Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap (Galatians 6:7, ESV). I am amazed at the lack of understanding many professing Christians have concerning the relationship of giving, generosity and the true worship of God. Far too many American Christians have devised a religion of their own making that mixes their own religious ideas with a few passages of Holy Scripture. Many people think that they are worshipping the true God of the Bible when, instead, they have created their own false religion.
The test of true religion is found in James 1:27 (ESV): Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. True religion does not consist of warm, fuzzy feelings or reciting religious or inspirational platitudes. It reveals that it is true by one's actions. It is a given that one must repent of one's sins and cast oneself upon Christ and His glorious gospel mercy in order to be a child of God. However, if a person has truly submitted to Christ he or she will have a desire to give to others, be generous in material and spiritual things, and to value Jesus Christ as the Supreme Treasure above all earthly treasures.
One area of concern that I have noticed in nearly thirty years of ministry is the way many people REFUSE to honor God with the tithe and with offerings. I have heard many church leaders admit that their summer giving to the church would decrease because they spent the money on a family vacation. I have heard many believers lament that they know they ought to give more, but they just haven't gotten around to it yet. Why is there such a lack of obedience? Much of this lack of obedience is due to either a lack of faith or due to a heart that has never truly submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that we live in a day when many are struggling with economic woes, some of their own making and others due to the sins of many political leaders. God certainly wants you to pay your debts. Some will have to live frugally and work toward paying off their debts. As these folks pay off their debts they can then begin to take the extra money they now have and begin to give God His part. I know that many people see the television preachers who make astronomical amounts of money and think that all ministers are financially prospering, but that is not the case. Many ministers are leaving vocational ministry, while others are moving toward a bivocational ministry. In the last decade many ministers were finally beginning to have their income reach the level of the average church members, but then the economic collapse of 2008 occurred and most have seen their salaries and benefits greatly decrease.
In Nehemiah 13:101-3 we read that the priests and temple musicians had to go back their farms and leave full-time ministry because of the lack of giving. Sometimes a lack of communication or mismanagement does lead people to pull back in their giving and service.This was the case in Nehemiah's day. It is imperative that spiritual leaders communicate effectively and that they are diligent in keeping the needs in front of those they serve. While I do think there are areas in the modern day church where this applies, I think the greatest problem is a lack of reverence for God. In the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary on the Galatians 6:7 we read: Excuses for illiberality in God's cause (Galatians 6:6) seem valid before men, but are not so before God. (Psalm 50:21). It is my prayer that the modern day church will return to living in the fear of the Lord and will honor him with the tithe and with the giving of all of their resources.
The church today needs your talents, your resources, your time, and your money. If you have failed in these areas, then repent and cast yourself upon Christ and His mercy. It is never too late to begin doing what God requires and commands. Trust Him. I close with the second verse of the great gospel song, Sweet, Sweet Spirit, written by Doris Akers. There are blessings you cannot receive. Till you know Him in His fullness and believe. You're the one to profit when you say, "I am going to walk with Jesus all the way. Your obedience will never earn you favor with God, but God will bless your obedience.Determine today that you will begin to live a life of spiritual prosperity. A stingy spirit will never reap spiritual blessings.