Volume. XXXI, No. 24
Sunday, 11 December 2016


From the Pastors heart: Giving


Two weeks ago, we had a collection for missionaries.  We want to honour their devoted ministries and consecrated lives for the Lord’s work.  I am thankful that you prayed about it and gave your gifts for this precious cause.  All I am hoping and praying for is that you have given sacrificially, willingly, cheerfully, and abundantly. Then, well done.  You have done your very best.  It is because what you give is actually given to the Lord, though it will be distributed to a few missionaries.  Over the years, I have learnt that giving is a very hard work and preaching and teaching about giving is also hard work.  The level of difficulty of giving is probably proportionate to the level of attachment we have toward money and possessions.  That is why giving with lips is common and easy, while actual giving is difficult.  According to the Lord’s teaching, there is a rivalry between God and possessions in the hearts of people.  They desire to serve these two masters at the same time, but the Lord says that it is not possible.  We choose either God or possessions as our master.  There is one not so well known secret about possessions or money.  Money is a good servant but a poor master.  Thus, when it becomes our master, it stands before God and us.  The lure of money, the greed and covetousness of money, is the strongest inner power that defeats human good will, decency of mankind, and nobility of soul and mind.  It destroyed Balaam, Achan, and eventually Judas Iscariot.  The subject of money in preaching and teaching has been a sort of taboo, and preachers of money (I am not talking about televangelists who are constantly asking us to send money to them) are considered worldly and greedy ones.  Preaching and talking about biblical giving often touches people’s nerves and they become very sensitive or feel uncomfortable.  However, it should not be so.  It is because honouring God with our substance is worship (Proverbs 3:9).  In fact, if a biblical message of giving makes us nervous and uncomfortable, we must know that the time has arrived to examine our attachment to money and possession and our fellowship with the Lord.  When people experienced revivals in the Bible, they became cheerful givers.  

Even when the Lord was tempted by the evil tempters over an issue of Roman taxation, He wisely answered them, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and [render] unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).  I am sure that ordinary people do not have problems when they talk about the first part of the answer.  They know that they owe an obligation to the state.  People like His answer because He made a very clear distinction between church and state in it.  However, when they come to the second part of the answer, they begin to feel uncomfortable.  They do not want to acknowledge that there is an obligation for them to give God what belongs to Him.  One such example of God’s possessions is their tithe.  The Scripture says that it is holy unto the Lord (cf. Leviticus 27:30).  It never is ours, either first or last.  In a way, we cannot give our tithes to God because they are already His.  

If we truly believe and live that we should do all things as unto God, then we ought to know that we are also privileged to participate with the Lord in His plan for the ministry of the Word.  If we do not give God what belongs to Him, our material prosperity cannot be a blessing to us, because it takes our hearts and love from God.  We are simply showing our ungrateful hearts to Him who has given us abilities to gain riches.  W. A. Criswell argues that “the spiritual rewards of tithing to the individual soul and to the church are immense.  God has a heavenly purpose in it all.”  See if you can dispute what he has to say about tithing after reading the following quote from him: “Tithing is not a money-raising scheme.  It is a soul=growing, character-developing program.  The purpose of tithing is to secure not the tithe but the tither, not the possessions but the possessor, not your money, but you, for God.  When a preacher fails to develop his church in giving, he is grievously sinning against his people” (Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors, 153).  When we know of our giving life, we know of our hearts and love for God and understand if we are in true religion.  

There are good examples of people who practiced their giving to the Lord.  J. L. Kraft, head of the Kraft Cheese Corporation, gave approximately 25 percent of his enormous income to Christian causes for many years.  He said, “The only investments I ever made which have paid constantly increasing dividends, is the money I have given to the Lord.  Pastors will do their greatest service in leading their men to understand the truth of God concerning the stewardship of time and money.”  John D. Rockefeller said, “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 a week.”  Fritz Kreisler, the world’s distinguished violinist said, “I never took upon the money I earn as my own.  It is public money.  It is only a fund entrusted to my care for proper disbursement.  I am constantly endeavoring to reduce my needs to the minimum . . . . In all these years of my so-called success in music, we have not built a home for ourselves.  Between it and us stand all the homeless in the world.”  William Colgate, the soap and perfume manufacturer gave far more than a tenth.  A Christian university is standing as a monument to his fidelity and generosity.  Probably, such examples are just like a small iceberg that does not fully reflect the spirit of the givers of God.  

Of course, giving our tithes cannot be a substitute for our heart service.  I am afraid that some people think giving as an investment for entering into heaven.  If anyone thinks that tithing is a reservation ticket for heaven, he is wrong.  Heaven is not for sale.  One inevitable question is if it is wrong to be rich.  Being rich and wealthy is not sinful.  Rather, it could be a sign of God’s blessings.  However, an issue is the love of money, which is the root of all evil.  That’s why an ungiving life is a sign of an unspiritual life, or at least it means that the one not giving to the Lord is not keeping the foremost important commandment of the Lord which is to love Him with all heart, might, and soul.  The love of money keeps him away from the love of God.  He is serving mammon, not God.  God is in his lips, but far away from his heart.  

In the Bible, we cannot find a question from the Lord of how much we have.  But there are many implied questions of how we have used what we have.  

An unknown author wrote a poem, as follows:

There’s No Pocket in a Shroud,
Use your money while you’re living,
Do not hoard it to be proud:
You can never take it with you,
There’s no pocket in a shroud.
Gold can help you on no farther
Than the graveyard where you lie,
And tho’ you are rich while living
You’re a pauper when you die.
Use it then some lives to brighten
As through life they weary plod;
Place your bank account in heaven,
And grow richer towards your God.
Use it wisely, use it freely,
Do not hoard it to be proud;
You can never take it with you,
There’s no pocket in a shroud.

Lovingly,
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements


*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bros Houston Li & Jaehoon Mun; Sis Kristy Low. Helpers next week: Bro Lucas Yiew; Sisters Natalie Cheng & Seong Yeng Chu. 
*Cambodia Missions, 13 - 21 Feb 2017. Anyone interested to go, please see Elder Michael D Lee.
*Offerings collected 2 weeks ago have been sent to IBPFM.
*Undesignated offerings on Christmas Day Worship Service will be given to the Ngoma family as they start a new life in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
*Special Christmas Potbless Lunch will be organised for Christmas Day. Elder Michael D Lee will email details next week. 
*Watchnight Service will be held at CLG rectory. Please prepare to come and share what the Lord has done for you in 2016.
*Today’s Adult Sunday School will be the last for the year. Classes will resume on the 1st Sunday in February next year.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Dn Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family; & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the past week.
Hour of Hymns & Carols last Lord’s Day & the opportunity to meet with All Saints Church worshippers.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); & others in affliction.
God’s comfort for Dn Raphael Ng & family on the homegoing of his maternal grandfather.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions.
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for Task Force & congregation.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Rev Alfred Ngoma - Chaplain work; Mrs Ruth and Sis Thoko Ngoma as they prepare to move to Wagga Wagga.
God’s guidance for our theological students next year - Dn Sung Hyun Ma & Bro Kevin Low.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: All who are travelling.
Safety in pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
God’s guidance for settlement of new church on 20 Jan 2017.
Australia - Salvation of Australians & for our politicians not to pass any legislation that is against God’s Law.
God’s guidance for Covenant, Ebenezer, Hope & Providence BPCs to form an Australian B-P Presbytery.
Unity of doctrine & fellowship of Australian B-P churches.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063