Gold, Silver, Tithes and Airline Tickets
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The last few years have taught me that life takes some unexpected turns. In 2011, it was a surprise to be asked to pastor a few churches in Florida. While I didn’t feel qualified to serve in that capacity, there was really no answer other than “yes”—the situation demanded it.
God gives us opportunities to learn, and we learn that He provides what we need. We learn to be ready to serve however He asks, putting our faith in Him, and letting Him lead us by His Spirit. And we learn that if we don’t look to Him to direct our paths, we will fail. For my wife and me, serving the people in our area and serving God in this role has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of our lives.
This past summer, when asked to serve as treasurer of the Church, it was like déjà vu all over again. It is a pleasure working with the home office team to serve God and you, as He directs His work, and as He provides our needs to fulfill the commission He has given us all.
You are probably expecting that this article will have something to do with finances. In fact, money and finance are an important part of the work, as well as our personal lives. There are many financial principles in the Bible, and God watches how we handle what He provides, expecting us to be wise stewards.
In 2 Chronicles 26:5 2 Chronicles 26:5And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
American King James Version×, we find one such financial principle: “As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” We should seek God’s will daily as we go about our Father’s business, wanting to please Him in everything, just as Jesus Christ did (John 8:29 John 8:29And he that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
American King James Version×).
He places us in His Body to grow and develop us, and every single member contributes and is necessary for the effective working of the Body (Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12). We are here to encourage and exhort each other and to use the talents and abilities God has given us.
Each of us has a role in the finances of the Church, too. It is by the faithful offerings, tithes and sacrifices of each member, coworker and donor that the work is funded. Every single one is important, and in those faithful tithes and offerings, God is pleased.
In just three months on the job, I have been heartened and impressed by the generosity and ingenuity of God’s people. Not only have tithes, offerings, Holy Day offerings, and other donations been consistently at or above budgeted levels, but we have received a few unconventional offerings as well.
For the first time in quite a while, I’m told, we received a few donations of stock. Yes, that’s right, stock as in shares of stock in various companies. I learned that we have a broker available who turned those shares into cash to be used in the work.
Recently we’ve received proceeds from a few estates, as well. Members had included the Church in their wills, and we received generous donations as a result. It is heartening to know that the work of God is so important to people that they take the time to include the Church in their final bequests, so that they continue to give, even after they die. It reminds me of the verse in Hebrews 11:4 Hebrews 11:4By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks.
American King James Version×: “He, being dead, still speaks.”
Recently, we had a member write and donate his unused (and significant number of) frequent flyer airline miles. He said he didn’t intend to use them and wondered if they could be used in the work. So far, flights valued at over $1,500 have been booked from those airline miles.
How uplifting it is to see the desire to give to God in the hearts of His people. And in giving, we find another financial principle.
Another Financial Principle
Do you remember the joy in David’s and the people’s hearts when they willingly gave to the building of the temple? “They gave for the work of the house of God…gold…silver…bronze, and…iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord…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” (1 Chronicles 29:7-9 1 Chronicles 29:7-9  And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.  And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.  Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
God is pleased when He sees our hearts in His work. When David saw the joy in the people that day, his heart rejoiced and he asked God to help them remember that attitude: “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand...As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You (1 Chronicles 29: 16-18).
Let’s all determine to fix our hearts toward God, and to accomplish what He has called us to do. There is no greater work on the face of the earth today than God’s work, as He prepares His people and as the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God is preached to all the world as a witness to all nations.
We thank God for all His people and for your generous tithes and offerings. May we all continue to serve God and show our dedication to Him, continually asking Him to guide the efforts and direction of His Church, that His will may be done.