Give unto God for your benefit
Acts 5:4 -
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
God alone is our provider. People above us in our work are just vessels so also when we work we become vessels through whom God provides us and our families; we or the people we work for are not our providers, God alone is. When we do not provide for ourselves and everything we have comes from God then why does God want us to give unto Him?
We as Christians are called to be led by the spirit and not by our flesh. We are called to overcome the flesh which is the carnal nature / sin nature that leads us to sin.
Jesus became a sacrifice for us and took away our sins as we believe in His sacrifice, but He did not take away the sin nature. To deal with the sin nature He gave us His Spirit and it is by the Spirit of God working in us we overcome the sin nature.
When Lucifer fell and became evil the first thing that bought him down was greed. It is written he decorated himself with precious gems. We need to understand Heaven is a spiritual place and not an earthly place to have earthly gems, so also Lucifer was not a man of flesh but a Cherub who is a spirit being far more complex and powerful than an Angel. We also need to note everything in Heaven is good even the so called gems symbolize good precious things. So when greed led Lucifer to have good things without reason of use, these good things started to have a bad effect on him and greed took birth.
Everything in this world is good and that is what God said in the start after He created it. But we should know when and how and how much of these good things to use. When we desire to hold on to things even though we do not have need for it that is when greed starts to work on us.
God gave us the statute of tithing to help us overcome this greed nature. Most people think they do a favour to God and His people when they tithe, they do not realize they are doing themselves a favour when they tithe.
We people need to realize tithing is just a step to giving unto the Lord. Most of the people in the early Church were Jews and as Jews they religiously tithed. So tithing was never an issue for them but as Christians after receiving the Holy Spirit they grew in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit led them from tithing unto giving.
We read in the chapter before (4) from verse 32 onwards, each Believer gave everything that was extra. Each one was led by the Lord to decide how much was needed by them and their families. We also see some who had dedicated their lives fully unto the Lord's work gave everything. That did not mean they did a greater giving than the others. Each one gave as they were led by the Lord, none gave more or else (even though what they gave differed), they all gave abiding to the Lord (Holy Spirit); therefore even though some gave more or less yet all gave equally according to what the Lord gave them.
We read Annanias and Sapphira were led by the Lord to give a certain part of their holding but they did not fully give. They held back a part of that extra which they were supposed to give. Peter was made aware by the Holy Spirit of the deed of Annanias and Sapphira. That is why Peter tells them, were not these things theirs before they decided to give and when they decided to abide to giving unto the Lord, he asked them why did the hold back part of what they were instructed to give? Had they not given then they would have been in a better position but when said yes to give and did not do it fully they were mocking God as to be a man who could be cheated even though they saw the glory of God among the people. That is why this deed of theirs angered God so much that judgment came instantly on them and they both died. When God's glory is greater, God's judgment is also harsher.
The one teaching Jesus gave that caused the most ruffles amongst His own disciples was the fact that it was almost impossible for a rich man to go to Heaven. No other teaching caused so much reaction on the disciples like this one did. Even when He said one would have to eat His flesh to have eternal life the disciples did not react much, the Jews did.
When Jesus said it is impossible for rich to enter Heaven it does not mean Christians from poor countries will have better chances to go to Heaven and people from countries would not.
We read in Acts they all did not give a fixed amount, but each gave according to what the Lord led them to give. Nor did all keep a fixed value of things, each one was led to keep what they needed and the extra they sold and gave unto the Lord. One may not be rich and still be rich by their greed and desires. Money is not evil but greed for money is. Having money for your need is not evil but having more than what one needs is greed and evil. We cannot stay we are stocking for a rainy day, there is a limit to that stocking and beyond that it shows lack of trust in God.
I am sure today if someone teaches on giving unto the Lord, most of his church would be empty. People struggle to tithe; giving unto the Lord is a too far a thing for them to even imagine.
Let us realize when we give unto the Lord, God is not benefited in any way. The most benefited person is we, ourselves. We all are not called to give everything, we should be led by the Lord as to know how much we need and what is that extra we need to give.
I have seen Preachers misuse Luke 6:38 for tithing, if they read 2 lines above they will realize Jesus was talking not of tithing but showing mercy unto others. Jesus says in those scriptures the mercy we give unto others, a far greater mercy, pressed down, running over, shaken together will be given unto us.
In Malachi God challenges man to tithe and He assures us, when we do that our vessels / store house will never be wanting, they will in fact overflow. Note one thing He does not says He will expand the vessels to hold more, No. What we need He will provide and He will give us extra when should overflow unto others. But we Christians all the time try to expand our vessels, enlarge our desires more and more, try to hold as much we can and that is when we become rich and loose the chance to go to Heaven. We land up with being blessed here on earth but forsake our chance to go to Heaven.
Let us remember greed is the most difficult worm of Satan to overcome. God does not ask us to immediately overcome it. He understands our weakness thus tells us to start by giving 10percent of our income unto His cause (work of His Kingdom). As we become honest to Him in this small thing and grow in His Spirit, we learn to have better relationship with Him and then He teaches to give unto Him and overcome greed.
I would like to again remind, when we give more than others that does not make us better than others or holier. It is the Lord who give and He who asks of us, we just abide. So none of us become greater or smaller by what we give for all are equal when we abide by the Lord. It is the Lord who enables us to do little or greater for His Kingdom.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You called us to overcome the darkness that Satan and his angels spread when they went against your desires. Lord, You know how difficult it is for man to overcome greed that is why You set stages for man to overcome unlike for other things. When Abraham tithed even though he gave 10 percent to Melchizedek, yet he did not take more than what his people consumed. He gave away everything else. Lord, our spirit is strong but our flesh is weak. We pray Lord we be honest in our giving and we grow to overcome our flesh...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
Acts 4:33-37; 5:1-11
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King's Vale).
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand unto Jehovah, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,
23 that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men that went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
8 Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
36 Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released:
38 give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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