I continue my write-up on Giving: To obtain a bank loan, an officer will ask you how you intend to utilize the proceeds. Imagine his reaction when he hears that you will give it to your Church. ‘Church? The name?’ he asks. ‘Revival True Church,’ you tell him. ‘PLC or Ltd?’ he snubs. ‘Not like that, we preach the Gospel,’ you defend. ‘So you are the owner?’ he asks. ‘No, I am just a member’. Whether the loan is given or not, behind you, they will all laugh at you, believing that you need to see a Psychiatrist. Giving when it hurts!
Borrowing any equipment may attract rent payment while that of money may attract interest payment. In either case, failure to return the equipment or money on maturity date may lead to the disposal of the collateral you deposited. Apart from this, borrowing may lead to humiliation. That is why the Englishman says, ‘He, who goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing’. In simple terms, that borrowing causes sorrow. When I was growing-up in the village, it was normal for the less-privileged women to borrow clothes they wore during important ceremonies. It was reputed that as a lady, who borrowed a piece of wrapper, was dancing with it excitedly, a little child shouted, ‘Aunty, take it easy before you tear my mum’s wrapper’. Chineke! William Shakespeare said, ‘Neither a lender nor a borrower be: for borrowing often lowers the edge of husbandry’. The Bible says, ‘Thou shall lend to many nations but thou will not borrow’- Deut. 28:12.
In spite of all these pains and warnings, why do people still borrow money to do God’s work? There are negative and positive reactions to this. Some people criticise the man, who borrows for God’s purpose, accusing him of doing so because he is looking for a position in the Church. This may or may not be true. For sure, such a criticism discourages sacrificial giving. Where a man understands Who God is, and what He can do, he will refuse to be discouraged by anybody and there is nothing he cannot do for God. I know a Church, where the leadership understands God in this way and does not manipulate members in payment of tithes and offerings.
In this Church, a member once paid a tithe of N8 million and the leadership was reserved because they were not aware of the source of the revenue. As one of the Senior Pastors was in their boat going to Tarkwa Bay for missionary work, a member complained to him how he sold a house for a member [that member] for N80 Million and the man did not pay him their agreed agency fees. The Senior Pastor laughed, having discovered that the source of the tithe was genuine.
Giving when it hurts means nothing to a man, who realises that God owns him as well as all the things he has. The Bible tells us that we were bought with a price – 1Cor. 6:30. A man had issues with his only child and to punish him, he wrote in his Will that at his death, his son would take only one of his possessions while his slave would take the rest. At his death, his slave grew wings overnight, knowing that he would soon be a multi-millionaire. Oil wells, bank, houses, land, et cetera, were among the man’s possessions. The son sought counsel from wise men, who told him to choose his father’s slave, for whatever a slave owned, belonged to his master. That was what the son did during the execution of his father’s Will, and by that, he took all the possession of his dad. And so, all the things we have: ourselves, money, time, et cetera, belong to God since we were bought with a price.
If we realize this, our giving then is nothing special but merely returning to God a part of what He has put under our trust. It takes understanding to know this, and obedience to do it. In 2Kings 6:1-7, Elisha gave out his pride by going to Jordan with his students. Pride makes us to be image-conscious. We may succeed in making people fear us but they will not really respect us. We may feel that being friendly with people will lead to abuse and at the end, affect discipline. This is not true. A leader, while being friendly still enforces discipline. We are fond of our children, playing and eating with, them but we still discipline them when they err.
A man, who was a chronic late-comer, worked under me. He so much perfected his ways that before he arrived in the office, someone would inform me that he had a flat tyre. I tried to use force to deal with the malady but it did not work. I then tried friendship. Each time he arrived late, I would say, “Sorry o”. He would ask why I was saying that. “Because of your flat tyre,” I replied. He would laugh. “Oga, let me tell you the truth,” he would say, “I didn’t have any flat tyre. I woke up late this morning”. That medicine was effective.
Note that the result of Elisha going with his students to River Jordan was that the beams were cut and he recovered miraculously the student’s axe head that fell into the river. Imagine what pride would have caused, had he not gone with them. Seeing that a student borrowed an axe for the work, would challenge him and other students, teaching them that someone could borrow money or anything for God’s cause.
Giving results in praise to God. Though the poor people may not have the means to repay you, their prayer is their recommendation and it is thus to the advantage of the rich givers. As they receive your gifts, they will be sending prayers to God concerning you. So as you bless others, you will be blessed by God. Paul emphasizes the spiritual rewards for those who give generously to God’s work. Giving should not be made as an investment but an expression of our love to God and man. It is a privilege and yet, God prospers givers.
Personal Appraisal: If your Pastor insists that next Sunday, there will be no offering envelops, no squeezing of offering and that you will deposit your offering on the table in front of him, will the offering not triple? If he relaxes the position the next Sunday, will the offering not drop to what it is today? Who then do we fear: God or man? If you were Prof. Elisha, would you have gone with your students to River Jordan to cut the wood? Who then hinders miracles?
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]