November is one of the most glorious months of the year! It is during this time of jubilant holidays we get to escape from work and school, and with Christmas bonuses we are encouraged to think about others and bless them instead of thinking only about ourselves. We see our favorite bell ringers and hear about all of the great work that is being done all around the world for those who are living without basic necessities. It is a joyous time for humanity to come together and celebrate life! And yet for some people, this time of the year has the opposite effect, and they are filled with dread because they shudder at any opportunity to give their money away. Instead of taking joy in the season of giving, they clench their fist tightly around their money and grumble. For these people, tithing is agony, giving is a veritable apocalypse and missions is Armageddon itself.
This kind of giving fear never seems to be connected to the lottery or casinos, both of which depend on people's faith not in God but in luck and chance. Instead of "agony" and "apocalypse," the world uses :"amazing," "astonishing," "awesome" and "awe-inspiring," power words to describe the $1 billion lottery jackpot. If the world can muster the faith to trust a gamble, why can't God's people trust Him to make good on His infinite promise to provide for their needs and to bless them abundantly?
The kingdom of God is full of people of light, love and life. We are the children of His promises, which include abundant living. His track record of faithfulness to carry out His Word stretches back millennia. And yet stinginess and the fear of lack is nothing new among people. Jesus addressed it head-on. He warns us, "You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money" (Luke 16:13b, NLT), and taught that "if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" (Luke 16:11, MEV). He got to the core of the matter when He declared, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21). Pastor Craig Groeschel puts it this way: "We give up things we love for things we love even more."
The truth is, God has money for anything He wants done, and He will channel that money through people. Trusting God with our tithing and giving opens up the windows of heaven to allow God to pour out blessings we cannot contain so that we can be a conduit for His provision. If we believe obedience to the Word of the living God can allow us to conquer any adversary; if we believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit and praying faith-filled prayers have the power to change nations, open up doors that no man can shut and release us to be God's witness to the ends of the world; and if we truly desire to live a life of epic, excellent and exciting power, we must understand what the Word of God has to say about giving. Then we must do what it tells us to do.
It is up to us to share with the world the power that can be gained through trusting Jesus Christ, God's Word and the Holy Spirit. But it is also up to us as leaders, servants, pastors and evangelists to correct people's misperceptions about giving. People may have chosen to block out the Word of God and all that it can offer their life simply because someone in the past presented the idea of tithing in a negative way. There are actual people in the world today who believe all God wants is their money and that there is nothing else for them in Jesus Christ or the church. We must be the ones to help eliminate this lie from the world and help people to understand the true nature and power of God's Word. God is not trying to take away from people; He is trying to open people up so He can bless their lives far beyond measure.
This season, it is also up to teach our congregations the importance of a heart-attitude that trusts God enough to love and bless those who are in need freely, as well as tithe into His kingdom. As we present the Word of God, let us be mindful of the power of our words and the effect they can have on people's perception of God. We must present tithing in appropriate terms. We must present salvation in appropriate ways. We must model for them that when we create a lifestyle of helping others to be blessed by God, He shall bless us in the process! As Proverbs 11:25b (NLT) says, "Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
Be refreshed, be renewed and be blessed.
You are beautiful; I see Jesus in you.
Have an awesome week!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the Book of Hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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