When Supporters Give More than You Need

Have you ever seen a time when supporters give more than you need?

To really learn how God wants us to do our ministry fund-raising, it is good to look at His instructions for building the Tabernacle in the wilderness. This took place near the beginning of the Israelites’ big move from being slaves in Egypt to possessing their promised land.

Remember, they were in transition for 40 years. God wanted them to have a place to worship Him, and it needed to be attractive enough to keep them from making and worshipping golden idols like that calf again. So God gave Moses very detailed instructions for the creation of the tabernacle and the visual aides for their worship. (See Exodus chapters 25-31 and 35-40 for those precise details).

Who was to pay for all of that though? How was Moses to raise the funds for this big ministry project?

Simple. Once Moses had explained the plan to all the people in the camp, he was to invite the people to contribute the raw materials and the wealth needed to complete this big place of worship. The materials needed were specified but the giving was optional, and the amounts the people wanted to give were optional.

What happened? Did Moses have to plead every Sabbath for the people to give, even a tenth?

No. When Moses told the people plainly the details of God’s instructions, the people responded gladly and – listen to this: they gave more than what was needed! Moses had to tell them to stop. (I don’t know of any other place in the Bible where this has happened).

We see in Exodus 35:29, “All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.” Then in the next chapter, 36, we see that the skilled workmen appointed to do put the tabernacle together, told Moses that the people had brought more than enough. “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.‘ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do the work.

Say! Wouldn’t you love to send out such a message to all your supporters? – Whoa! Whoa! Stop! We’ve reached a time when supporters give more than we need!”

Let’s go back to the Bible to see what might be the requirements to trigger such a situation.

Please note that God had given Moses all the detailed instructions and patterns for building every part of the tabernacle and it’s furnishings. All he was required to do was share those plans with the people, and ask them to bring the material resources. Some of the women spun yarn and made linen fabric, and even sewed animal skins together, so they were able to be involved practically too.

The most obvious suggestion then would be to share your plans with your supporters and show them that this is direction from the Lord God Himself. (This implies that you have heard from, and worked out with the Lord beforehand what His plan is for your ministry).

Secondly, if your supporters are motivated by the plan and see that it is from God, you will not need to tell them how much to give. They will want to be part of the Work of God, and will gladly give as much as they can. You may, in fact, reach a point where you have to ask the givers to stop giving – because you have more than you can use! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Provision Through Poor Single Women

As a servant of God, do you appreciate, or despise God’s provision through poor poor single women? Maybe you feel so sorry for them and dare not ask them to help you out?

Here’s another way God provided for Elijah. (Note that God delights in surprising us with ways of providing for us that we would never have thought of).

(Yes, we looked at this story a few weeks ago, but this time we look at it from another angle).

This story is also in 1 Kings chapter 17, following right after the time Elijah spent by the brook Kerith, where God fed him through Ravens and the clear water in the brook. Because of the drought in the land, the brook dried up eventually too. So God told Elijah to get up and go to the village of Zarephath in Sidon.

God told him that He had already commanded a widow there to feed him. We don’t read any details about how God did that, but we can be sure He had already commanded the widow. Elijah didn’t even have to hunt for her.

As soon as he reached the gate of Zarephath, he met a woman gathering sticks for a fire. He asked for a drink of water in a jar.

As she went to get it, Elijah called out, “And please bring me a piece of bread.”

The woman must have recognized him as a prophet of God; she stopped and said, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

This woman knew something of the God of the prophet, and must have had some respect for this God, but had not trusted Him for herself yet.

Well, Elijah had just completed a course in trusting God, so he caught on to God’s plan for provision through poor widows. Elijah told her to make a little cake (or bun) for him first, and then there would be enough for more for herself and her son in her resources. Her flour and oil would not run out until the day the Lord sent rain again.

The widow woman obeyed and found it to be so. All three of them were able to eat until the end of the famine!

Do you see a giving principle, and an asking principle, staring right at us in this true story?

The woman decided to trust God to provide for her and her son, but putting the request to provide food for the prophet or servant of God first. By getting her priorities right, God met all her family’s needs. That would be the giving principle.

From Elijah’s side, he merely had to obey God and ask (as instructed), the first widow he encountered at Zarephath. They both had to show fresh faith every day, yet, I’m sure their faith in God increased as they saw that He met their need for food on a daily basis.

I have found this to be true too. During the years I cared for my parents, I maintained my pledge to God to pay my tithes and offerings. Back in 1977 I had begged God to help me get out of debt and promised that I would give a tithe to missions (as I already was doing) but then give another tithe especially to missions. It took a few years, but I have kept that pledge through thick and thin. During those caregiver years I often had no income except what a pen pal might tuck into a card or letter.

Do you notice that I still have body and soul together? 🙂 God did not fail me, and I learned that I didn’t need everything I wanted. Not only that, but I learned that God delights in making provision through poor widows and single women.

What if you are in Elijah’s sandals, as a servant of God, relying on the gifts of others so you can focus on ministry

Then, like Elijah, a worthy example, you must trust God to lead you to those He has appointed to meet your needs. They may not be rich patrons, or large foundations. They may be poor single women who have to trust God for their own daily bread. They may grow in faith and obedience at the same time you are learning to do the same. The point is to trust God, not the poor woman.

After a while the Lord may put you into a different situation again, to learn new lessons and to cause someone else to learn to give. It’s all a question of trusting the God we serve with an utter abandon. Then we will know that He will never fail us!

Do not despise God’s provision through poor widows or even single women and old maids.

An Angel to Meet Your Personal Needs

Has God ever sent an angel to meet your personal needs?

This story happened just after the contest on Mount Carmel between Elijah, prophet of God, and the 450 prophets of Baal – all to determine who was the One true God. God provided fire to burn up Elijah’s soggy offering; the people rose up and killed the 450 false prophets; and rain came at last. But Elijah was so drained from the whole experience that when Queen Jezebel sent word that she would have Elijah killed within 24 hours, he took off running.

God had not changed or lost any power to deliver him, but when anyone of us is utterly exhausted we are liable to imagine and do stupid things. He left his servant behind at Beersheba and kept running.

(What a rush of panic adrenalin!) He ran for another full day into the desert.

There he dropped under a broom tree and begged God to take his life.

Does any memory come to the surface of a time when you panicked and ran the other direction until you dropped in your tracks?

The part that surprises me here is that God did not scold Elijah and remind him of his fantastic victory on Mount Carmel. God just let His servant sleep. His body needed recharging first of all.

Then he needed nourishment. So God sent an angel to bake him a bun or small loaf of bread, and bring a bottle of water. Not just once, but twice. No scolding, just, “The journey is too long for you; you need to eat.”

That almost sounds as if God had scheduled this trip for Elijah. It was part of His divine plan for His servant.

Now that angel food and water must have been powerful stuff, because by the strength he received he was able to travel another 40 days and 40 nights, until he reached Mount Horeb. That’s was God’s mountain, the place where He had written out the ten commandments on tablets of stone for Moses and the people.

Hey, if we are going to run away – the place to run to is God. Get away and alone with HIM! Never mind the distance or the cost!

Now for some of us that may not mean such a long trip. I know I could never run that far or long.

In my case, I know that I just need to reach for my Bible, and go curl up in my soft recliner, and ignore all my usual to-do lists. When I’m over the initial exhaustion, I get back to my computer desk and start journalling away, to work out the issues before the Lord, waiting for Him to show me His mind and attitude and even His specific message for me in all of this.

I can’t say that an angel has ever wakened me from a sound nap to offer me physical food from Heaven. But I have been spiritually nourished by God’s Word, and gained fresh insights and enthusiasm to go on in serving the Lord.

I’ve never seen an angel with my eyes; perhaps an invisible angel has come to meet my personal needs. I just credit the Lord with the sense of His presence and encouragement. In the Old Testament days He seemed to send angels, but today we can meet with the Lord directly if we are His.

The important thing to remember when we panic is to run towards the Lord, and not away from Him!

Provision Through Poor Widows

As a servant of God, do you appreciate, or despise God’s provision through poor widows? Maybe you feel so sorry for them and dare not ask them to help you out?

Here’s another way God provided for Elijah. (Note that God delights in surprising us with ways of providing for us that we would never have thought of).

This story is also in 1 Kings chapter 17, following right after the time Elijah spent by the brook Kerith, where God fed him through Ravens and the clear water in the brook. Because of the drought in the land, the brook dried up eventually too. So God told Elijah to get up and go to the village of Zarephath in Sidon.

God told him that He had already commanded a widow there to feed him. We don’t read any details about how God did that, but we can be sure He had already commanded the widow. Elijah didn’t even have to hunt for her.

As soon as he reached the gate of Zarephath, he met a woman gathering sticks for a fire. He asked for a drink of water in a jar.

As she went to get it, Elijah called out, “And please bring me a piece of bread.”

The widow must have recognized him as a prophet of God; she stopped and said, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

This widow knew something of the God of the prophet, and must have had some respect for this God, but had not trusted Him for herself yet.

Well, Elijah had just completed a course in trusting God, so he caught on to God’s plan for provision through poor widows. Elijah told her to make a little cake (or bun) for him first, and then there would be enough for more for herself and her son in her resources. Her flour and oil would not run out until the day the Lord sent rain again.

provision through poor widows

The widow obeyed and found it to be so. All three of them were able to eat until the end of the famine!

Do you see a giving principle, and an asking principle, staring right at us in this true story?

The widow decided to trust God to provide for her and her son, but putting the request to provide food for the prophet or servant of God first. By getting her priorities right, God met all her family’s needs. That would be the giving principle.

From Elijah’s side, he merely had to obey God and ask (as instructed), the first widow he encountered at Zarephath. They both had to show fresh faith every day, yet, I’m sure their faith in God increased as they saw that He met their need for food on a daily basis.

I have found this to be true too. During the years I cared for my parents, I maintained my pledge to God to pay my tithes and offerings. Back in 1977 I had begged God to help me get out of debt and promised that I would give a tithe to missions (as I already was doing) but then give another tithe especially to missions. It took a few years, but I have kept that pledge through thick and thin. During those caregiver years I often had no income except what a pen pal might tuck into a card or letter.

Do you notice that I still have body and soul together? 🙂 God did not fail me, and I learned that I didn’t need everything I wanted. Not only that, but I learned that God delights in making provision through poor widows and single women.

What if you are in Elijah’s sandals, as a servant of God, relying on the gifts of others so you can focus on ministry?

Then, like Elijah, a worthy example, you must trust God to lead you to those He has appointed to meet your needs. They may not be rich patrons, or large foundations. They may be poor widows who have to trust God for their own daily bread. They may grow in faith and obedience at the same time you are learning to do the same. The point is to trust God, not the widow.

After a while the Lord may put you into a different situation again, to learn new lessons and to cause someone else to learn to give. It’s all a question of trusting the God we serve with an utter abandon. Then we will know that He will never fail us!

Do not despise God’s provision through poor widows or even old maids.

Trust God, Like Elijah, for Daily Food

Could you trust God like Elijah, for daily food?

trusting God like Eljah for your daily food

God used a raven or ravens to bring Elijah his daily food when God sent His servant to hide in the ravine called Keireth. Elijah did not have to make appeals or plead for these provisions. God just took care of them, albeit in a very simple way to a basic limit. See I Kings 17:1-7 for the story.

It is humbling to trust God for our very daily food, never having enough for the next meal until that time comes. And yet, when we submit to such a trying situation with real faith in God – yes, even if it is struggle of the will at first, – we will come to a quiet confidence in our God. Worry and fear fade away, as we become convinced to our bones that God really is a loving Heavenly Father, and He is truly providing for us.

As I write that, I realize that this is exactly what God taught me over the 20+ years that I cared for my parents in their home. They expected it of me as their eldest and single daughter. For two years I resisted and wrestled with God in prayer over this. Mainly I was afraid to trust God with such a risky and indefinite future. But I did want to please Him most of all, and though I didn’t sense pressure from the Lord, I did feel that He was quietly waiting for me to come around.

One night I woke to a sensation of waves of joy washing over me. I told the Lord, that if that was what He had in store for me, I would – in faith – give up my job and the ministries I had in our local church, and I would move home to care for my parents.

That was a very big move. I had to resign from my job and from 7 responsibilities in the church. The bus ride home took 48 hours and I wept myself dry during that trip. In fact, I was sick for four days when I got to my parents’ home.

(In fact, that first night a call came, and the next morning my parents got on a bus going west, for my paternal grandmother’s funeral. That give me four days of privacy in which to rest and unwind).

There were many adjustments to make, and I spent hours pouring my heart into my prayer journals. But some years later when Mom’s already precarious health got much worse I realized God’s wisdom in having me come well before that period so that I would be able to focus on the caregiving without the trauma of my big move.

Now, I was not to the point that Elijah was, sitting on the side of a trickling creek, and waiting for a raven to drop a single meal-serving of meat into my hand. (I wonder sometimes how many ways he found to prepare that food so he could have a change in taste).

my parents

In my case, my parents were frugal and careful, and debt-free with a big garden that used up the whole backyard, so I could eat well. But I learned to become a better cook. As their health failed more and more, I became like Joseph in Potiphar’s house. I managed everything, and my parents had nothing to worry about. Their meals appeared regularly on the table. I did all their necessary shopping. I learned nursing skills, and how to discern when to take them to the doctor, or Emergency, and so on.

Mom and myself on Mother's Day

Looking back now I am grateful that in the earlier years God taught me to humble myself, be content with what I had, and when I needed something to ask HIM alone, even if it was just postage to write to my pen-pals. He always provided in some rather creative ways. My relationship with Him became far more important than having all that others had, or what I used to think I had to have.

Yes, I could tell many stories of those years, and then the last 10 years since both have them have passed on to their eternal home. How God has blessed me richly since then!

But the point to make here is that if God should send you, like Elijah, to a hidden ravine, and there reduce you to the most elemental needs, and promise to meet those needs, I can testify that you can trust God with an utter abandon! He will take care of you! What’s more, you may well end up with a time of blessing beyond that period. Elijah did not die there in that ravine on the diet God provided. You might – but don’t count on it! When you’ve learned to trust Him, He will lift you up again.

Yes, it is very possible to trust God, like Elijah, for daily food – and everything else you might ever need!

If a Loving Church Congregation Sponsors Your Ministry

If a loving church congregation sponsors your ministry – you are in a most delightful position. You do not have to beg or make constant appeals for funds; you merely send reports and thank you letters.

a loving church congregation

This was the case with the Apostle Paul and the church congregation at Philippi, which he had founded in one of his missionary trips. The believers there loved and cared for Paul, and frequently sent financial gifts. Sometimes these gifts were delivered in person by one of their own, such as Epaphroditus.

Acts chapter 14 tells how Paul and Silas first came to Philippi, met some women at the river on the Sabbath, including Lydia, a seller of purple, having a prayer meeting. They shared the Good News of Jesus and His finished work on the cross for them.

Paul also cast out an evil spirit from a fortune-telling slave girl. This upset her owners and they soon started a riot in which Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged and thrown into a prison. That night an earthquake set them free, and they helped the warden and his family to all come to trust in Christ for salvation.

From that nucleus of believers, a business woman, a slave girl, and a prison warden and his family, a small congregation of the Church of Christ was started in Philippi. Yet it grew and became the loving church of Philippians, who kept in touch with Paul as he continued his travels, starting more churches.

Because they made it their business to keep in touch with Paul they were aware when he was in financial need. I doubt that Lydia was the only giver in that congregation. Though it is likely that her business expertise may have made her a leader in planning how they would gather up funds, and deliver them to Paul – wherever he was.

We do know from reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians, that they had overseers and deacons, so it may have grown considerably and included people from all levels of social strata.

The question now is; how can you get a loving church congregation to sponsor your ministry? Do you have to be an itinerant missionary first, like Paul, and found such a church somewhere?

Well, that sounds like a good start!

But what about your home church? The one where you heard the gospel first, and where you have been taught and grounded in God’s Word? You have been well grounded in the truths and principles of God’s Word, right? That would be your best starting place.

If not, take time to find such a Bible-practicing church congregation, and become a part of it. Show them love and joy and confidence, and they are likely to gladly agree to be your supporting church in prayers and gifts.

What an ideal – when a loving church congregation sponsors your ministry! I wish that for you!

How to Get Christian Workers Back to Work

We can learn how to get Christian workers back to work from that cup-bearer, Nehemiah-turned-Administrator in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah had his ‘hands full.’ He was in charge or restoration and rebuilding in Jerusalem. Then he learned that the food resources that should be – were not given to the Levites. They were the tribe assigned to tabernacle – then temple – duty. They were to serve there on behalf of all of Israel as God had ordained back in the desert, when He gave Moses instructions for building and managing the Tabernacle. The Levites were to serve there full-time and to be supported by the tithes and offerings brought in by the other tribes.

When Nehemiah learned that the Levites and the singers were leaving their posts in the House of the Lord, and going back to their villages to work their fields – (they had to feed their families somehow, right?) – he knew it was time for an executive decision.

We read in Nehemiah 13:10-13 that Nehemiah rebuked the officials for allowing the House of God to be neglected. He called the Levites together and got them back to work at their posts.

I don’t see that Nehemiah made any big public announcement, but the officials he had rebuked must have done what they were suppose to do because in the next verse we read, “All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the storerooms.” Then he assigned Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah to be in charge of the storerooms. He made Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant.

How nice to read the next phrase, “. . . Because these men were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their brothers.” That’s what it takes to run something like that; trustworthy people looking after the management.

So what principle can we find here for how to get support for your present-day ministry in a Biblical way?

First, it is rather obvious, isn’t it – that if God’s people are faithful in giving their tithes to the Lord – aka our local church, then the servants of the Lord will have their expenses and living for their families covered. God’s plan is not flawed.

The problem is with the people who do not obey God’s command. Doing that would be how to get Christian workers back to work.

Now, there are those who argue that today we are not held to the Old Testament commands. Maybe not in a legalistic way, but common sense shows that God’s principles still hold true. We ought to support our fellow believers who are serving the Lord full-time. If all of us who are part of a Church body (which means we are part of the Body of Christ, the Church universal) were to simply bring in a tithe of our income every week, we would not lack for our pastoral staff, education and childrens’ ministries, benevolent works in the community and even sending missionaries to other places that have not heard the gospel.

Maybe what we need now is an administrative person like Nehemiah to call attention to this, and put the Christian workers to work. Then if those who who are in authority will announce that this is how it is to be done.

Those who are in ministry work in the church or on a new field, – we can pray that God will convict the people and cause them to give.He has the power and knows how to get the Christian workers back to work.

Friendly Letters, Emails, Videos, for Fund-raising

Friendly Letters - for fundraising

There is great value in fund-raising by writing friendly letters and emails. Do you write interesting letters or emails to your supporters?

Let’s look at Paul’s letter to the believers at Rome.

“But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.

Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.” (Romans 15:23-29 NIV)

Paul, the first travelling missionary, in the early church, had a way of thinking ahead when it came to fund-raising. He was heading to Jerusalem with some financial gifts from other small churches meant to help out the Jewish believers there who were experiencing food shortages.

However, he took time to write a friendly letter, full of doctrinal teaching, to the church at Rome, and confided that he hoped to visit them when he made his next missionary trip to Spain. He told them about his present trip to Jerusalem with funds given by the churches in
Macedonia and Archaia. Then he suggested that they also put such a gift together to help out the Jews, from whom all the Gentiles had received the blessing of the gospel.

We know from reading Acts and the subsequent friendly letters of Paul in the New Testament, that he did get to Rome, but not quite as he had planned. He was not on the way to Spain, but brought in chains to appeal the charges made against him in Jerusalem to Caesar himself. All this took several years!

What can we learn here about fund-raising for our ministries with friendly letters, or for believers in need?

I think much can be accomplished with written communications, such as friendly letters and emails. Not everyone can naturally express themselves clearly in a written format, much less persuade others to cheerfully part with their money and make a generous gift.

(In fact, if you ever look into copywriting, you will find that those rare individuals who can write an effective sales letter, which persuades the reader to buy or donate – such writers can command very high fees for their services! I’m talking in the range of $50,000 or more for 20 minutes of work, writing just one or two pages of text!)

So then, is it impossible for a missionary or ministry leader to write effective friendly letters, to raise their support, or to get funds for a specific project?

No. I don’t think you need to hire a costly copywriter. If you pray earnestly, asking God to help you, and you write sincerely, sharing from your heart, about the work you are doing, and the needs as you see them, and if you write your letters or emails often enough so that people who care can feel that they understand what is going on in your world and what God is doing through you, then it is up to the Holy Spirit to persuade them to give generously. Our role is just to provide enough information for the Holy Spirit to work with.

It might be helpful if you can get one or more persons back home, or where you are reporting to, who will write back and dialogue with you. That way you can find out if your letters are clear enough. If your correspondent asks questions that indicate he or she did not understand all you wrote, you need to write again to the whole group or church, and make it more plain.

Today, we have so many other options. If you can’t express yourself well in written format, or you can’t spell worth three beans, how about learning to create videos? Or talking with people via Skype or such online programs? It is almost as good as being there in person!

Hmm… maybe we’ll have to prepare some lessons in this some time on this blog.

Hospitality – a Gift to Give Fellow Believers

Have you ever considered your hospitality a gift to give fellow believers? The Bible does!

Hospitality - a gift to give fellow believers

The Apostle John wrote a short letter (3 John) to his friend Gaius, who had a family or house church, probably with some Christian friends taking part too. Some Christian brothers who had passed by that way had enjoyed good hospitality in Gaius’ home with their church fellowship. John commended them for this fine service to the travelling servants of God. especially since the unbelievers had not shown them any kindness at all.

If you never travel, you may not grasp the great blessing of meeting strangers who – as soon as they discover that you are also a believer in Christ, treat you like a beloved family member, and take you home.

There you are both a welcome family member and a royal guest. Amenities and food are offered to you, and a place to sleep. But better than that, they want to know what is going on in your life, how you met Christ, and what you are doing to serve Him. If they discover that you lack something, they are quick to offer you something of their own provisions so that you will not be hindered in your work for the Lord.

Such hospitable people will also praise you, rave about your experiences and spiritual gifts. Generally, they just lather love on you, and make you feel special and fulfilled. Again, if you ever travel among strangers, and have experienced such a welcome, you will know how refreshing it is. Strangers do not usually do this.

Sometimes we are happy to enjoy good hospitality from others, but it doesn’t occur to us that we could offer the same gift to others. Take time now to give it some thought.

Is your home and family a warm and welcoming place for each of you who lives there? Even if it s small and imperfect and lacks amenities that you wish you had, it is better than nothing, or an expensive room in an inn or motel to a traveler. What would make the difference is your attitude toward the guest. They are most thirsty for warm human fellowship.

As for food, just share from your meager fare. You don’t have to go into debt to buy foods you would not normally afford for yourself or your family. If all you have is bread and water, Break off some to share, and let love and delight in the Lord be your main course. And I have only one bed. (I can offer a guest mine, but then I have to sleep on a mat on the floor, and I have trouble getting up off the floor).

I’ve often felt like, what could I offer? I live alone in a tiny house, one that still needs a lot of repairs or renovation, but which I can only afford in gradual increments. I eat frugally, but do have the basic staples.

But then I looked around at my circle of friends and contacts, and I realized that there were several single woman who were shy and retiring and who did not easily get invited out for a Sunday lunch as our more prosperous friends did. Maybe they would not mind my hospitality if I invited them over, and just shared one of my homemade meals. This has happened a few times now, and at least two of such friends have latched onto me, and look to me to be their mentor-friend.

Sometimes, for the sake of convenience, I’ve invited myself over to their place after church, but have brought along food for lunch, because I knew it was a strain for especially the handicapped friend, to provide a meal for two of us. That has gone over quite well too. This proves that even I can offer hospitality – on a smaller scale.

I realized over this last Christmas season, that if I invited all the singles I know that don’t get invited into other homes, I would have at least half a dozen people in my house. The problem is, I would not have enough chairs for all to sit down. The solution then seems to be, to just invite them over one or two at a time. Now, I just need to rearrange my busy work schedule so that I can have all those mini-parties with my intended guests. I may yet develop a strong ministry of hospitality after all.

Incidentally, if you can afford to help fellow believers in ministry who may be travelling in other parts of the world, you can always send them a quick gift of money through World Remit LTD. It has the option of sending money directly to their cell phone, and they can pick up the cash at an agency in nearly any marketplace. WorldRemit is quicker and cheaper than Western Union or MoneyGram.

Set Money Aside Weekly in Church

You are wise to set money aside weekly in church.

set money aside weekly in church

Today’s Bible passage is still from 1 Corinthians, as was last week’s, but now we are in the last chapter. Paul is winding up his letter with final comments and greetings. In the first five verses, Paul is giving them a specific plan to set aside money weekly in church toward the needs of the saints in Jerusalem.

Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-5)

Paul has suggested this plan already in chapters 8 and 9, as we saw last time, so they could become generous givers in the name of our Lord. But now he gives them practical steps so that there will be no fuss or begging to collect money at that time. Simply the delivery details to be worked out.

To set money aside weekly in church is really is an excellent plan. It teaches believers to become regular givers.

We all tend to forget if we don’t make it a habit.

We also need to consult with our own spirit, and a spouse, if married, to determine how much we can give cheerfully. God loves a cheerful, willing giver. The amount is up to you. Whatever portion you might give grudging… is not a gift in God’s eyes.

Your Surprise Reward

Wait! Let me give you clue to a great surprise. When you start giving regularly you will experience something wonderful. An emotion that is very pleasurable – just a small token from the Lord of the larger rewards He will present to you in Heaven!

Even if someone else does your bookkeeping for you, set aside a certain time each week – before Sunday – to check and see how much new income you gained through the week. Decide whether you are going to give a certain amount, or perhaps a percentage of your income, and prepare that in a small envelop to take to church on Sunday and put in the offering. (Some churches provide offering envelopes for you).

If your paycheck only comes every two weeks, then you’ll want to set aside time bi-weekly to assess how much you can set aside as a church offering – but in your heart, giving it to the Lord.

If your salary is deposited into your account just once a month, and it is always the same, you may have the easiest time of all once you’ve decided how much to give to the Lord each month.

All right, if you live from hand to mouth…you may end up giving more sporadically. In fact, you may need some of those gifts that others are setting aside to give to the Lord. And you have a better chance of being given some of those gifts if you become a part of a living, and godly Christian church.

When the church elders or administrative officers see how much comes in regularly they are able to budget for basic needs for operating the church, and also for missions and benevolent giving.

MY Personal Experience

When I first became a working girl after high school I was only interested in giving to missions. I felt that others could support the church, but my money should go to spreading the gospel. Later on I learned that supporting the church is also God’s will. Instead of dividing my offering, I doubled it, so that I could do both. God has blessed that and just given me a desire to give much more… whenever He blesses me with more than my basic living budget. That is happening more often now!