Giving: The Lotto Motto
2 Cor 6-8, 10-11 (NIV)
“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. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Ecc 11:6 (NKJV)
“In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.
I used to be a regular financial supporter of Keith Butler Ministries (KBM). But I give to several ministries, and over time I just prioritized other ministries over this one.”
Today I was reading 2 Corinthians chapter 9, and verses 6-8 say (paraphrasing) that God gives me grace or blesses me so that I can give to every good work. Verses 10-12 repeat that by saying, in effect, God gives me the seed that I “decided in my heart to give” (verse 7) and makes me rich “so that I can be generous on every occasion.” So if I want to give, I just ask God because He gives me the ability to be generous?
It's a faith step to give when the numbers in my checkbook say I shouldn’t. Now I could have waited until God manifested the seed, the funds for me to sow into KBM. That’s an important point. It is possible to overgive. Yes, that’s a word I made up, but I have done that many times. Let me take a moment to explain.
I can give without relying on the grace of God, the supernatural provision of God, the wisdom of God, or the leading of the Holy Spirit. The result is that sometimes I have put myself in a financial bind.
We are still supposed to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matt 22:20-22). We need to pay our taxes, mortgage/rent, car note, utilities, child support, etc. We should also save money and pay down/eliminate debts.
I don’t have to feel guilty about not being able to give to every great ministry like KBM. Giving under this guilt is giving “reluctantly or under compulsion.” There are times when I have wanted to increase my giving, and I prayed the Scriptures above and waited until God sent a pay raise or some unexpected income and then given from that “increase.”
There are other times like today where I just gave a small amount versus adding KBM to my list of recurring giving. And there are still other times when the Holy Spirit has prompted me to give when the numbers don’t make sense.
I personally have to be careful with that type of giving because of my own personality type. Because of the way I’m wired, I have a hard time distinguishing between my own desire to give and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Again sometimes, this puts me in a temporary bind.
I’m not saying that anything given to God is wasted. Whatever we sow into what Bishop Butler calls “good ground” is still promised to bear fruit. But God is not calling us to scuffle every month in order to give. And just to be clear, I am talking about giving over and above the tithe.
I love KBM. Bishop Butler’s teachings have been a blessing to me for decades. Just looking over his website this morning blessed me, and I bought one of his e-books. I was also personally challenged to increase my giving. I prayed and asked God to increase me so that I could regularly give to this ministry again.
As I was thinking about all this, the Holy Spirit gave me a funny twist on this subject. All I was really trying to do was decide whether to give a $10 gift to KBM. Not the end of the world financially.
The Scripture that came to mind was Ecc 11:16, which paraphrasing says, sow your seed in the morning and the evening because you don’t know which one will prosper. I always envision this as a spiritual scale or Jenga (the stacking blocks game), where giving just one more gift might cause a big blessing to fall into my hands.
What’s the twist? That’s the same philosophy used by Lotto! The lottery says buy tickets in the morning and the evening because you don’t know which one might “hit.” How many people believe in buying regular lottery tickets to hit versus believing that regularly sowing small amounts into the Kingdom of God will prosper? Selah.
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