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Why, When, And Where to Give

The Word of God has more to say about finances than it does about heaven
and hell. Jesus said trusting Him with our money was the least use of our faith
(Luke 16:9-11). If we cant do that which is least, then we cant do the greater
things. This is very important.
Before I get into teaching on finances, let me say that this week, I watched a
fundraiser held by a Christian network, and I was appalled. I saw
manipulation that makes con men look honest, and it was all done in the
name of the Lord with tears and lots of hype. It really grieved me, as I know it
would many of you.
But do you know what upset me the most? It wasnt the minister
misrepresenting the Lord. That always has and always will happen. Whats the
chaff to the wheat (Jer. 23:28)? We keep our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:12). What really upset me was that these tactics work. The body of Christ
responds to this type of appeal with big bucks, and thats why ministers
do this: It works. There are organizations receiving hundreds of millions of
dollars per year through gimmicks, lies, and manipulation.
That says volumes about the immaturity in the body of Christ.
As I prayed about this, I felt like the Lord said to me, How can My people
mature in this area without teaching, because faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God [Rom. 10:17]? So, if you want to see the body
mature in this area, teach them. Thats what Im doing.
As I said in my opening paragraph, there is a lot of information in the Bible on
this. So, I encourage you to get my six-CD album Financial Stewardship,
which I began teaching on television at the end of April. Its free on our
website, or you can order the CDs or DVDs for a gift of any amount. It will give
a good foundation from Gods Word on prosperity.

But in this letter, I want to focus specifically on what the Bible has to say
about why, when, and where to give. A biblical perspective in these three
areas would stop this silliness.
First, the motivation behind your gift is more important than your
gift. This is the point being made in 1 Corinthians 13:3, which says,
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my
body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
The reason you give is more important than what or how much you give.
Any presentation that says you can buy Gods blessing or the salvation of a
loved one or some other positive result with your financial gift is using the
wrong motive to get you to give. It is true that the widow gave Elijah all she
had and that her needs were supernaturally supplied for the next three years
as a result. But 1 Kings 17:9 says, I have commanded a widow woman there
to sustain thee. The Lord had commanded her to sustain Elijah. This wasnt
about getting her needs met, although that did happen; she was giving to help
the man of God.
Its also true that Cornelius gifts came up before God as a memorial (Acts
10:4), but it was his faith that pleased God (Heb. 11:6). His giving was just a
manifest token of his faith and trust in the Lord. Gods blessings cannot be
bought (Acts 8:18-20).
It is true that when we give, the Lord will give back to us a hundredfold
in this lifetime (Mark 10:30), but giving only to get is the wrong
motivation. God prospers us so we can establish His kingdom (Deut. 8:18),
give to those in need (Eph. 4:28), and abound unto every good work (2 Cor.
9:8). We do need to expect to receive when we give, primarily so we will be
resupplied and able to give more. However, the emphasis should be on giving,
not receiving. It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). We
should live to give and not give to live.

Second, there has been a lot of misunderstanding about when we


should give. Many Christians only give after all their needs have been met.
But the Scriptures teach that our gifts are first fruits (Prov. 3:9). That means
the first thing we do when we receive money is to honor the Lord by giving a
portion of it to His work. Anything less is not honoring the Lord.
Also, some of us are taught only to give at the specific command of the Lord.
Of course, Gods Word is His instruction, and we shouldnt have to have an
audible voice to give us further direction. There are times when the Lord will
specifically direct our giving, but its not all the time.
The Scripture says,
As he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:
for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).
What if the only time our children ever told us they loved us was when we told
them to tell us? It is true that we have to teach our children to say things like
Thank you and I love you. We do lead them into things like that, and the
Lord does lead us to give at times. But all parents long for the day when those
responses come out of their childrens hearts spontaneously. Likewise, the
Lord wants us to give as we desire to give, not under pressure.
So, when we are condemned into giving or made to feel guilty if we dont
give, thats the wrong time to give. I had a friend who once gave $1,000 to
a minister just so he and everyone else could leave. The minister said he
wouldnt let anyone go until their goal was reached. After three offerings, they
were still $1,000 short, so my friend gave the $1,000 just to get out of there.
I would never give in a situation like that. Thats rewarding negative behavior.
Its like casting a vote and saying, I like it. Do it again even more. Every time
we give to a minister who is manipulating us, its like casting a vote for that
type of treatment. We have no right to murmur and complain when we voted
for the thing we are upset about.

Third, concerning where we should give, thats the easiest one of all. Paul
said in 1 Corinthians 9:7-11, Galatians 6:6, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, and many other
scriptures, that you are to give where you are fed. You dont eat at McDonalds
but go over to Wendys to pay. You pay where you eat. Likewise, you are to
give where you are fed.
Malachi 3:10 reads,
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine
house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open
you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not
be room enough to receive it.
Ive heard many ministers use that verse to teach that your tithes belong to
your local church, and offerings above your tithes go to other ministries and
benevolence work. I agree with that if your church is truly a storehouse. A
storehouse is where you keep your food or go to get food.
The local church is the backbone of Gods work here on earth. There are
ways that a local church can feed you that no other ministry can. You cant call
me in the middle of the night or have me perform your childs wedding or help
counsel them. You need the fellowship of other believers. I cant offer you that,
but the local church can.
But, how many of us realize we dont live in a perfect world where every
church is meeting the needs of the people who attend? There are people
who go to church every week and never get fed. In fact, I have many people
tell me they are starving or being poisoned in their local churches, and they
are living off my teaching.
Its wrong to get fed in one place and give your tithes and offerings to
another place. If you arent in a local church that truly feeds you, then get out
of there and find a good one. Then give your tithes to that church and your
offerings to other ministries. But if you cant find a good church or, for other

reasons, are staying put in a dead church, dont give your money there. You
are subsidizing them.
I can guarantee you that those who use gimmicks and condemnation to
manipulate are not truly feeding Gods people. Mainstream religion is not
feeding people. If the body of Christ was to purify their motives in giving,
give only when they can do it cheerfully and not out of guilt, and give
where they are truly fed, then those who arent feeding Gods flock
would have to repent or go out of business. Also, true ministers and
churches that are actually feeding the body of Christ would have more
money than they needed.
For instance, our Gospel Truth television broadcasts are available to three
billion people on the planet. If only 1 percent of them actually watched our
programs, that would be thirty million people. If only 10 percent of them
actually received, that would be three million people per day who are blessed.
A one-dollar-per-month gift would nearly double our income. Its that simple.
Every ministry that is truly reaching people would have similar results. The
only exception I can think of is the ministries that minister to those who cant
give, such as missionaries or those helping the poor. Those are what I call
benevolence ministries, and they need gifts from those who arent fed directly
by them.
I used my chapel hour in Charis Bible College this week to teach on this very
subject, Why, When, and Where to Give. It really blessed the students. I
think this teaching would bless you and help you be more discerning in this
area. Also, Im sure you know some people who have bad attitudes about
giving because of the abuses theyve seen. I think this would be a great way
to get them past these hurts and help them to begin receiving Gods best in
this area of finances.