As we rapidly approach the end of another calendar year, we see some annual trends among radio and TV evangelists. I listen to several different ministries on the radio, who preach messages that I can learn a few things from, but this time of year, they all seem to have one thing in common … all put out an appeal for year-end special offerings that will fuel their own evangelical efforts for the coming year.
Now, I have no desire to find fault with any of them. All seem to be striving to serve God and man in ways that seem to be in accord with the principals of scripture. And all of us are familiar with the many commands of God to give tithes and offerings to the Lord, and to be generous with the poor and widows and orphans. Each of us has a primary fiduciary responsibility over our tithes and offerings, to make sure as much as we are able that they really do fund godly works.
We all are aware of the fact that it takes money to do virtually anything in this world … and churches of any size have financial obligations that must be met. What I would like to add to our fund of knowledge today is more of a global perspective on one of the commands about giving.
Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deut. 16:16-17)
Here we see that God also has seasons of the year where He wants His people to come before Him with special offerings. Today, let’s focus on the phrase at the end of vs. 17 which instructs everyone to “give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.”
We live in a world today with a population of 7 1/4 billion people (next spring, we will surpass 8 billion), and I personally believe God has called-out-ones representing every strata of world population. One-half of all these people live on less than $2.50 (U.S. dollars) a day. 80% live on less than $10.00 a day. Statistics vary a little, but the median income for working Americans is close to 10 times that much money. The point is, I and most of my readers are a very blessed people in the material and physical realms, and our greatest blessings aren’t even physical or material.
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Heb. 10:14)
I would say the offering of Jesus Christ increases significantly the “blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” It was by far the most effective offering of all time, and it had nothing to do with money. Romans 12:1 admonishes us to follow this example and “present your bodies a living sacrifice.” When we sacrifice our time and resources to serve others, as the people on the King’s right hand did in Matthew 25:34-40, Christ looks upon each of these acts as a personal offering to Him.
We are indeed approaching the end of yet another calendar year, and we are all called to be a self-evaluating and self-judging people. Materially, we all give what we are able to the churches, and charities of our choice, but there are many other types of offerings that mean just as much to God as financial ones.
What I’d like to leave you with today is just a personal question that I’m asking myself right now. This question is based on the statistics we’ve seen, on the example of Christ, on the word of God, and on blessing of the Lord my God which has given me. My question is, “What should my body of offerings and sacrifices look like for the coming year in material, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sacrifices and offerings for the body of Christ?”