The Grace of Giving
Giving is a characteristic of worship. Wise men from the East travelled a very long distance to worship Jesus and bring Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which had a spiritual meaning.
Frankincense, an incense, was a symbol of deity, gold was a symbol of kingship on earth and myrrh was commonly used as an anointing oil and was a symbol of death.
But they gave more than just gifts; they travelled an incredible distance.
Our Brakpan AGF vision
To reach the lost with the Gospel of Christ and to disciple them.
To have real genuine fellowship with each other through commitment to smaller groups.
To take care of the poor & needy in our own congregation & as the Lord leads outside our own church.
To support & encourage the persecuted church in prayer, financially and in person if God opens a door.
The Youth & Sunday School - Proper mentorship and adult role models.
1 Chronicles 29:13-14.
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly?
For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
In fact, we ourselves are not our own, we are God’s.
That means that our body, our talents, our possessions, our money and our time are not ours, they belong to God and we have been put in charge of managing them.
Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.
Even our ability to generate income comes from Him.
Beware lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Stewardship was originally made up of the tasks of a domestic steward, from stiġ (house, hall) and weard, (ward, guard, guardian, keeper).
Stewardship in the beginning referred to the household servant’s duties for bringing food and drink to the castle’s dining hall. Stewardship responsibilities were eventually expanded to include the domestic, service and management needs of the entire household.
Stewardship is now generally recognized as the acceptance or assignment of responsibility to shepherd and safeguard the valuables of others
Although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us.
God owns everything and we are responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it.
While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly reminds us about our responsibilities.
Owners have rights, Stewards have responsibilities.
An important element of stewardship is the idea of money and our bodies belonging to God.
By recognizing that God is even God of our wealth, a good steward would always tithe, so that they may be food in God’s storehouse.
Giving tithes goes as far back as the
time of Abraham, long before
“The Law of Moses”.
It is a sign showing that we acknowledge God’s Lordship over us even our wallets, but above all it’s a sign that says we love God more than our money.
We give it to the Lord acknowledging that He is our provider.
Hebrews 13: 5.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
For God “so loved” the world “that He Gave” His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
If we are stewards of God’s property here on earth, then we should be doing what He wants us to do with it, the decision is not up to us.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and he will reward him for what he has done.
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.
One gives freely yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
Remember the words of Jesus Himself.
He said also to the man who had invited him, When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said:
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
All the believers were together
and had everything in common.
Be careful that you are not always looking for an excuse to get out of helping someone in need, because you will more than likely find one.
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people, and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Deuteronomy 6:12. (Tithe)
When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Then say to the Lord your God: I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.
Remember what happened to Adam and Eve when they took from that which the Lord had said they must not eat when they had the rest of the garden to eat from.
The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them.
Otherwise, you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.
Remember what happened to Achan when he took that which was consecrated to the Lord from the spoils of Jericho.
Achan replied…When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them.
Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor.
Joshua said, Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today. Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.
Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.
When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
Last of all, he sent his son to them. They will respect my son, he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.
So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, they replied, and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.
the land-owner — God,
the tenants/farmers — the Jews (Particularly the Religious Leaders)
the landowner’s servants — the prophets who remained obedient and preached God’s word to the people of Israel,
the son — Jesus, and
the other tenants — the Gentiles.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.
Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for cancelling debts has been proclaimed. You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you.
However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land
the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully
obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these
commands I am giving you today.
For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward them. Rather, be open-handed and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbour this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing.
They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land. If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.
If, however, there is no one to redeem it for them but later on they prosper and acquire sufficient means to redeem it themselves, they are to determine the value for the years since they sold it and refund the balance to the one to whom they sold it; they can then go back to their own property. But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.
If any of your people, Hebrew men or women sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free, and when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress.
Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today
God made provision for his covenant people that they should not have to endure continual poverty. Coming to the New Testament we find that Luke 16 mentions 2 rich men. Abraham in paradise.
The rich man in hell. Only one thing is mentioned about the 2nd man’s life, and that is that he neglected the poor man at his gate.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. People are often unreasonable and self-centred, forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives, be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you, be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous, be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough, give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway.
A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out.
A SUBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"I FEEL for you, down there."
An OBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"It’s logical that someone would fall, down there."
A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST came along:
"You only THINK that you are in a pit."
A PHARISEE said:
"Only BAD people fall into a pit."
calculated HOW he fell into the pit.
A NEWS REPORTER
wanted the exclusive story on his pit.
CONFUCIUS said; "If you would have listened to me, you would not be in that pit."
BUDDHA said: "Your pit is only a state of mind."
A REALIST said: "That’s a PIT.“
A SCIENTIST calculated the pressure necessary (lbs./sq.in.) to get him out of the pit.
A GEOLOGIST told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
AN EVOLUTIONIST said: "You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle." In other words, he is going to DIE in the pit, so that he cannot produce any "pit-falling offspring."
The COUNTY INSPECTOR asked if he had a permit to dig a pit.
A PROFESSOR gave him a lecture on: "The Elementary Principles of the Pit."
An EVASIVE person came along and avoided the subject of his pit altogether
A SELF-PITYING person said: "You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen MY PIT!!“
An OPTIMIST said: "Things COULD be worse."
A PESSIMIST said: "Things WILL get worse!!"
JESUS, seeing the man, took him by the hand and LIFTED HIM OUT of the pit.
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
“I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much.”
“God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
“Live simply so others may simply live.”
The danger of the prosperity message that swept the Church in the last four decades, was that Godliness was seen by some as a means to financial gain in spite of the clear warning in Scripture in
1 Timothy 6:5-19.
The poor were despised and looked down on, viewed as been out of God’s will. Once again not in line with what we see in James 2:2-13.
1 Timothy 6:5-19.
People of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief's.
1 Timothy 6:5-19.
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus..... I charge you to keep this command …….. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
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?
And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.
Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, Cornelius!
Cornelius stared at him in fear.
What is it, Lord? he asked.
The angel answered, Your prayers
and gifts to the poor have come up
as a memorial offering before God.
2 Corinthians 8:1-9.
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.
Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations:
They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So, we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.
2 Corinthians 8:1-9.
But since you excel in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love, we have kindled in you see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.