How should we give to the Lord?

I wanted to share with you another question (and my answer) that I received today through GotQuestions.org that really has my heart troubled.  Have we actually turned our giving to the Lord into some sort of “win a prize if you give” type of action?

Question:  I recently visited a church who during the service they had a free lottery drawing, it was call win a door prize, and when the offering was collected they asked each person to stand who had a certain amount to give and hold it up, then they went to the next amount and so forth. Am I missing something? This is not biblical is it? I always thought the word says bring your tithes and offering to the store house, not solicit it. I tried to seek the scriptures on this and I must confess my spirit was troubled with this practice. Can you expound on it?

Answer:  Thank you for writing to us today.  I would say that you are 100% correct to be concerned about this.  God never ONCE tells us to announce publicly what is given, nor does He command us to “win a prize” for giving this or that.  To be honest, this sounds more like patting ourselves on the back versus an act of worship regarding the giving of our tithes to the church.  Malachi 3 talks very clearly about giving our tithes, but I would like to direct you Mark 12:41-44 and notice how the widow’s gift is given.  It is in humility, in humbleness, and quite certainly (based on the time period) she gave most (if not all) she had to the Lord.  I assure you, her practice of giving was right on because of her trust in the Lord to provide everything she needed.  This practice you have described is at best fake and human-based and at worst demonic in its practice of NOT worshiping the One who so rightly deserves it.  My brother, I urge you, get out of this church at once — there is something very seriously missing in this doctrine.  God bless you.  ~Rev TJ Conwell

Comment:  Friends, can you imagine the level of disgust this must bring to the Lord to consider that we would give to His house like it is some of door prize?  Do we really have this little honor for the Lord that we would turn a physical act of worship into one so ordinary and disrespectful?  Wow, talk about seeing the decay of the church before our very eyes.  Scripture tells us quite clearly about the attitude we should have when you give:

2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

But, when you give to God, do so out of gratitude for what He has given to you; but NEVER make it an act of “show and tell”.  What a true disappointment this must be to Jesus who deserves so much more.

Ugh, not legalism … AGAIN!

I received this question last night through http://www.gotquestions.org and wanted to share it with you this morning.  I will comment after the answer I gave on my thoughts on this all-too-familiar issue that I’ve been seeing lately.

Question:  Our local church is going through the process of establishing elders. It has been in existence for about 5 years, we have been attending for about 3. Apparently there is a lot of background that I will not get into. The man who currently teaches most every Sunday does not have a desire to be one of the elders. He does plan on continuing to teach. My question would be should he be allowed to be constantly in the pulpit teaching if he is not an elder. I have no problem allowing a man who is doctrinally sound to take their place behind the pulpit from time to time but it seems strange to allow someone to consistently teach if they are not an elder. I am soliciting thoughts from outsiders so as not to be partial. Your thoughts?

Answer:  Thank you for writing to us.  Nowhere in the Bible is it commanded that the man who “teaches from the pulpit” must be an elder.  Something to consider is that Paul was not an elder of a church, he was what we would refer to today as a church planter and traveling evangelist – he was also never ordained for that matter.  I must beg you, do NOT allow the church to get hung up on the legalism of what this world says about churches being run and what “we” think things “ought to be” in establishing church doctrine.  1 Timothy Chapter 3 is very clear about the qualifications of pastors, elders, deacons, etc., and we must not allow ourselves to add to or think we know how things ought to run that is apart from the Word of God.  God bless you.  ~ Rev TJ Conwell

Comment:  In my personal opinion, this is really what is wreaking total havoc in churches today.  Why is it that we spend so much time getting wrapped up in thinking we need to add to the scripture rather than just following it?  Is there, or has there ever been, a time when we ever knew more than the Lord?  The answer is obviously a loud “NO”, but we do it anyway.  I’ve said for many years that if we continue to treat God like Burger King then He is more than willing to let us “have it our own way”; but we need to remember that He is under NO obligation to bless it or honor it just because we say we are doing it “in His name”.  It’s time to wake up fellow Christians and return to the Word of the Lord.  Stop trying to navigate these things alone and seek refuge and guidance from the One who gives us everything we need!

Joel 2:12-13 says, “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

So, the bottom line is this:  Will we follow the Lord’s direction or our own?  I guess time will be the true litmus test for revealing this one, eh?  God bless you friends and thank you for reading.