Christians have no money today – meaning they are near or at the break-even line in their family budget.
Some may even be under water, so to speak, concerning finances. They are drowning in debt.
I believe that Christians are in debt…and churches are in debt, because we fail to listen intently to the message in God’s Word and God has spelled out how to give and how much money to give….both to the Jew and to the Christian.
Jesus talked a lot about money. He gave us clear instructions and parables so that he could teach us exactly how to handle money…how to have a family budget…what we need to include in that family budget, and how to give of the ABUNDANCE that he truly wants to give us.
Let’s start right off with who it is that puts wealth into our hands, shall we?
Deuteronomy 8:18 gives us this reminder: “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.”
We can couple those words of wisdom with the words from Jesus that we find in the New Testament: John 15:5 –“without me ye can do nothing.” Conversely, “With me – you can do anything.”
Now, the first thing that God would like to have us do is straighten out our FAMILY BUDGETS.
To do that, we need to develop a budget. We need to know how much things cost….versus how much money we earn.
Hopefully, we can get to “BREAK-EVEN” but we need to start by having a budget.
If you have Microsoft Windows or Vista software, you automatically have a budget layout sheet in your computer. Go to your START button, click on PROGRAMS. There, you will see MICROSOFT WORKS. Click on that, and it will open a menu. The menu will show MICROSOFT WORKS SPREADSHEET. Open that up and learn how to use it.
I’m 66 years old, and two years ago, I decided it was time for me to develop a BUDGET….I call this the FAMILY BUDGET or the DAILY BREAD BUDGET. I had to learn quickly how to use the Works Spreadsheet...and if I can do it...anyone can do it.
I will refer to the BUDGET as the DAILY BREAD BUDGET from now on because God has promised to help us with our finances, but He first wants us to have a DAILY BREAD BUDGET.
Here are some of the things you will put in your EXPENSE column of your SPREADSHEET: Mortgage payments, IRS taxes, real estate taxes, home insurances, food, clothing, health and life insurances, automobile payments, insurance and gasoline, and so forth.
Let’s say your DAILY BREAD NEEDS add up to $5,000 a month.
I do not believe in TITHING, and I will demonstrate that TITHING is actually a deterrent to giving the way the New Testament proposes that we give.
I do believe, however, that the Old Testament demonstrates that the TEMPLE needed 10% of what the members earned to operate the daily needs, which including paying the Rabbi and the singers, and the gate keepers called PORTERS.
Today, churches have DAILY BREAD NEEDS as well. We have to pay the pastor or pastors, the utility bills, and all of those budget needs of the church.
I will say that the Old Testament teaches that the church, then, needs ten percent of our earnings – our FIRSTFRUITS – our SUBSTANCE so they can maintain their daily expenses. Therefore, I would add 10% of my DAILY BREAD BUDGET of $5,000 to take care of the needs of the church.
I would add $500.00 to my DAILY NEEDS BUDGET to meet that obligation…and it is an obligation that we have as a member of the local church to support it. This is an obligation, but not a MANDATE.
Beyond that, giving in the New Testament is an issue of the heart, and I will clear this up momentarily.
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all of these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Jesus specifically told us what THESE THINGS are that shall be added unto you.
In verses 31 and 32…He clarified: “Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
Jesus declared that if we put HIM first, He will take care of our food, clothing and shelter– OUR DAILY BREAD NEEDS.
So, the first thing we NEED to do is get the income and expenses to break-even.
Add the items of expenses up…add 10% to that total. Then, compare it to your income.
Your goal is to make your income equal your expenses…and then WAIT FOR GOD TO GIVE THE INCREASE.
Get to break even, including your support money for your local church…then we will deal with the INCREASE that God puts into your hands.
When Jesus told the parable of the three stewards in Matthew 25, He specifically said that the MASTER gave His SERVANTS some money to invest in His work. He was already meeting their DAILY BREAD NEEDS.
The money that He entrusted them with would be their INCREASE – their ABUNDANCE – their PROSPERITY money that they could go out and earn more money with it.
Once you have a budget….you will PAY OFF YOUR CREDITORS. The reason you want to pay off your creditors is because they are causing you to waste your substance on things you did not need, but you WANTED, and that is costing you 29% for that INSTANT GRATIFICATION.
It amazes me to discover that people will gripe about paying 10% to keep their church going, but paying 29% to a credit card company is no problem!
Facts show us that to own a $100. pair of sneakers will actually cost us $500.00. That $5.00 sub sandwich – when placed on a credit card, costs us $25.00! Would you pay $25.00 for the sandwich?
If I asked you to pay me back $2,000 if I loan you $300. for one month, you would think I was a fool. Yet, each month, we pay our mortgage lender $2,300.00 (let’s say) and $300.00 reduces the principal on the loan…while $2,000.00 goes into the pockets of the creditor…RHYMES WITH PREDATOR.
Now, I want to remind you of the Old Testament story of an old widow woman.
The CREDITORS were coming to take her two sons into slavery because her husband had died….but he owed the CREDITORS money. They wanted to take her two sons and sell them into slavery to pay off the debts.
Get the implication? When we owe a CREDITOR, we are their SLAVES.
Once we can get to a DAILY BREAD BUDGET, God can trust us to give out of the ABUNDANCE that He plans to trust us with.
He said, “I will NOT trust you with a lot…until I can trust you with a little.” Luke 16:11 –“If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous money, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?”
Instead, what many of us have done, was to KEEP that which is anothers’ and spend it on ourselves.
The Old Testament verse found in Malachi 3:11 tells us that God will allow the devourer (Satan) to take our money from us if we cannot learn lessons about money from God.
We wonder, ‘WHAT HAPPENED?” when we lose our job…or a creditor comes knocking on our door to collect a debt. God simply allwed the devil to take your “stuff”. You squandered what He entrusted you with…and I speak to myself here as well.
God tells us how to give in the New Testament.
First, I challenge anyone to read all about the first CHRISTIAN CHURCH at Jerusalem, and tell me that TITHING was preached.
Then, read about the churches at Galatia or Corinth…or Ephesus or Phillipi or Collisia or Thessalonica…..and tell me if there are any instructions to the Gentiles about tithing. I have a CONTACT button on my web site.
There are, however, principals of giving in the New Testament.
The first principle should get us to the point where we WANT TO trust God for our next breath…our next sandwich and our next dollar.
Then, once God gets our DAILY BREAD NEEDS met, and He then trusts us with an ABUNDANCE, how will we give out of it?
The principle is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6 –“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
God says, “If I am going to give an ABUNDANCE of PROSPERITY into your hands, I want to remind you that - IF YOU GIVE TO MY WORK SPARINGLY….I WILL GIVE BACK TO YOU SPARINGLY….and that will be before I take everything away from you again.”
Giving must be done from the heart - .and not mandated. Mandated means YOU MUST GIVE. Tithing means YOU MUST GIVE.
I dare say that many churches that mandate giving 10% of some elusive number will barely meet the day-to-day operations of the church, and will, by default using a 10% number, neglect the outreach ministries that will reach unbelievers.
Churches that mandate the ten percent tithing rule will always be looking for money to meet the CHURCH BUDGET.
God’s will is NOT that a local church survive on a DAILY BREAD budget.
His will is found in John 6:40 and jesus told us exactly what God’s will is: “For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
To have God’s will accomplished, He needs to be able to TRUST people with money, and He needs to trust that you won’t be cheap about giving to His Plan – which is to save lost souls from hell.
When a church mandates giving, the entire concept of giving spelled out by Jesus in the New Testament is forfeited - and the loser becomes the unsaved.
I do not understand fully why some pastors…probably most of them MANDATE giving a TITHE – 10% of an unknown number which only supports the TEMPLE …the church.
This limits and restricts the GROWTH of the church. Growth means SOULS ARE BEING SAVED. Yet, with the TITHE, we stifle growth. Most churches are begging for money now…as the recession takes its toll on America.
We need to TRUST GOD….our pastors need to trust Him, and we need to trust Him. If we did, money would be no object – especially in a recession. God takes care of those He can trust.
So, we know NOT to give of our ABUNDANCE of wealth that God creates for us to give back to Him. We do NOT give back SPARINGLY. How much should we give then?
Luke 6:38 defines this: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Once again, God gives us a New Testament principle of giving: How we measure it out to Him – He will measure it out to us.”
If we give sparingly, He will do likewise. When we fail to give CHEERFULLY, out of the ABUNDANCE that God entrusts us with, He will take it away – AND THAT IS WHY CHRISTIANS HAVE NO MONEY TODAY.
God said that He does not want any money left over when Jesus comes back to get us. He told us that the Gospel of Christ – that saves men’s souls, will be published throughout all the world…and then Jesus will return.
I believe that His return is imminent, so be sure to read my articles on the 2015 Rapture.
I was reminded of the fact that God has given every inhabitant on the earth information that should drive them toward searching for their CREATOR.
Everyone on the planet will have to give an account as to why they rejected God's Son, and they will have to pay the ultimate payment of eternal damnation for rejecting Him.
I reflect on Titus 2:11 which reads, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”
This tells me that mankind…all men, have the grace and knowledge of Jesus placed in their hearts - to reject or accept. God says that HE put it there, so who can argue with God?
Each person on the planet, therefore, must tell God when they see Him face-to-face, why they rejected Jesus.
He told them about His Son, and how they could escape the punishment of hell by simply having faith in Jesus and all that He stood for.
If they say, “Well, I just didn’t know”, He might refer them to Romans 1: 18-20 - “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. -For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
This is why we must spend our ABUNDANCE money to get the word out to those who have their ears open, and who choose to hear.
This abundance is the money that God has “prospered” you with.
Pastors have been taught - at Bible college or Seminary, that Paul, a Jewish Pharisee, still gave.
They are right...Paul brought his "ALMS" to the Temple...to the Nation of Israel as it was his duty under the Law -as a Jew to do this. Paul, a Christian, was still a Jew. He was not a convert...that is to say that he converted to "Christianity" and, therefore, became a non-Jew. Once a Jew - always a Jew. Paul, however, was a Jew who believed in Christ, and who preached the Gospel of Christ.
Pastors often quote Malachi 3:10 – “What…will a man rob God?” How? In Tithes and Offerings.”
Again, if you are Jewish…by all means TITHE.
Don’t limit God or yourself – or your church by believing that your are MANDATED to just give 10% of an unknown number. By TITHING, we are actually being told - taught...to limit God.
We are taught to then KEEP and SPEND our ABUNDANCE that God is trying to entrust us with so that we will give it back to His desire to reach the lost? "Give us the TENTH...you keep the rest." This is wrong.
If God begins to work with you and you determine to reach a DAILY NEEDS BUDGET, and you promise God that you will NOT incur more credit card debt, then watch Him give you the INCREASE.
Your FIRST TEST will be when God gives you an INCREASE…when He PROSPERS YOU, what will you do with the money?
Let me put it to you in numbers. Let’s say you are meeting your DAILY BREAD BUDGET, and God decides to put an extra $3,000 into your pocket next month.
It is all PROSPERITY DOLLARS. You don’t need it. It’s EXTRA…a BONUS.
Normally, you will be inclined to just spend it all on yourself, right?
Normally, you would feel free to spend it on “stuff” because your preacher has already told you that you have met the 10% requirement of the MANDATED TITHE. So you fork over $300.00 and now you have $2,700. left in your pocket. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH IT?
This is where God wants to test you.
I have already made an arrangement with God to where I would give 90% of all ABUNDANCE that He places into my hands, and I will keep just 10% for my rainy day fund.
What about YOU? Why can’t you know in your heart that god gave you the money to TEST YOU…to see if you will keep it…spend it…or invest it in HIS WORK.
Why not give 30% of it…or 50%….or 90%….it’s EXTRA. God put it into your hands.
I like the idea of keeping 10% of the ABUNDANCE that God gives me so He can know that He can trust that I will give it back to His work. If God entrusted me with $10 Million, I get to keep $1 Million for myself….to do whatever I want with. How do you beat that deal?
I have seen God take care of my DAILY BREAD NEEDS, and believe me….He has run me through quite the TRIAL to get me to that point! All of that story is part of the book I am finishing now – Satan’s Games.
God desperately wants to TRUST you with money. Why not work with Him to get to the point where you can give of the ABUNDANCE that He puts into your hands?
Your ABUNDANCE is the amount of money above your SUBSTANCE.
I went to Genesis to discover what SUBSTANCE is because I thought it was what EXISTS at any given moment. Your SUBSTANCE is your DAILY BREAD BUDGET.
The first recording of the word SUBSTANCE is found in Genesis 7:4 –“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.”
In the Hebrew Lexicon, SUBSTANCE is yek-oom' – and it means “that which stands or exists”. Therefore, my guess turned out to be fact.
In Job, Chapter 1:3 - we read specifically what Job’s SUBSTANCE consisted of. “His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”
When Job’s TRIAL was over, God gave him an INCREASE – an ABUNDANCE so that he would end up with double of everything he had. If 7000 sheep were worth $1.4 million dollars today, and God DOUBLED Job’s substance, then Job would have had an INCREASE of another $1.4 million. What would you do if God DOUBLED your income?
By the way, I have discovered that when we go through a TRIAL – a TIME OF TESTING, (I call it God’s BOOT CAMP), God does it in three phases:
The first phase is the REMOVAL PHASE. This is when God takes everything away form us…sometimes everything includes family, friends and loved ones. He wants to get our undivided attention.
The next phase is the RESTORATION phase. God begins to RESTORE things that he took away earlier...just like He did in Job's situation.
The third phase is the BLESSING PHASE. When we learn the lessons that God has taken the time to show us…that becomes the BLESSING, and we can pass that on to others – who might fall into the same trials that we went through. Our BLESSING is that we get to pass it on – just like I’m doing here to encourage you.
God’s third principal of New Testament Giving is spelled out in 1 Corinthians 16:2 – “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
God is telling us to set aside an amount that we feel IN OUR HEARTS (not mandated) from the money that He has PROSPERED us with…and bring it to church on Sunday and give it.
He also does not want us to hoard it. He would rather that we invest it into HIS WORK.
He will continue to bless us so we don’t have to worry about protecting HIS MONEY. YOU BRING IT….God wants YOU to be in attendance in church on SUNDAY.
Folks, if we do it right, God promises to take care of our DAILY BREAD NEEDS.
Then, He says He wants to see if He can trust us with more.
Can He? The need is great….even more so as we see the day approaching where Jesus is coming back to take His church home to heaven. Why hoard His investment money?
The whole reason we give was discovered by me a long time ago in the Book of Luke. It tells us that, because of our giving, souls of the formerly lost will greet us in heaven and they will thank us for causing them to “Look upon the Son and be saved.” We'll get to that verse momentarily.
We can’t close without reading two more verses from God’s Word:
2 Corinthians 9:7 – “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Finally, we are told why it is that we give the money that God loans us. Luke 16:9. I will first read it from the King James Version of the Bible as that is the most accurate….then, I am going to read it in English so you will totally GET THE MEANING.
9-"And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”
In English – “Make eternal friends for yourself with your money because when you pass on to the next life in heaven, they will welcome you and you will rejoice with them because you invested God’s money in their souls.”
We have a "Prayer of Salvation" located at www.JohnTyler.com/Salvation.htm
John Tyler, Author of nine books.
FIVE of my books are bible-bases, so those are FREE!