Don’t Let The Manipulators Make You Stingy

Some TV evangelists solicit money like they’re selling Slice-O-Dice-O-Matics or Incredible Dirt-Be-Gone-Ice-Cream-Maker-Diaper-Changers.

“Send your faith seed of $19.95 today and we’ll send you The Amazing Prayer Cloth!  Yes, the Amazing Prayer Cloth, embroidered with “footprints in the sand,” is a handy 6” by 6” and fits perfectly inside your Bible.  The Amazing Prayer Cloth not only will heal you, but is great for cleaning filthy conscience guilt buildup, as well as charcoal grills and computer screens.  Call now, and we’ll send you a second Amazing Prayer Cloth absolutely FREE (just pay shipping and handling of $499)!  But wait, there’s more…”

Because of all the manipulation on Christian TV, I’m hesitant at times to encourage people to give to God.  But God unashamedly tells us to be generous and to expect him to bless us lavishly.  We shouldn’t let the manipulators make us stingy.

God wants us to be generous like he is, the one who gave his only Son for us.  Like Christ, who emptied himself to make us rich. Jesus says, “Give to everyone who asks of you.”

Obviously, we need to use discernment, but we should reflect our heavenly Father’s generosity.  Here are three reasons:

Generosity honors God.

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
but he who is generous to the needy honors him.  (Proverbs 14:31)

Generosity brings thanks to God.

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.  (2 Corinthians 9:11-12)

Generosity focuses our hope on God.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…(1 Tim 6.17-18).

Generosity helps us set our hope on God, not money or things, which are here today and gone tomorrow.  When we give generously we say, “Lord, I give my money away, because I believe you are generous and lavish and will richly provide anything that is good for me.”

God doesn’t owe us, but promises to bless us when we give. If we sow we’ll reap.  And God gives us a measure of determination in how much we reap. Sow generously, reap generously.  Not that we always reap exactly what we sow.  Give a dollar, you might not get ten back.  But Jesus will give you joy. And that’s better than money any day.  And it’s way better than The Amazing Prayer Cloth.

Comments

  1. photini says

    In the above example, one is giving to get a blessing – the prayer cloth which will work miracles! That's not giving to the needy!

    We are to give to the poor without hope of anything in return. The hardest part is the idea, "If I give that panhandler money, he might just use it to buy cigarettes or beer." If someone is hungry, we should first, if possible, give him food or take him somewhere and buy him a meal. Then you know the money is spent for food. If you can't do that, give him the money! You have fulfilled your obligation. What that person does with the money is between him and God. Hopefully, he will buy food. But if he doesn't he will be the one answering to God about it, not you.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Thanks for your comments, photini.

      I agree – give a poor person food if you can. Good examples – buy them a meal, etc if you can. I also believe though we can expect God to bless us in return, though our motive should be first and foremost to glorify and honor God.

  2. Elaine says

    Great post, Mark! Thanks for the encouragement!

    One of the strongest barriers to being generous I have had to face – and still face – is fear – we're not going to have enough, we're going to need that "whatever" – but we can trust the Lord to care for us and provide for every single need we have. The Lord is faithful – He has always supplied everything lavishly. We can trust Him to lead us in all of our life's decisions, small and seemingly insignificant, like "How many jars of tomato sauce do I need, Father?" to the large and imposing, "Is this treatment the right one, Lord?"

    Over the years, the Lord has taught me to ASK, like a child asking her father and trusting him to show her what to do. He has been faithful and generous to teach me – as slow to learn as I am – that being generous with others is a not so much a reflection on me, but it can be a reflection of what I believe about Him. Whether it is with our money, our time, our service, our prayers – we all have some means of demonstrating generosity.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Excellent comments, Elaine! I agree, fear is a temptation when it comes to generosity. Thanks for adding this in! And for this comment "being generous with others is not so much a reflection on me, but it can be a reflection of what I believe about Him."

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