This article by Asher Intrater originally appeared in August 2003, but we’re using it as an introduction to a short series of articles on the subject of giving.
Giving is a powerful, supernatural and extremely effective form of ministry. There are a number of funds currently operating in Israel that we have had a part in founding, managing or serving on the board of directors. These funds give both to the needy and to those who are evangelizing. In this way, giving represents a much larger portion than all of our other expenses and salaries put together.
People often quote I Corinthians 12, saying that there are nine gifts of the Spirit. In fact there is another one. Speaking of the way the Macedonian congregation had excelled in their giving, Paul wrote this exhortation to Corinth, which is certainly applicable to us all:
As you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace also. (II Corinthians 8:7)
The word grace in this verse is charisma, the same word we use for the charismatic gifts. Just as tongues, prophecy, healing and deliverance are supernatural gifts of God, so is giving.
As there is a supernatural way to give with the leading of the Holy Spirit, so is it possible to give in a merely natural way. It is worthwhile to invest prayer to seek the will of the Lord on how, when and where to give.
Giving or Gambling?
Many people have a problem with gambling. There is a supernatural compulsion to waste huge amounts of money in this self-destructive habit. It has a demonic ‘anointing’ on it. The attraction to gambling is a perversion, just the way lust is a perversion of marital desire. The power of gambling
comes from the original God-given ability to give money away, and then to have it produce multiplied results.
Yeshua said that there is no one who has given in sacrificial love and faith …
who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time (Mark 10:30)
There can be no attraction to gambling to those who have entered into the divine adventure of radical giving, combined with radical faith to receive more, and then to give even more radically. Sometimes I think I am ‘addicted’ to giving. I have almost a compulsive desire to give and give more. Generosity is more the focus than prosperity.
We should pray everyday for God to multiply the effectiveness of what we have already given, multiply the ability to give more in the future, and multiply what we give back into our own hands to be able to expand the process. How exciting! What a joy!
Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7)
Humanistic manipulation robs you of the supernatural aspects of giving. Prayerfully directed giving is liberating, joyful and fruitful. Paul here is referring to a statement in the Tanach (Old Testament) about the offering given for building the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly. (I Chronicles 29:9)
If you offer willingly, then you have joy. If you have joy in your giving, then God also rejoices along with you. When the reality of this hits you, it will make you laugh out loud.
This offering was part of David’s last ministry in preparing to pass on the work of the house of the Lord to his son Solomon. I was thinking about this in praying for our children. There are many aspects of my ministry that I will not be able to fulfill, but that my children (spiritual and natural) will be able to fulfill in my place.
David saw this giving opportunity as his greatest and final ministry. After defeating Goliath, being the anointed young leader, after being persecuted by Saul, after ruling over all the kingdom, after sinning and repenting with Bat Sheva, after leading worship and writing the psalms of the Bible, it all came down to this one point: Prepare the next generation. Deliver on to young disciples the heavenly ‘pattern’ that God has given you in a life-long vision. Pass the baton. And give, give, give!
Giving is the ultimate ministry. You give your life in service and in martyrdom. You give your soul and your blood. In Hebrew, the word for blood is also used to mean money (dam). (Tuition, for instance, is literally called study blood.)
Giving can be amazingly effective. Dollar for dollar, the amount of money it normally costs to have an American run a foreign mission can finance 100 to 1 the number of local evangelists or pastors. Apostolic ministry demands indigenous, local evangelistic breakthroughs. Giving money to the new generation of local believers is an integral part of apostolic ministry.
A nation reaches the peak of its kingdom destiny when it begins to finance local workers in other countries. The U. S., Korea, and other nations whom the Lord has blessed with finances are now in the position to provide funding for unprecedented harvests in China, India, the Middle East, Africa, etc. We are facing truly a “Revolution in World Missions,” as K. P. Yohanan so well describes in his book of the same name. By giving, we extend the ability to evangelize manifold times more than what we could do by ourselves.
How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15)
This verse has a penetrating and demanding logic to it. People are going to hell. All they have to do is believe. They have to hear the gospel to believe. Someone has to preach so that they can hear. Someone has to send the preachers so that they can preach. Sending here means, to a large degree, providing the finances for front-line evangelists.
This is the practical side to the great commission. The bottom line is giving for the gospel to go out. There are people willing to preach. The “make it or break it” issue has more to do with the givers than the preachers. As we come to maturity in the Lord, let us take this challenge to be really effective where it most counts. Let’s use the supernatural power of faith-filled giving to spread the gospel, help the needy and bring the kingdom of God to earth.