We have been studying why missionaries speak in churches. So far I have given four reasons why we (missionaries do so): 1) We believe we should not go to non-Christians to support Christian ministry. Those who give become fellow-workers for the truth. 2) The labor is worthy of his hire, which is why Paul was not shy about asking churches to help him on his way. 3) God desires that Christians show their trust by giving the first part of their income to Him for Christian ministry. 4) We missionaries, while needing to be content with what we have, know it is good for Christians to give. Giving to Christian missionaries and Christian ministries causes Christian growth and maturity.
Today we will look at another reason why missionaries speak in churches. Missionaries know that certain churches have a culture of giving. These churches have been taught that God expects them to provide for the ministry of the church, which includes missions. Habibi, I personally have gone to hundreds of churches who have this culture of giving, which I will now describe to you.
The culture of giving in the churches, which I am familiar, is based upon principles found in the Old Testament. Let’s start at the beginning.
Genesis 14: 17 Then after his (Abraham’s) return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him (Abraham) at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him (Abraham) and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.
After Abraham and his men defeated those who had kidnapped his nephew Lot, Abraham was greeted by a priest of the Most High God. What two things did Melchizedek say about the Most High God? How did Abraham respond to Melchizedek and this information about the Most High God?
Abraham desired to show his thankfulness to God by giving a tenth of everything he earned to Him. There is no record of a command of God to do so. Abraham just did what he thought was appropriate.
Genesis 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Why did Jacob vow to give a tenth to God?
In Jacob’s situation, he was facing an uncertain future, so he made a vow to God that he would give God one tenth of all this resources if God preserved him.
Numbers 18:21 “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.
Notice that God actually demanded the Israelites give a tenth of all their produce to God’s servants.
That which is a law in the Old Testament (giving a tenth) is only a principle or pattern in the New Testament. In the New Testament, God does not give a command to give a certain percentage of our wealth. I think this is because He desires for us to let love be our guide.
John 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
Notice that Jesus did not command Peter. Instead He asked, Do you love me? If you do then show it by caring for my lambs. If we love Jesus, we take care for His children. This takes our whole life to do so. It is our business as Christians to live life so others can hear of Christ and be saved. Financing Christian ministry is only one part of this.
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
What does God want us to do? Is this a command?
God desires that we give our life to him. Everything we are and have should be placed before God for His use.
Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Each one of us should ask God how we should serve Him.
Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
We should serve as God has prepared us to serve.
Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
What is God asking of you?
- God gives a pattern of giving 10% of our income.
- Our love for Jesus and His people should be our motivation to give.
- If it is our Spiritual gift to give, we should do it liberally.
- Missionaries speak in churches because some churches love Jesus and want to give to build His church.