2 Corinthians 9:6-8  “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

     God’s Word is the best argument for the merits of giving generously.  Those who give freely out of a sincere desire to share with others receive first and foremost God’s love not because of their giving but because of their heart attitude.  God blesses those who respond to the needs of others with His provision as well.  Jesus tells us; “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

    Sadly we in the church can forget Jesus’ words to us and Paul’s reminder.  Matt Vande Bunte writes; “A new book,’The State of Church Giving,’ says congregations have waning influence among charitable causes because their focus now seems to be on institutional maintenance rather than spreading the gospel and healing the world.”    The tendency to look inward and worry about our own needs is a temptation that while understandable is deplorable.  Why?  This tendency denies Jesus because it expresses in a real way distrust of His Word!  It is the beginnings of disobedience and starts the dry rot process of disbelief.  Am I overstating my case? 

     Matt Bunte continues; “Ronsvalle [the executive vice president of the Champaign, Ill.-based nonprofit that this month released its study of U.S. church giving through 2008] called the findings ‘unintended side effects of the seeker’ mentality’ that creates a consumer mindset within U.S. churches, one that says ‘We’re here to serve you,’ not ‘We’re here to transform you into somebody who serves others.’”

     Not only is there a tendency to be stingy with our giving but a more disturbing tendency of deception over giving arises; “Churchgoers like to think of themselves as generous and cheerful givers, but for many the flesh appears to be weak when it comes to living up to their own standards for charitable giving. A quarter of respondents in a new national study said they tithed 10 percent of their income to charity. But when their donations were checked against income figures, only 3 percent of the group gave more than 5 percent to charity.” (David Briggs)

     David Briggs goes on to cite another study; “In one indication of the gap between perception and reality, 10 percent of the respondents to the generosity survey reported tithing 10 percent of their income to charity although their records showed they gave $200 or less. The self-deception appears to be limiting giving.” You can fool others, you can even fool yourself but you can’t fool God.

     The Bible tells us plainly what this kind of self serving deception gets us; “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:2,3)  ‘Commit murder’?!  Strong words that certainly cannot describe what happens in a church.  Or can these words describe what’s really going on!

     Brian Fisher writing for Charisma News reports; “According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, ‘Almost three-quarters of women obtaining abortions in 2008 reported a religious affiliation. The largest proportion were Protestant (37 percent), and most of the rest said that they were Catholic (28 percent) or that they had no religious affiliation (27 percent). One in five abortion patients identified themselves as born-again, evangelical, charismatic or fundamentalist; 75 percent of these were Protestant.’”

     Being selfish and lying about it leads to all kinds of trouble.  Spiritually these tendencies when left unchecked lead to disbelief.  Disbelief of God’s Word is destroying many churches.  We start by picking  what we want to accept and ignore the rest.   In the end all is Scripture is left in doubt and faith is destroyed.  The dry rot of unbelief crumbles the foundation of the church with greater effectiveness than any attack from without. 

     We get what we give.  The Bible tells us: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. . . ” (Galatians 6:7,8)

     Praise the Lord!