November 24, 2008

More than you Think...

Every year about this time I urge our congregation to give ‘more than you think you can give’ to the Lottie Moon Missions Offering (or the benevolence offering, or the ...). It’s a bold suggestion. It goes against conventional wisdom. Many financial counselors would have a fit if they heard me say it. Some pastors would scold me for being too demanding. But I wish everyone in this church (and on this blog) would give more to missions and mercy than seems doable.

Why? Because that is exactly the kind of example we are given in the Scriptures. Jesus didn’t applaud the wealthy people at the temple gates—the ones who gave large gifts out of their surplus. He commended the poor widow who gave two copper coins—all she had to live on (Mark 12.41-44). And Paul pointed to the poor Macedonian as an example of faithful giving:

In a great deal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints (2 Corinthians 8.2-4).

Did you catch that? The Macedonians were afflicted and deeply poor. Yet they rejoiced in giving. They gave – hear this well – beyond their ability. They even begged Paul to let them give an offering (a minister’s dream)! They loved giving to God’s purposes so much that they gave more than they thought possible—and trusted God with their needs!

That’s the example of biblical, God-honoring giving. When a need comes up, we don’t fish around for our spare change (or spare hundred dollar bills, as the case may be). We give more than we think prudent—so that loose change becomes twenty-dollar bills; and hundreds become thousands! I don’t doubt that some of you have the ability to give thousands to the cause of missions if you choose to! Not sure? Here are some suggestions for how you might give more than you think you can give, both this year and next…

*Sell some piece of property and give the money to missions or mercy (a car, a home, a piece of land or jewelry, a doll collection, etc.). In that day, will these things matter more than souls?

*Give your entire Christmas bonus to missions or mercy.

*Buy a less expensive car, television, CD player, etc. and give the money you would have normally spent to missions or mercy.

*Give some of that Christmas money to missions or mercy. The perishing millions need the gospel more than your husband needs a gas-grill!

*Cash in some rainy-day savings account and put the money in the missions offering. It’s better to save the islanders than visit the islands!

*By faith, simply take a larger-than-you-think-you-can-afford chunk of your current cash-on-hand and give it to missions or mercy … and trust God to provide.

*Disable the cable, the high-speed internet, the extra cell minutes…and put the extra money into your offering.

*Look over your family budget and see if there isn't a line item you could decrease by $10 per month ... setting the rest aside for missions of mercy.

There are many ways to give more than you think you can…if you’re only willing! Looking for ways to give beyond my ability with you...

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