August 9 – The Blockade

August 9 – The Blockade

Luke 11:42

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.” (Luke 11:42).

One of the greatest blockades on the road to victory for King Jesus is something very practical, quite earthy, really – money. And the lack of it for the missionary enterprise is a major roadblock to world evangelism. We seem to have plenty for our own needs and for the needs of our local churches, but when it comes to sending out American missionaries, it dries up. In fact, only four cents on each dollar given by evangelicals in the USA is used for world missions. Ninety-six percent of giving is spent at home, on ourselves. Many are fully prepared and ready to go, but the money isn’t there. What’s the problem?

Part of the problem of funding the enterprise may spring from misguided priorities. There often seems to be funding enough for building church edifices and even for sending more than a million short-termers annually at a cost of several billion dollars. And many churches give largely to support the ministries of poorer churches overseas.

Actually, the wealth of American churches is unprecedented in church history. But put in the context of (1) the need and (2) the proportion Christian people keep for themselves, giving is far from sacrificial. Even far from generous when compared with what the Church in other places and other times has done. So the basic problem may be one of spiritual maturity.

Maybe it would help to remember that Paul teaches that the willingness and ability to give is a grace, a gift from God. Paul viewed every disciple as living in the flow of the grace of God, into a life and then through that life. This is not just in terms of spiritual blessing. The grace of physical financial resources are provided as an act of God’s grace and then flow through the Christians to others (1 Corinthians 8:7). I may not be able to graduate to a new level of giving but God is quite able to grace me up a step. Trust Him!

We’ve listened to Jesus teaching about giving because lack of giving is a major obstacle to world evangelism. So money is a key factor in both the missionary enterprise and simultaneously in the life of participants. Anyone can evaluate your spiritual maturity if you’ll let them see your check-stubs, Jesus seems to say. In this way, giving ties together the fruit of the Spirit with the greatest of all gifts of the Spirit, evangelism. And because the key to our response about money is love, the chief of the fruits the Spirit gives, this very earthy part of our lives becomes of critical importance simultaneously both to personal spiritual health and to world evangelism.

We’ve emphasized the role of the individual in missions finance, but the church has a critical role:

* to teach and encourage all members toward biblical giving, nurturing spiritual maturity and

* to manage what has been given with biblical priorities in control of the budgeting process.

We know the painful, then liberating, move to make from tithing to managership. And we know very well, as we see the abject poverty of the world, almost none of us live a sacrificial lifestyle. Spurts of sacrifice, maybe, but far from Jesus’ model of giving. How about you? Honesty about our finances may be the hardest honesty of all. As you review your giving for the past year, checking your records if you aren’t sure, at what level of giving have you been? Are you pleased with that level? Is God pleased? What kind of lover does that show you to be? What kind of truster?

God’s standard for giving is one He Himself models. He created you, so He is owner. We stole His property – took possession of ourselves. But in love He purchased you at terrible cost, just as if He had no claim on you, making you twice His. If you will only respond with love in obedient giving He guarantees your livelihood (Luke 12:31); rewards you lavishly in this life as if you were giving what is your own property; and in heaven He rewards you all over again! (Luke 18:28-30). That’s God’s level of giving, love giving.

In response to such love, are you ready to move up one step? If you’ve never been a faithful tither, isn’t it time to promise Him that 10%? Trust Him! He’ll take care of you. Perhaps you’ve been a tither for years but you did pretty much what you pleased with the other ninety percent. Isn’t it time to stop that foolishness and become an honest manager of the property of Another? Whatever level of maturity you’ve achieved in your walk with God, don’t you want to step up? If you are unwilling to move up from your present level of maturity it may be because you don’t trust God to meet your needs, or a lack of faith. Or love. If because of your love for Jesus, you’re ready to take that leap of faith to the next level, tell Him so. Now.

Scroll to top