In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Malachi 3:8-12
Memorise This Verse: Malachi 1:6 ‘If I am a master, where is the respect due to me’ says the Lord Almighty’
Afterwards Talk About This: To what extent does a lack of finance hinder the work of God.
Something To Do Before Next Time: In prayer, seek God as to whether your giving ishelping or hindering the spread of the gospel.
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the three people who are robbed when we choose not to give.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: Proverbs 11:24
The previous sections have looked at all the reasons and benefits that we can experience as givers and certainly there are many good reasons to be givers. However just as there are benefits to being a giver, there are also costs of choosing to not be a giver. The major area that this section will look at is the fact that when we choose not to give we rob 3 different categories of people God, ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
Mention has already been made of Malachi chapter 3 where the Lord himself declares that the non-tither is actually robbing him. Since all the money in the world is ultimately God’s, when we choose not to return the tithe back to him we have retained what doesn’t belong to us and as such we have withheld God’s money from him. Most Christians would not even dream of regularly robbing one of their friends or family members yet they choose to rob God week in and week out by not tithing
Those who choose not to give have a fractured relationship with their heavenly father as it is hard to have a close, intimate relationship with someone whom you are regularly robbing. The Christian who chooses not to give, is in the untenable position of regularly going to church and worshipping and praising God and then straight after robbing God by not putting anything in the offering plate.
The non-giving will sing about how great and awesome and glorious God is yet does not believe that God is worth giving 10% of your income to. It can surely be rightly argued that a ‘Christian’ who does not give financially to the work of God is a contradiction in terms.
Perhaps you are not yet a giver is it not clear what a contradiction your position is? If God is as big and glorious as you sing he is and as awesome as you say he is and as wonderful you tell everyone he is then surely it is absurd not to trust him with your finances. Eventually, you will have to put your money where your mouth is if the God you claim to have a relationship with is the true and living God, and not a dead God, then it is time to prove the living God in your finances. If you can’t trust God with your finances which is one of the most precious areas of your life (by firstly giving to him and then seeing him bless back to you what you have sown to him) then what sort of unfaithful and untrustworthy God are you serving?
The second person we rob when we choose not to give is that we literally rob ourselves of the blessing of God. Let it be emphatically stated first of all that God’s love is not conditional on the way we live our Christian lives we relate to God on the basis of grace and not good actions or deeds such that God doesn’t love us when we are good and not love us when we are bad. However whilst the love of God is unconditional, the blessings of God are conditional on us meeting the criteria laid down in the bible that need to be met to appropriate the blessings.
The criteria that God has laid down regarding appropriating financial blessings is not praying or begging for them but giving firstly to him and he will then release his many different blessings back to us.
By not giving we do not avail ourselves of the spiritual laws and criteria that govern finances and by not giving the laws will work against us and not for us. Through not giving, we will fail to experience the fullness of God’s blessings because we will put ourselves in a position where we tie God’s hands and no amount of prayer, spiritual warfare and resisting the devil will cause the blessings to come. God is determined and resolved to bless us but to release these blessings we must abide by the laws governing seed time and harvest and giving and receiving and through not giving we steal our own blessings away from ourselves.
Sadly, people want quick fixes and short cuts to financial prosperity and whilst God can do this, it would appear that to know long- term constant blessings we need long term, constant sowing of finances into the Kingdom of God. Giving should be a lifetime commitment and not something that we try when we need some extra money to go on holiday with.
The third person who we rob through not giving is our brother and sister in Christ – namely, the person whom God wanted to bless by using you and me to give money to them. When we enter the Kingdom of God we automatically join a new race of human beings who share the same Heavenly Father and who become our spiritual brothers and sisters. By every member of the Kingdom being givers, God has ordained a method by which poverty could be eradicated amongst his children and the work of preaching the gospel where it has never been heard can be fully supported.
By not giving we delay the master plan of God and can greatly hinder someone else’s blessings as God wishes to use us to meet the needs of our struggling brothers and sisters.
For example, suppose a person from your church faithfully responds to a call to be a missionary to a gospel resistant land in North Africa this is presented to the church and the calling is confirmed by the leadership. As this decision to send a missionary out is presented to the church it could be that God speaks to 5 specific people who are prosperous to make a commitment to financially support this missionary.
The missionary could then present their vision to the church and they wisely tell the people that they will not go to the mission field until they receive sufficient financial pledges. If only 2 out of the 5 people make financial commitments then insufficient funds will come in and the missionary cannot go the mission field and the gospel cannot be taken where it has never been preached. If you are not a giver, you are hindering the spread of the gospel and the work of God is delayed and you have robbed blessings from your brothers and sisters.
A further cost to not giving is that it betrays our true feelings towards God and the work of taking the gospel to unreached people groups. By not giving, you practically cast a vote for the closure of every church, the laying off of every Pastor and Christian worker, the calling home of every missionary from the missions field and the closing of every Christian school, hospital and orphanage.
By not giving we show that we think that God and his Kingdom is not worthy of our money we may claim that we believe in the preaching of the gospel and seeing people saved but our refusal to give to the work of God contradicts what we claim to believe. If everyone chose not to give to the work of God then the Kingdom of God would be crippled if everyone chose to be generous givers, the Kingdom of God would greatly advance which of these two camps do you fall into?
Finally, the last cost of not giving is the fact that the non-giver actually mocks God by choosing not to give for example, Galatians 6:7 says, ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows’. God has declared in his word that he has set in place a spiritual law of seed-time and harvest and sowing and reaping and by not giving we mock God by ignoring what he has said in his word.
Through not giving we say to God that we do not need him in our finances and that we can ignore what he says about giving and receiving which is why Galatians 6:7 says that a non-giver is deceived and is mocking God. You may never dream of mocking God with your praise and worship and prayers but the scriptures declare that through not giving you are mocking God.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for El Salvador
6,276,023 people, 97% Christian
Despite a civil war, the church has known very good growth
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.