Offering Time: timely offerings

When we think of offering today, we automatically think of money: especially those who are accustomed to the weekly call for monetary offerings during Sunday Church services.

It is easy to just participate out of obligation or because you do not want to look like the cheap/poor one in your row as everyone else readily gives.

It is easy to become desensitised to giving to the Church that it become ritualistic.

It is easy to grow contempt towards giving your money ‘away’ to the church, whilst you are waiting on a blessing.

I would not judge anyone as I have felt all these things, and it the devil’s plan that I will forever feel that way.

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Do not get me started on tithes….

(Okay, you got me started, but I will just say this that I used to struggle with giving just 10% of my earnings to a church.)

My experiences has/had (working on it) made me suspicious of whether they could be trusted with my money.

However, this is an area that God has been helping me with. Yay.

In fact, I can testify to His goodness in 5, 4, 3 …

God is so so so so good.

When I pray, I battle with being impatient as to whether He has heard it; will answer my prayer; confirm it to me; and when He will do it. Honestly, I really want the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses to show His fullness and with the flick of the wrist fix the issue, or at least helpppp mee.

I desire a speedy transformation. I may not vocalise this desire during prayer. I may even pray that ‘His will should be done in accordance to His perfect timing’… but deep down in the recess of my heart, I really want Him to change things as soon as I finish with ‘Amen’.

At this point in my journey I cannot say that I hear God talking to me. When I think I’ve heard an answer/message by God, my thoughts go into overdrive as to whether I really heard from God or whether it was my conscience. I come away feeling conflicted and doubtful on whether God will talk to me 99% of the time.

Then the feeling of shame comes into the mix to shake things up.

Then embarrassment pops in to just say ‘Hi’.

The end result is me feeling silly that God would talk to a sinner like me whose faith must be so tiny that they can not determine whether God is speaking to them or it is their conscience trying to appease their desire to hear from God.

(Yet I believe that God spoke to and used murderers like Moses and Apostle Paul, previously Saul.)

But this is why He is so good: even with my jambalaya of crazy thoughts and feelings, mostly directed at myself but all felt by God, He still does a work in me.

Earlier, I mentioned that I struggled with giving 10% of my earnings to the Church for tithes. This was especially hard when I had no income coming in to (and this sounds bad) to replenish that money that I would be giving away.

However, God’s touch in situations can be so subtle. He can change you from the inside out to the point that your opinions, attitudes, desires towards things change to what pleases Him. Here is the catch, it becomes pleasing onto you also because the change feels so natural, like you were in charge and came to that decision yourself!

That God ayyy.

It got to a point where I where I was giving the little money I had has offering. I would put in the offering basket the money that I had borrowed for an outing so I would not look like the ‘Oliver Twist’ of the group,  with my pride taking the backseat.  At this point, I really wished I had 10% of anything to give as tithe. Looking back (only a month ago), God blessed me in a short time with a large sum of money.

Yayyy

However, having money seemed to make things worse. I was not a cheerful giver and felt myself backsliding despite believing in the renewal of my mind regarding monetary offering.

I was comfortable in the progress I had made but my guard was down. The devil comes as the cunning snake that he is looking to attack not just when you are weak in spirit but when you are making progress. James 1:2 says we should “count it all to joy” when trouble comes because it means that our faith is being tested which produces an attitude of perseverance.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Despite being disappointed in my inability to naturally feel warm and fuzzy when giving money, I relied on God’s strength to help me. God helped me to rebuke the thoughts of the devil that was telling me I need to save all the money that GOD GAVE TO ME because I could not afford to have 0 in the bank again.

Come to think of it, it makes me believe even more that I am where I am meant to be at this time of my life because He still guides me to do His will: no matter how many times I stray from the path, I am still on the journey. That does not mean we should stray because His Grace will ease us back to the yellow brick road, but that should make us want to be even more obedient because of His love that permits Him to do such for us.

I appreciate and love God because His help is tailor made and personal to each of us.  I have the disposition of a rebellious character; if someone told me not to do something, I want to do it or at least know why I should not do it and then make up my own mind about whether to do it or not. I struggle with submission to authority especially if I am suspicious of their right to authority or intentions.

God knowing all this because He is my creator AND who gave me free will, is changing me so I can change the habits that are not pleasing to Him (my authority) or beneficial for me by changing my desires for them from the inside out. Nevertheless, His changes feel so natural.

This whole process takes longer when I try to do it myself with my own willpower or help Him out by taking control. (He is helping me in this area also lol)

E.g. When it was time to give an offerings or tithes I would tell myself off for being selfish and give more than intended out of guilt. This decision was made with good intentions but not from the heart. This is when I had to lean on God.

How? By reading and mediating on what His Word says about giving offerings and tithes, and genuinely asking Him to give me a desire to offer Him all that He deserves.

Here is a poignant scripture that resonated with me, God willing it will resonate with you also:

Malachi 3:8 – 12

8. “Will a man rob God?

Yet you have robbed Me!

But you say,

‘In what way have we robbed You?’

In the tithes and offerings.

9. You are cursed with a curse,

For you have robbed Me,

Even this whole nation.

10. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,

That there may be food in My house,

And try Me now in this,”

Says the Lord of hosts,

“If I will not open for you the windows of Heaven

And pour out for you such blessing

That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11.  “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,

So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,

Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”

Says the Lord of hosts;

12. “And all nations will call you blessed,

For you will be a delightful land,”

Says the Lord of hosts.

The parts in red sound scary but we tend to forget that God is a just God and will not be mocked. The parts in blue we tend to love because it is all about how we will be blessed.

The part in orange is the command that God has given and that we should obey and apply to our lives in this scripture.

All the parts are a testament to who God is. He is a God of justice but all we are required to do is to obey and by obeying Him, we are rewarded beyond measure and what we deserve.

He wants to give you the best, but you must obey. Sounds simple but we over complicate it with our fleshly desires, opinions, dispositions, human pride etc.

I may not be able to hear Him right now but He still helps me.

Featured image by Brett Lamb

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