Big Baskets and Little Ones

When I was a lot younger, I had a book of short stories that I loved to read. One of those stories seemed to have been permanently etched in my memory as I found it contained a good lesson in selflessness; something we could really use in Christendom.

The story goes that a school in an African village had a corn farm that needed harvesting, so they called on all the students who could help out on a weekend. All that volunteered were asked to bring their own baskets from home and come weekend all volunteers came with their baskets. Some brought really small baskets that they could easily carry while others brought big baskets which would require a bit more effort to carry. After they had done several trips from the school farm to the school store they were told that there was no more room in the store and that all could take that last trip home with them. Those who came selflessly with their big baskets had a lot of corn to take home while those who came with small baskets took very little home with them. What is the moral of this story?

Let us for a second imagine that all the students knew they would be asked to take a basket load of corn home, what would have been the reaction of those with small baskets? They would have brought the biggest baskets they could find and in that case greed would have been the motivation. This unfortunately is where we seem to find ourselves in today’s church; people give sacrificially because of the lure of the promise of untold wealth. And this puts the motive behind their giving under question; if there was no promise of great returns would they stretch themselves so much in their giving? Would their giving be selfless?

This brings to mind the scam perpetuated by some Nigerians where they promise you loads of money if you just part with a little money. And rather surprisingly, many people fall victims of this kind of fraud and the question is why? GREED! That’s why. These fraudsters capitalise on the greed of these folks and bilk them till some became bankrupt. That is exactly what is happening to many Christians today. Because they do not read their bibles properly and this promise of untold wealth from tithing, giving and sowing seeds is just too much to miss, many of them keep falling victims of these scam artistes behind the pulpits. However, there is the other end of the spectrum where Christian give out of fear! Fear of the devourer, fear of upsetting God etc. This too is another weapon of choice these crooks behind the pulpit employ.

Many Christians are so blinded by greed or fear or both, that they simply haven’t taken time out to study their bibles properly to understand what the bible says about giving. Even though it is blatantly obvious in scriptures that the New Testament believer is not obligated to tithe, the fear of offending God or the lure of wealth have blinded many hearts to this truth. I have not said none should give, on the contrary. Let us look at this often overlooked verse of scripture in 2 Cor 8

11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

The bible says you should give as you are able and let your giving be motivated by love and not greed or fear. Let’s look at 2 Cor 8 again

3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers[b] in Jerusalem. 5  They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

Paul encouraged the church in Corinth to give as much as they were able, that is the selflessness in giving. Like the story I told, it would make no sense for the students to bring baskets they were unable to lift because they want to be seen as helpful. They could seriously hurt themselves doing that and on the other hand it would be a little unkind of the students to carry really little baskets that 3 year old toddlers can carry easily without breaking any sweat.

There is no single verse of scripture that says you have to give at least 10% of what you earn before God is pleased, instead scriptures says anything you give is acceptable as far as you give it eagerly. You do not have to empty your bank account at the prompting of a crooked tele-evangelist before God is pleased.

Before I conclude, let’s sneak a peek at Genesis 4 where Cain and Abel each brought God an offering. Cain brought some of his crops while Abel brought the firstlings of his sheep. This has often been used to build a case for tithing even though the tithe is neither implied nor suggested. Others have said that Cain’s offering was rejected because it was produce of the ground while Abel’s was accepted because it contained blood. That too is wrong because you cannot give what you do not have. Cain was a farmer and crops were all he had to offer. What really does the bible say with regards to this?

By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice. Heb 11: 4

So when it comes to giving, anything you give is acceptable as far as you give it with the right heart.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Syl
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 06:21:07

    Hi there,

    I just found your blog and am hoping that you will answer some questions for me. I listen to Andrew Wommack (awmi.net) and I am also in his bible college (Charis Bible College). When I read this post the scripture that came to mind was Luke 6:38 – give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.

    Now will you please read his commentary on this scripture and tell me if you believe his interpretation is incorrect?

    Life For Today Study Bible Notes
    Note 1 at Lu 6:38: This verse reveals one of God’s cardinal laws that works in the spiritual realm as well as the physical world. Just as we “give” seed into the ground to receive back multiple seeds, so it is with everything we give. Whether it’s money, possessions, an emotion such as love or hate, prayers, or our time, we will reap a harvest on whatever we give. We reap exactly what we sow (Ga 6:7-8), and we receive proportional to the same measure that we give. “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2Co 9:6). This law works on positive or negative things that we sow, as can be seen in Lu 6:37.
    Although this is an unchangeable law of God, it can be overcome by a greater law in much the same way that we can escape the law of gravity by using the greater laws of thrust and lift. The negative things we have given don’t have to come back to us if we apply the greater law of forgiveness (1Jo 1:9). Likewise, the good things we have sown can be avoided if we don’t continue in well doing (Ga 6:9).
    This measure spoken of can be interpreted as referring to the size of the measure or the way that we measure–both are true. If we’re late in our giving, our supply will be late. If we give grudgingly, it will be given to us grudgingly. If we give cheerfully, it will be given to us cheerfully (2Co 9:7).
    Note 2 at Lu 6:38: God is our source, but God uses people. For instance, if we pray for finances, God is not going to counterfeit currency and put it into our wallets; He will use people to get the money to us. So it is not always as simple as praying for money and receiving it in the next minute. We need to believe the Lord hears and answers our prayers and then pray for the people He’s going to use to deliver the answer. That could be our employers, the people who buy our goods, or any number of people.
    —Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary

    Reply

  2. Syl
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 06:49:09

    Here he’s talking about how we are hindering our financial blessing if we are not giving to our teachers which I assume that he’s talking about the Pastor of whatever church we choose to go to. What do you think?

    Galatians 6:6 – 6 But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
    This is talking about money. Those who are taught are supposed to share financially with those who taught them. Give where you are fed. You don’t eat at one place and go across the street and pay somewhere else.

    Life For Today Study Bible Notes
    Note 8 at Gal. 6:6: In the New Testament in Modern English J.B. Phillips translated this verse in the following manner: “The man under Christian instruction should be willing to contribute toward the livelihood of his teacher.” In other words, you should share your financial resources with those who are ministering God’s Word to you. This is a continuation of Paul’s teaching on bearing others’ burdens, which he had mentioned in the previous verses.
    “This concept of voluntary giving to provide for the Lord’s servants was revolutionary since Jews were taxed for the support of their priests and Gentiles paid fees, made vows, etc., to sustain their religions” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary-TBKC, p. 610).
    However, the New Testament established voluntary giving for the support of the poor (Ga 2:10) and widows (1Ti 5:3-16), as well as those who instructed others in the Word of God (1Co 9:7-14; this v.). Those who don’t take care of the ones who minister the Word of God to them are hindering their own financial blessings.

    Galatians 6:7
    Life For Today Study Bible Notes
    Note 9 at Gal. 6:7: Anyone who does not believe and practice this spiritual law of sowing and reaping is deceived. It is an absolute law that works, whether or not we believe it. Those who agree with it and sow to the Spirit reap life everlasting. Those who sow to their carnal desires reap corruption.
    Note 10 at Gal. 6:7: The word “mock” in Greek literally means “to turn up the nose at or sneer” (Thayer). The New American Heritage Dictionary defines “mock” as “to treat with scorn or contempt.”
    In context, Paul is speaking about supporting ministers (see note 8 at v. 6). Those who fail to follow the instructions of the Lord about giving back financially to those who instruct them in the Word of God are mocking God. He will not allow that. There is a spiritual law that everyone reaps what he sows (see note 11 at this v.). Those who fail to sow finances into the gospel will fail to reap finances in their personal lives. Those who give liberally will receive liberally (see note 2 at 2Co 9:6).
    This truth not only applies to those who support ministers, but it applies to the ministers too. Those who give of their time and effort to share the Word of God with others will reap a financial harvest from their ministry (see note 1 at 1Co 9:7).
    Note 11 at Gal. 6:7: This is one of the spiritual laws of God that controls our lives (see note 12 at Ro 3:27). It does not have to be believed to work. Those who fail to believe this law and conduct their lives against God’s instructions reap the negative harvest of corruption. Those who submit to this law through compliance reap the positive harvest of life everlasting (v. 8).
    Just as surely as there is the natural law that you reap exactly what you sow and you reap only what you sow, so it is in the spiritual realm. We would think a person a fool who was complaining that he didn’t have any crop to harvest if he had never sown any seed. But in the spiritual world, people complain all the time about not receiving from God when they have not sown any seed. We have to sow to reap.
    In context, Paul is speaking of sowing money into ministers’ lives (see note 8 at v. 6). Those who don’t give financially to the work of the gospel will not have God’s financial blessings in their personal lives. On the other hand, those who do give to the work of the Lord will have an abundant harvest of finances.
    However, this law of sowing and reaping applies to much more than just finances. Those who want friends must be friends (Pr 18:24). If we want life and peace, we must think on the things that produce life and peace (God’s Word – Ro 8:6; Isa 26:3). Whatever we need can be acquired through giving those same things to others.
    It’s also important to remember that just as natural seed doesn’t produce overnight, spiritual seeds take time to produce after their own kind. We shouldn’t wait until we are in need to start sowing seeds. We have to do that in advance because there is a period of time between seedtime and harvest.
    —Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary

    Reply

  3. eliteinchrist
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 15:35:36

    Hi Sylvie,

    You have written a lot and I do not know where to begin but let us start with this. The context of Luke 6: 38 is not money at all. Jesus was actually referring to the way we treat others. He was simply saying the way you treat others is the very same way you yourself would be treated in great measure. If you read Luke 6 from verse 37, you would see that it ends with a colon which means verse 38 is verse 37 continued. That’s it. I got these definitions for Colon from wikipedia

    The following classification of the functions that a colon may have, given by Luca Serianni (a pioneer of the colon) for Italian usage, is generally valid for English and many other languages:

    * syntactical-deductive: introduces the logical consequence, or effect, of a fact stated before
    There was only one possible explanation: the train had never arrived.

    * syntactical-descriptive: introduces a description—in particular, makes explicit the elements of a set
    I have three sisters: Catherine, Sarah, and Mary.

    * appositive: introduces a sentence with the role of apposition with respect to the previous one
    Luruns could not speak: he was drunk.

    * segmental: introduces a direct speech, in combination with quotation marks and dashes. The segmental function was once a common means of indicating an unmarked quotation on the same line. The following example is from Fowler’s grammar book, The King’s English:
    Benjamin Franklin proclaimed the virtue of frugality: a penny saved is a penny earned.

    With regards to giving towards “teachers” the rule of thumb is the same: give what you can. And the bible did not restrict that to only money neither did the bible specify a minimum amount to give to them. I do not think it is true that your financial blessings would be hindered if you do not give to these teachers though.

    Finally, in today’s church we have tunnel vision with regards to the definition of sowing and reaping. We never look at the context in which it was used and always think it refers to giving and receiving. That is not always the case. Most of the time it is used to refer to investing. If you invest in a good business, you shall reap good financial benefits. It is also used to illustrate a point like if you sow into the carnal nature you shall reap corruption.

    God bless.

    Reply

  4. Syl
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 00:24:17

    Wow…..I never even paid attention to the colon to see the first sentence in verse 37 is continuing the thought right into verse 38. MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

    I so appreciate your help on this. I have been studying and asking God to show me the truth for the last 2 years or so and have finally gotten to the point where I was ready to receive the fact that some of what I’ve learned in the Pentecostal church just isn’t correct.

    I think alot of people in the body of Christ don’t want to know the truth because the truth hurts. Many like me would have to deal with the reality that we’ve been doing and saying things for so many years and then have to admit to ourselves, our families and friends that our doctrine has been incorrect for so many years. You feel somewhat stupid in a way.

    For me, I can honestly say that I have no idea how I spent so much time (and I’m talking about alone time; not church time) with the Lord; I was in the Word of God constantly and STILL MISSED IT. Somehow I missed the Holy Spirit and didn’t even realize it.

    Thank you so much for taking the time out to respond. You are a blessing!

    Reply

    • eliteinchrist
      Jan 06, 2011 @ 10:24:17

      Hi Sylvie,

      You are the blessing! You have really made my day and made all of these worthwhile.

      You are not the only one who has spent time with the Lord and missed a lot of things. I used to be a pastor and I taught some of these things believing them to be true. I too have made my own fair share of mistakes, and some have really cost me dearly.

      I went through a rather traumatic experience that made me begin to question the Christian faith and all that I had been taught in church. I almost lost my faith and began to have a great distrust for pastors. With God’s help I came to realise that it was my relationship with God that was the problem. My original view of God had been coloured by these doctrines and I resolved to know God for myself. I put aside my King James Bible and got a bible in simple English and other study aids like bible encyclopaedias and Strong’s Hebrew-Greek concordance: I learnt a lot!

      I sent you an email yesterday in response to your first comment asking your permission to publish it. I hope you received it. but should you have any more questions, do not hesitate to drop me a line or two and we shall look at scriptures together.

      May the good Lord continue to bless you and yours in Jesus name, amen.

      – Tony

      Reply

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