas brethren limited by funds meet in halls and schoolrooms and do not have the means to support a preacher locally. The financial need of the church is not necessarily determined by sections of the country, rather the size and conditions of each congregation locally govern need. So the answer to greater financial strength lies not in geography but primarily in the attitude of Christians everywhere toward giving. More funds will become available for local and distant work as Christians learn:
We Give As We Love
Jesus taught we must "love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind" (Matt. 22: 37). Does a member of the church love God with ALL his being when he gives the "leftovers" or loose change from his pocket? as to let a dime-store diamond convince her of her fiancés sincerity when he had the means to easily give her a 10-carat genuine! In 2 Cor. 8:8, 24 Paul twice offers the collection as "proof" or concrete evidence of love.
Men only invest in what they feel worthwhile. For example, a recent Horizons magazine tells of a $1.6 million gift for a campus center to be built at Abilene Christian College. That reminded me of a young man who wished to earn a million dollars before he turned thirty. When asked if he'd put it in the church treasury, he replied, "I would give it to the collegethe church can get along by itself." Others spend their money for pleasure, affection, material things, and earthly securitybut death will separate a man from such ambitions. The Lord wisely placed a "collection plate" in His kingdom so His followers might put their money where they claim their hearts are (Matt. 6:19-21)!
Giving Influences Other Brethren for Good
Our motive is not to be "seen of men," yet the Scriptural exercise of financial power made possible through giving acts as an example and stimulus to others. The "readiness" and "zeal" of Achaia in giving is held up for the purpose of stirring up Macedonia. Paul likewise publicly commends the Philippians for their gift, at a time when no other church fellowshipped him with support. Individual Christians, elders, and churches are stimulated by news of a church assisting many preachers or of a small band of disciples having become self-supporting.
Giving Relates to Reaping
The law of sowing and reaping (sparingly or bountifully) is discussed in connection with giving in 2 Cor. 9:6. Rich brethren are to be instructed in proper use of their wealth "that they may lay hold on life which is life indeed" (1 Tim. 6:17-19). All the money in this world cannot purchase a heavenly home. God is not bribed. Some religionists foolishly think to "buy'' a departed loved one's way out of suffering into glory. Our motive in giving must be sincere, backed by a loving heart and obedient life and yet, God wishes us to remember "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).
Giving Pleases God
A "cheerful giver" is loved of God (2 Cor.9: 7). What greater desire can we have than to be the object of Divine love? Giving to support a gospel preacher ascends before God as a "sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing" (Phil. 4:18).
May brethren realize God has blessed us with the Grace of giving and apply these principles with the desire to receive His Grace.
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 2, pp. 13-14 November 1965