Misconceptions about Christians giving

Posted: September 17, 2011 in Evangelism, Me and God, Me and people, Politics, The Bible, The Church, Uncategorized

In my previous entry, I intended to shared some of the conclusions we (our men’s group) came out with, in regards to giving, according to what we read in the Bible and the book of Acts. Particularly, we centered the discussion around an article I read recently in which the author made some very inaccurate and conveniently twisted comments about Christians and what the Bible says about giving.

This time, I would like to share some of the conclusions we drew from the next chapter in our study, Chapter 3. Here, the key event is the famous passage in which Peter and John tell to a beggar, who is paralytic:

I don’t have money to give to you, but what I do have I will give you; get up and walk!. ..and the man was healed. (pp Acts 3:6)

  • The forty year old paralytic guy had been siting at the same place outside the temple for years. Jesus spent a lot of time preaching at the temple for the last three years. Chances are, Jesus saw him, but never healed him. Jesus -and for that matter the Apostles, didn’t heal ‘everyone’. Perhaps God in His sovereign plan knew there was an exact time for this guy to be healed, not by Jesus but by Peter and John in order to unleash all the events we read in chapters 3 and 4.  Perhaps as Christians we are not to give according to other’s needs -it would be an impossible task to accomplish and it would drive us crazy. It was Jesus himself who said: “the poor you will always have among you“. Perhaps, Christians are not supposed to give according to others’ needs but according to obedience. Whenever we have a commandment from the Bible or sense God speaking to our hearts “give this much to that person”, then it’s the time to give -maybe even if we don’t think that person deserves it. We read that Peter went to the temple at the hour of prayer which makes me wonder if prayer was a component that helped him to be in-tune with God’s voice -and therefore will help us as well. Giving according to obedience will allow our small act of giving to be part of God’s bigger plan of salvation.
  • We read in Acts 4:34 that the proceeds of everything the Christians sold, was brought to the Apostles. It makes me wonder if when Peter told to the beggar “Silver and gold I do not have”, he -Peter, as the head apostle, actually may have had in fact access to all of the money from the Christians proceeds. He could have given a large amount to the beggar. Instead, he said “I do not have money ‘for you’, ..this is what I have…..”.  We learn from the church in Macedonia and Jesus’ passage with the widow, that when and how much we give should not be conditioned by how much we have available; from my own experience, other believers and Biblical examples, sometimes God asks us to give even beyond of what we have available, in order to stretch our faith and show his faithfulness and provision. Sometimes Christians are not supposed to give according to availability but according to faith.
  • When John and Peter spoke to the lame man, he “gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them”. People today expect the church to give. People expect Christians to give. James makes the argument that saying “be blessed, be filled” without actually giving food, is unprofitable. With that being said, giving and meeting needs without specifically and clearly sharing the Gospel (with actions and words), without telling the message of salvation and why we do what we do, is equally unprofitable. We are in that case, meeting mere temporal needs. In this passage in Acts 3 we see a great miracle happened. The mirace itself was not the end of it but  “a hook”, a simple starting point upon which the opportunity to preach was set up, and -the ultimate and most important goal was accomplished:  Five thousand people believed. We must remember, Christians’ mission and duty is not to meet temporal needs, but to meet eternal needs -sometimes, through the meeting of temporal needs. 
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