Yesterday, Todd emailed me the following statistics he'd noted while listening to a sermon by Dr. David Platt of The Church at Brookhills (www.Brookhills.org). He asked me to share them with those on my email list, so I am doing that, as well as sharing it with you - my blog readers. :O)
Statistics From Dr. Platt.
It is estimated that 4.5 billion people are without Christ in the world today.
If we continue with our present Church trends this will never change.
There are an estimated 1 billion people today living in extreme poverty, 700 million people today living in slums, 500 million people starving today and 200 million children exploited today for labor.
A recent Stanford research project found that if every church member, in America alone, would give only ten percent of their income in only two years time the church, apart from any help from any other organization, could;
1) Eliminate global starvation and malnutrition.
2) Provide an education for every child on earth.
3) Provide universal access to clean water and sanitation worldwide.
IN ONLY TWO YEARS TIME!!!
Those are statistics that are hard to fathom, and yet impossible to ignore. It can become so overwhelming to think of the greatness of the need that we become paralyzed, and unable to do anything because we don't know what to do - or where to give.
As Todd and I rode home today we took some time to discuss a few scriptures that came to our minds.
1 Corinthians 4:2, "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. " (also read Mark 12:41-43)
Whether you give $500.00 a week or $5.00 a week, is not the issue. The tithe is a matter of the heart. It is something we do in obedience, to provide for the needs of the body of Christ through our local church, and then others outside our faith family. The point is, we should be found faithful with whatever amount we decide we can do. Granted, the goal is a tenth, but I've been there in that place where a tenth couldn't be given. We continued to be faithful even on weeks when it was as little as $2.00.
The only area in which God encourages us to "test (or try) Him" is in Malichi 3:5-11. I understand the Old Testament was not written TO me (as a Gentile) but that it was written FOR me (as an example). So, I am always willing to search the Old Testament to help me in examining my life.
Malichi 3:5-11 says, " And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien— because they do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts. For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “ But you said, ‘ In what way shall we return?’
“ Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘ In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the LORD of hosts;
Within these verses, we find a lot of examples to look to:
1) You can trust God with your tithes and offerings, you owe it to Him.
2) God owns it all anyway, and you're only giving back what already belongs to Him. (Todd and I always remind ourselves to have the mindset that all of it belongs to the Lord, He is gracious enough to allow us to manage the other 90 percent. Which really is more like 70 percent once the government gets done with us. :O(
3) There is a "Devourer" that God will rebuke on your behalf, as you follow in obedience to His Word. Which logically leads to the conclusion that He will NOT rebuke the "devourer" on your behalf if you are not living in faithful obedience to His Word in this area. What does the devourer look like in your home - the car broke down, the taxes are due, the mortgage payment is late, the kids need new shoes, your air conditioner went out, etc.... You get the point. It could be anything, but it comes in droves, and gives you that feeling of "what else could possibly go wrong!"As Believer's, God expects us to care for the needs of the widow and the orphan. (James 1:27)
There's so much more I could say about the Spiritual Discipline of the tithe,and yes I do believe it has spiritual implications. I don't believe in Word of Faith or Name it and Claim. I believe in obedience. Last, but certainly not least in my list of verses,
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"
These verses in Luke have great spiritual implications. If you have learned the elemental principles in your relationship with Christ, be faithful in sharing those with the unbeliever and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When we are faithful in caring for God's Word, we will grow even more and be made to understand much greater truths. The same principal applies here with money of course, if the Lord can't trust you with $20,000 a year, He will not trust you with $50,000 a year. If He can't trust you with $50,000 a year, He will not trust you with $150,000 a year. Now don't go saying that I'm teaching prosperity through giving, because that is NOT the point here.
Some of you will read this and really get it, others of you may be scratching your heads in wonder, hmmmm, "what does all this mean?"
Everyone is very MONEY sensitive right now because of the economy. I'd love to recommend several authors whose writings have helped us tremendously in growing in our understanding of God's Word and how it speaks to the issues of money.
Resources: Howard Dayton - The Crown Money Map and other books. Anything by Dave Ramsey or Larry Burkett. All of these have websites with information available on them to help you get started too.Don't delay, your financial and spiritual health are worth a good study of what God's Word says about Christian giving.
Todd's final words to you are these -
I pray every Christian in America will bring glory and honor to God through giving!!!
Amen, and Amen... Todd and Lori McGuire