Friday, November 17, 2017
Will God bless cheapskates?
I attended a church service for the first time in six years and it reminded me very quickly why I stopped attending in the first place. The service started with good heartfelt worship music, which was great. Then the pastor took the stage. And went on a twenty minute rant about how the congregation should give more money. He said that "tithes (giving 10% of your pre-tax income) and offerings" should just be "the starting place" for giving. He said it was "okay" if you "just" gave the 10%, but really you should pray to see "if God wants you to give more." He said, "Did you ever notice that God really takes care of the people that give a lot?" Which is a thinly veiled way of preaching "the prosperity gospel," where you "give to get." (The prosperity gospel goes back all the way to Oral Roberts' "seed faith" ministry, which has you "planting the seed (money) of faith in the ground and when you do, God will grow it." Of course you're giving the money to Oral Roberts, not God. Which reminds me of the saying 'If someone is preaching about the joy of giving, you can be sure he wants to be on the receiving end.')
Years ago when I went to church regularly I was just scraping by financially. And I can't tell you how many services I sat through where the preaching was on giving. The most quoted Bible verse was 2 Corinthians 9:7 and it was "...for God loves a cheerful giver." The thing is the preachers always leave off the first part of the verse which is: "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion..." (italics mine) And the compulsion was abundant in those church services. If the "God loves a cheerful giver" verse didn't work, it would progress to verses like you were "robbing God" (Malachi 3:8). Specifically the verse says: "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings." And that verse was often used in variations like "That's God's (tithes) money!"
So I sat there, a financial sinking ship, listening to all this, thinking, This isn't right. And, amongst other reasons, I haven't gone back until recently. Now, I never stopped believing, but yeah, I didn't need to hear this money grubbing preaching either.
I was warned I'd never make it without being in a church. That the Devil works by isolating people and then he tears them apart.
They didn't scare me. Maybe they were right; maybe they were wrong. I figured I'd find out for myself.
And God blessed me. Financially and otherwise.
What a lousy God He would be if He only blessed the big bucks givers of the world. Or this notion of "robbing God." How utterly ridiculous. Like God needs to get better anti-virus software.
Nope, God will bless you if you can't give, and He'll bless you even if you can and don't.
He blesses everybody who sincerely seeks him. Everybody.