JAWDROPPING! Listen to this: This morning I went back to visit a distant church in West Georgia. Once a month the preacher reaches into a container filled with the names of people who have completed financial responsibility classes. The preacher pulled the name and that man and his family were given a written check to pay off ALL THEIR DEBTS!!! BOOM! The preacher had made a promise years ago that if the church became debt free, then they would focus the offerings to pay off the debts of the faithful AND give to the needy as well. Talk about a celebration! The worship and the message were off the charts. Now here are some interesting observations!
1) This was not a gimmick. This was not a lottery. This was a church that got serious about completing scriptural principles that have only been followed halfway. There are no announcements about this in the bulletin or on the website. They do not parade this practice. There is no hype leading up to the monthly event. They just do it…and have been doing it for some time. They have no desire to flaunt their practice. They were very balanced in giving the Church the opportunity to be encouraged and celebrate together without parading their practice. Out of respect for them, I will not mention the name of this church. They are careful to observe the beginning of Matthew 6 where it says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.”
2) It was explained to me that this was Matthew 6:31-33 in action. The people had endeavored to set the church free from debt through practical giving, and now that church was reciprocating in like manner. That verse says, So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. They believe that you cannot separate the practice of Matthew 6:1-4 from the promise of Matthew 6:33. Look at them! They go together. They don’t treat it as optional.
3) The Church-at-large and its leaders must repent in this matter or we will cease to be meaningful in this cynical age. We must become truth again. For too long, we have only looked to Christ to fulfill the promise of Matthew 6:33 but leaders have failed to recognize the truth that the Church is not exempt from its responsibility to be the arms and legs of doing their practical part in fulfilling that promise. The Head does not operate separate from the body. God can do the supernatural, but He also created the Church as a practical means for fulfilling the promises. God works through supernatural means and practical means. The Church must step up and do their practical part. The world will know that we are His disciples by our love for one another. The “one another” is our fellow believer. Our love must be meaningful. How is love shown? Jesus said that it is shown through money…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. But how can the world see love if we fail to do our small part in helping to provide for the needs of the faithful among us? The Church must repent from its current mindset of thinking that God will only provide through his supernatural power. The Leaders need to start passing out real loaves and fishes to the Gathered. When it comes to Christ feeding the multitudes, we have been telling the story wrong…or only halfway. Listen carefully.
Christ desired to meet the physical needs of the 5000 that were gathered at His feet. But first, the leaders had to scrounge up some real loaves and fishes. Instead of hoarding that food for themselves, or giving it all to some far away mission, the leaders gave to the gathered among them. Are you listening? For too long we have only been told that when you give to the church, it will be multiplied back to you. But where is the other half of that teaching that says when the Leaders began to give to the Gathered, that is when everything began to multiply? When the leaders start giving to the gathered, things start multiplying, and you get back more than you gave out. It wasn’t so much the people who had to step out on faith, it was the leaders! Did the people receive the multiplication? No, they only had their needs met. It was the leaders who ended up with more than they originally gave! The leaders received the actual multiplication, but it started when they began giving to the faithful gathered. In the feeding of the 5000, the practical was done first, the supernatural followed. This wasn’t just done once, but twice in the scriptures. Again, the multiplying happened when the Leaders stepped out in faith and began to give to the Gathered that were directly under them. The church can no longer exempt itself from what is shown in the scripture.
This is not a self- absorbed church. This is a multi-racial, multi-national, well-connected church in West Georgia that pours itself into the world around them both near and far. But they do practice the biblical principle of practicing first things first. They have learned that if you want to reach the world, you must empower the people under you; and you do that by following the scripture completely and not halfway. I’ve known and heard about them for years, but have only recently endured the drive to see things for myself. He also had some very, very intriguing things to say about tithing and giving. Nothing that I ever expected to hear from a pulpit. I will research this. There was more, much more, but first you need to chew on this and get bold enough to share it with your leaders and pastors. Share this on Facebook and rock the world around you! Your leaders need to struggle with this, pray about this, and find their way to implement this in your church! It may start small, but it needs to start somewhere.