I have a leading to write on the giving. I am aware of several controversies around this issue, but I want us to examine giving critically. The following questions will guide our reflection in this edition of Tuesday light:
- What was giving like before the law came?
- What was giving like during the law?
- What was giving like after the law was done away with by the coming of Jesus?
Before going on, I will love to discuss a scripture that is widely used as the text when we are to discuss giving in the Pentecostal circle. This scripture is so popular to the extent that comedian make their comic material out of the holy words of Jesus in Luke 6:38
38Give, and *it* will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
I want us to consider the flow of thought of the Lord Jesus and the subject he discussed in the verses that preceded verse 38. From verse 27 to 36 of Luke 6, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. He charged us not to do good to those who are good to us alone because the ungodly men do the same. So what God desires from us is to love the unlovable.
From verse 37, Jesus began to tell us the dangers inherent in judging others. Besides, he told us about forgiveness, showing us that we will also be forgiven when we forgive others. To establish this reciprocity principle of judgement and forgiveness, Jesus spoke the words in Luke 6:38. Hence, the pronoun it in this very scripture can only be associated directly with forgiveness and judgement, not giving money in a church meeting. This does not imply that the scripture is not suitable when used to raise offering and encourage givers.
Earlier, we had highlighted that it is essential to ask if God requested offering before the law came. *Just for information, the law means the dispensation or time when God gave Moses the commandment.
In the Garden of Eden, God asked for nothing but obedience from Adam and Eve. The truth is that in the real agenda of God from the beginning, all God requires man to give is fellowship and undivided loyalty.
Abel and Cain gave the first offering after the fall. There was no record of God demanding an offering from them. I would not go into the details of the murder of Abel, but it is good to realize why God did not accept Cain’s offering. God said to Cain in Genesis 4:7
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? *If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?* But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it
The information in this scripture about Cain is fascinating. God made us know that the giver of the offering is more critical the offering. Another thing is that God does not accept the offering of a man whom he does not accept.
Also, God made us see that his refusal to accept Cain’s offering is an opportunity for Cain to repent of his wickedness. The ability to commit murder did not come upon Cain after his offering was rejected. Cain had this tendency in him even as he presented his offering.
I want to assume this was the same thing that happened when Ananias and Sapphira presented their gift at the Apostles’ feet. Something got triggered up in the spirit realm because of the controversies in the presenter’s life (Ananias and Sapphira) of the gift. It was as if the deceit in the presenter’s life (Ananias and Sapphira) ascended to God along with their gift.
Going back to Cain’s life, God said to him if you do what is right. It means Abel was doing what was right, and Cain did things that were not right. No wonder, Abel was the first man mentioned in Hebrew 11:4 among the men who lived by faith.
By faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith, he still says, even though he is dead.
The offering of the righteous man is the only offering acceptable to God. I am always worried when some denomination needs to raise funds. They make a son of the bondwoman the chairman of the programme. Some so-called pastors go and conduct vigils for rich men who are not born again in some instances. Someone said he who opposes the gospel course should not be called to pay the cost.
Pray the following Prayer Point
Oh Lord scan and search me and remove anything that can pollute my offering