30 DAYS TO FAITHFUL GIVING
SEPTEMBER 1-30, 2017
Have you ever wondered how to start tithing? Maybe you give sometimes but not regularly, or maybe you give weekly but just whatever you have on-hand. Then again, maybe you’ve never given but would like to start. If this sounds like you, then we’d like to challenge you to make giving a priority for the 30 days of September. Giving on a regular basis can seem intimidating at first, but in the Bible, God calls us to give faithfully, and when we do, he blesses us “until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:10). Come right here for weekly devotionals for September to encourage you with Scripture, prayer and some interactive features to just start somewhere and watch how God will meet you there as you become a faithful giver.
Week 1 (Sept. 1-7)
“Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.
2 Cor 8:12-14 – (NLT)
Giving to God our hard-earned money is often an “after thought" for God’s people. This is just what it sounds like—it is the moment after we have paid all of our bills for the month that we finally consider giving to God’s work and his church. Sometimes it is the moment after the offering is received or when the service is over that we think, “maybe I should have dropped some money in the offering plate.” Then again, the desire to give might come the moment after we hear a Biblical teaching on giving, and we briefly think about giving God a piece of our earnings.
Don’t worry you aren’t alone in this! Many believers struggle with the idea of giving. Some struggles are whether to give anything, other struggles are rooted in, “I give, but I can’t afford a Biblical tithe like God commands.”
What matters is starting somewhere. Start giving if you haven’t, or start working toward the tithe. During the month of September, we are doing a 30 Day Challenge at Lexington Baptist Church, asking you to step out of your comfort zone and start giving of your hard-earned money. Giving to God, no matter the amount, should be a goal for everyone. Make it a goal to begin the habit of giving to God’s church today. We cannot wait until someday. We cannot wait for the after: after we have lots of money, or after we have financial stability and peace.
A Truth for Today
If we wait to give until after we think we “have enough,” we will never start giving. Today is a great day to start right where you are with what you have. By giving what you have, you’ll set up great habits for AFTER!
Week 2 (Sept. 8-14)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
You would probably agree that most people in the world desire health, wealth and peace of mind. Health and peace of mind are sometimes forgotten, but wealth is something we think about constantly. Do I have enough to pay this bill or for that trip? Truthfully, when it comes to wealth people, tend to focus on two things: possessions and money. These two desires are selfish in nature, but in the world we all live in, the race we run is to acquire as much of both as we can. An author once said, “The relationship with your possessions and the desire for money shows where your relationship with Christ stands.” Another said, “Show me your checkbook, and I will show you what you what is most important in your life.”
The scripture passage above warns us against the earthly race we run seeking money and possessions. Don’t misunderstand me, it is not wrong to be blessed with money and possessions. It is wrong, however, to see the possessions as your own and not realize that the earthly things we have are a direct gift from God. As Matthew says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The Pharisees were a distracted people. They built Temples and stored up great treasures on earth while also paying close attention to what they wore and what they had. Jesus told the Pharisees that their material possessions and wealth would pass away.
As a part of the 30-Day Challenge, think about how God has richly blessed your life. Look through your earthly possessions and give God praise for everything because it all belongs to him. Then, ask yourself, does my giving to God’s church and the work of the Father show where my heart is? Do I run the earthly race seeking earthly possessions or am I seeking heavenly treasures by seeking God’s kingdom first? The blessings of God should be returned by the faithful tithe I give. As we have stated many times this month, the 30-Day Challenge is an opportunity for you to start fresh, to start over or to start somewhere in giving.
A Prayer for Today
Pray today and ask God to give you the strength to seek His kingdom first. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Week 3 (Sept. 15-22)
"Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
An Army chaplain was visiting with injured soldiers during World War II. As he walked from room to room, he became overwhelmed by the sacrifice he was seeing. As he approached a closed curtain, he checked his reference sheet and saw that the soldier’s name was Joshua. In his notes, he saw that Joshua was injured while saving a fellow soldier during battle. The chaplain took a deep breath, not knowing, what he would see when he pulled the curtain back. As was his normal practice, he entered and proclaimed, "Bless you son, you saved a fellow soldier’s life -- and lost an arm in the great cause doing it," the chaplain said. "No," said the soldier with a smile. "I didn't lose it, I gave it.” The soldiers attitude towards his situation was remarkable. He didn’t view his situation as a loss; he saw it as a gain.
Sometimes when we give our hard-earned money to God’s Church, we don’t see what we gain, we only see what we lost. This is not a comparison of losing limbs in battle with giving, but it is a comparison of the attitude and spirit of the soldier with our attitude and spirit in giving. We should never look at our tithes and offerings as something we lose, rather what we gain. We aren’t losing money; we are, however, gaining in our obedience and faithfulness to the Lord.
This passage in Matthew 26 shows us a clear picture of what it looks like to give sacrificially. You see, sacrificial giving is the act of giving something that is valuable, precious and costly as an act of worship to God.
A Prayer for Today
As you take the 30-Day challenge, pray that God would help you prepare yourself to give sacrificially as an act of worship to Him.