10 Aug 2017

ALL MONEY IN THE CHURCH IS FOR THE POOR

www.sijinius.com

As I earlier showed, there is no place in all of scriptures where the poor are commanded to give. The Bible consistently tells the rich and comfortable to give to the poor- from Genesis to Revelations (Deut 15:7-11, Prov 11:25, 19:17, Ps 37:21, 112:9, Matt 19: 21, Luke 8: 38, 2Cor 9:1-5, 1 Tim 6:17-19).

Unlike what some pastors will have us believe, THE POOR ARE NOT POOR BECAUSE THEY DO NOT GIVE (neither is poverty a sin)!!!

Moreover, we know that the church is one globally- only limited geographically.

So, what is the duty of the church to the poor?
[Let me lay some foundation first.]


WHO IS RICH, WHO IS POOR?
THE POOR is anyone who does not have a regular source of income, or no income at all due to circumstances beyond their control, and is therefore unable to meet their basic needs!

In the Bible, the poor are typified by the
1. DISABLED/DISEASED,
2. WIDOWS,
3. ORPHANS,
4. LEVITES (under the law) and FULL-TIME MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL (under Grace).


From that definition, it is obvious that THE RICH are those who have a regular source of income and are thus able to meet their basic needs.


Now, that does not mean that in the Bible, there were no
1. rich disabled people- Mephibosheth (2 Sam 4:4), the four lepers (2 Kings 7: 1-9)
2. rich widows (2 Kings 4: 1-7)
3. Men of God with a source of income- Paul (Acts 18:3, 2Thess 3:7-12 )


The Bible tells us that as long as this earth remains WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE POOR PEOPLE (Deut 15:11, Matt 26:11) – that is because of sin and man’s corrupt and greedy nature manifested in unequal distribution of wealth and resources.

Therefore, if poverty is a sin, it is the rich that are sinners, not the poor!



WHY DOES THE BIBLE COMMAND GIVING?
Generally, ‘’Giving’’ in the Bible simply means THE RICH ASSISTING THE POOR FOR SURVIVAL/EQUALITY OF RESOURCES AMONG HIS PEOPLE! Deut 15:7-11, Deut 16: 17, Deut 26:12, 2Cor 8: 13-15, 2Cor 9: 7.

And everywhere the specific word/commandment to ‘’give’’ appears, it is to be done personally, as God has blessed/enabled the giver. WE ARE NOT TO STEAL OR BORROW (including using credit cards, loans, etc) IN ORDER TO ‘’GIVE’’. We have no such example in scriptures.



GOD OFTEN GIVES SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR GIVING
Moreover, God can sometimes DIRECTLY command a person or his people to give for a particular purpose/cause, different from the general command to give to the poor, for example:

1. Sacrificial giving to show our love for and/or obedience to God; Gen 22: 1-18 (Abraham), 2Sam 24: 18-25 (David), 2Chrn 1: 6 (Solomon), Matt 19: 16-22 (The rich Jew)

2. Building of the tent of meeting/temple; Exo 35:5, 36:6; 1Chro 29: 6-7; Ezra 1: 1-6

3. Tithes and Offerings under the law; BURNT (Lev 1:3), MEAL/meat of firstfruits (Lev 2:1-14), PEACE (Lev 3:1), SIN (Lev 4:3), TRESPASS (Lev 5:6), FIRSTFRUITS (Lev 23:10), TITHES (Lev 27: 30-32, Num 18: 24-28, Deut 12: 6-17)
2 Chrn 31:12

4. Widow from Sidon that was saved from death by sharing her last meal with the prophet; 1kings 17: 7-16, Luke 4:26.

In each case, the giver is enabled and the provision available ahead of the specific command.

Any Christian can personally decide to follow any of these examples in giving. BUT WE ARE NOT TO BUILD DOCTRINES ON THOSE EXAMPLES FOR BELIEVERS/CHURCH MEMBERS!!!


PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE WHO GAVE WILLINGLY FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE, IN SPITE OF ‘’POVERTY’’
1. Israelites, former slaves who gave for the tent's building. Exo 35: 21-25
2. Widow who shared her last meal with Elijah. 1 Kings 17: 7-16
3. Widow who put her 2 mites into the Temple’s treasury. Mark 12: 41-44
4. The poor boy who donated 5 loaves & 2 fishes. John 6: 5-13
5. Macedonian Church (Philipians). 2 Cor 8:1-5




THE CHURCH'S DUTY IS TO THE POOR (Giving in the NT)
In the New Testament, THE CHURCH IS ONE FAMILY…. Our whole lives belong to him (Rom 14:7-8) therefore, believers give 100%, or no percentage of cash, time, and resources (Acts 4:34)!

God does not need our money or any burnt/seed/peace offerings. Our giving is simply to help poor Christians in need, and when we do that, we have given to the Lord (Matt 25:34-40).

The Church has only ONE goal- PREACH THE GOSPEL AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF THE SAVED.
Therefore, all the money the church administration gets is to be channelled into doing that.

How?

By taking care of the basic needs of the poor amongst us- spreading earthly resources equally…NOT BY ACCUMULATING CASH IN BANK ACCOUNTS OR OSTENTATIOUS DISPLAY OF OPULENCE AND EXTRAVAGANCE BY SOME!!!

It might require us raising money to buy buses, or build edifices; it might require us starting schools, publishing books or having other for-profit businesses, but it is never about all those- IT IS STRICTLY ABOUT MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE CHURCH! It is NEVER about financially exploiting one another or enriching a few!! The monies given do not belong to the ‘’church owner or founder’’, but the church. Therefore, there has to be accountability.


Who are poor Christians?
Like I have shown above, the poor include anyone in the body of Christ that circumstances have made poor for the time being, on earth. [Spiritually, we have all being made rich in Christ Jesus. 2Cor 8:9]

1. FULL-TIME MINISTERS OF GOD WITHOUT ANY REGULAR SOURCE OF INCOME OR INVESTMENT

2. ORDINARY CHURCH MEMBERS WITHOUT A JOB/HAVING DIFFICULTY IN GETTING A JOB

3. CHURCH MEMBERS WHO CANNOT MEET BASIC NEEDS INCLUDING THE DISABLED, WIDOWS, ORPHANS, ETC.

These are the people the church administration has a duty to cater for with whatever monies people give. When they help the poor, the Lord will meet their wider needs of enlargement and growth.

There is no such thing as tithing, firstfruits, seed sowing, etc and other such requirements under this Grace dispensation because we are not Jewish farmers practising Judaism. Christians are not cursed, and cannot be cursed. (Gal 3: 10-14)!

Moreover, every believer has the Spirit of God in them, and he leads us individually. He expects us to give to the poor as we purpose in our hearts, regularly and cheerfully. If there is a ‘’specific giving command’’ for a project, or the Holy Spirit instructs us to support any God-ordained full-time minister or ministry regularly, then we should do that because he is our Lord and we love him.


Due to inequality and economic circumstances or natural disasters, some churches, say in Lagos, will be so rich and comfortable while another church, e.g in Maiduguri, Borno state, will be poor. Are the Lagos church supposed to start accumulating money and building fanciful auditoriums, with their pastors and leaders living like celebrities and corrupt politicians, while other members of the body are languishing? No!


Christians, no matter how rich, are supposed to live within their means humbly and gracefully- showing good examples both in character and personality, while seeking others to assist and share with.




TODAY, MANY CHRISTIANS GIVE AS A FORM OF COVETOUSNESS
Giving has obviously been abused- now redefined and transformed into compulsory man-made doctrines/instructions for Christians such as ‘’tithing of salary/cash’’, ‘’sowing’’ of currency or cars, ‘’firstfruits/first salary’’, etc…including openly collecting such from unbelievers, thieves, kidnappers, corrupt civil servants and politicians, among others.

Now that we know who a poor person is, who should give and why we should, anyone who STILL continues to ‘’give’’ because they do not want to be cursed by God is definitely not a Christian. Anyone who ‘’sows’’ in order to become a millionaire/billionaire, or to show off or force God to ‘’bless them’’ (when God did not directly instruct them to give) is simply covetous- a spiritual lottery player.
We have no such practice as true believers!


IN SUMMARY,
1. The poor are those who DON’T have a regular source of income, or no income at all due to circumstances beyond their control, and are therefore not able to meet their basic needs.
The rich are those who DO.

2. Poverty is not a sin or curse but a state, physically caused by circumstances beyond the poor’s control.

3. Giving in scriptures generally refers to helping the poor and God does not command the poor to give. But God can specifically ask us to give for a particular purpose, having already enabled us ahead for the instruction.

4. In the New Testament, the only biblical reason for giving money in the Church is to assist all poor members survive by having their basic needs met. Anything apart from that has no eternal value, distracting from our main focus.

5. Anyone who still continues to ‘’give’’ because they do not want to be cursed by God is definitely not a Christian.

6. Anyone who ‘’sows’’ in order to become a millionaire/billionaire, or to show off or force God to ‘’bless them’’ is a covetous spiritual gambler.


N.B: The assumption is that the reader already knows that the church of Jesus Christ does not refer to a denomination/religio-political organisation, buildings or business assets, but HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOUR!


#nomoredivisioninthebodyofChrist
#BelieversNeeds
#raisingarighteousgeneration



Update:

#He has asked me to further clarify GIVING IN THE NT (especially for those confused about yesterday’s post).

THERE ARE STREET BEGGARS IN NIGERIA WHO HAVE 2 WIVES AND 3 HOUSES IN THEIR HOME TOWNS.

THERE ARE WIDOWS WHO INHERITED BILLIONS FROM THEIR LATE SPOUSE, LIVING LIKE PAUPERS.

THERE ARE MEN OF GOD AND MINISTRIES WHO ARE PHYSICALLY RICHER THAN DANGOTE AND ALL HIS COMPANIES COMBINED, STILL ASKING FOR MORE MONEY.

THERE ARE JOBLESS YOUTHS WHO DRIVE CARS AND HAVE BANK ACCOUNTS WITH MILLION IN THEM, WHO HIDE THEIR WEALTH.

Giving cash to these as a means of ‘’helping the poor’’ is a waste of money (Prov 22:16).

Why? …Sometimes the poor are not those we think they are, and giving is not all about money.


WHAT IS GIVING TO THE POOR?
Biblically, giving to the poor simply means giving to those in OBVIOUS need! It means meeting the needs of someone who cannot meet that particular need of theirs on their own. Or, using what you have to bless someone who needs that thing, but does not have it.

Typically money can (be used to) answer all things [Eccl 10:19], so we think of money when we hear ‘’Give’’. And the OBVIOUSLY poor are those who lack cash….

However we can also directly give a gift, a service, a loan, your time, idea, a cup of coffee or water, a place to sleep, prayers, or any other thing we have been blessed with and can bless others by.



HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN TO GIVE?
1. VERBAL REQUEST
(Matt 7:7-8: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.)

Most times, you will receive a direct request from them or from the MOG. This is the commonest way to know those in need.

However, this can be deceptive- covetous people, who already have enough, often verbally ask from others simply to have more, not because they need it. And many street beggars, widows or full-time ministers of God are not poor people.

2. LOOKING OUT FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO BE A BLESSING
(Heb 13:2: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.)

a. Abraham got a son after he entertained strangers who happened to be divine (Gen 18).
b. Rebekah got her husband after she gave water to a stranger by the well (Gen 24:10-28)
c. Dorcas who had died prematurely was resurrected because the people she had helped begged Peter to bring her back to life (Acts 9: 36-42). […Unlike when some other Christians die, and the people around them are so happy to be rid of rubbish.]

In the business world, this is called ENTREPRENEURSHIP. True entrepreneurship entails building a business from meeting a physical need we have been empowered/enlightened to meet. You might start a school, an NGO, a guesthouse, a restaurant, or a publishing house…in order to meet needs. If it is majorly ‘not-for-profit’, it is called SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP.


3. BEING LED BY HIS SPIRIT
(Rom 8: 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.)
The best way to know those who are in need, and be able to adequately help them is to be led by the Spirit of God in us. Often, he will help us turn such (opportunities) into for-profit businesses. Sometimes, he will ask us to give/do it all for free.

(The Spirit can also help us from giving wrongly i.e to the rich/covetous.)


‘’Giving to the poor’’ on the periphery implies giving handouts, but it goes beyond that.

A wise person is one who looks for opportunities to give and be a blessing. They never lack.
Never forget: OUR GIVING IS A FORM OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT COVETOUSNESS.

#nomoredivisioninthebodyofChrist
#BelieversNeeds
#raisingarighteousgeneration

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