Two Hundred

That was the amount of money that a girl pointed to me yesterday at the library. She told me that I ‘dropped’ my money, it was just beneath the very chair that I was sitting at. That money tested my heart.

I said my thanks and grabbed the money and put it on my wallet. I really believed that it was mine while I was reaching out for it. As I was unfolding the money and folding it again before putting it into my wallet, I just thought that it couldn’t be mine. The real amount of money that I had at that time would be less than Php. 50. I tried to reason out that maybe I had some extra on my pocket that was not washed away when I did wash my clothes. But no, it could be virtually impossible, for I know where I put in my blessings.

Thoughts were running in my mind. Thoughts of using the money for personal purposes, or maybe for other noble ones like buying some things for the church. But I knew they were wrong, I only had two valid options: look for the person who lost the money and/or surrender it to the assistant librarian.

I asked Carla who was sitting beside me if she had Php. 200, she said she had none. I also asked all the students at the other table and they all said they had no money by that amount. A lady from that table told me that boys from the criminology department were the ones who were formerly using our table before we came in.

In the late afternoon, after the classes, I talked to the assistant librarian about it. I surrendered to her the money. I knew that it is only by God’s Grace that the money could be returned to its owner. Satan had no way of accusing me of anything. All praises to God.

Heartfelt Giving to God

English: A model of the second jewish temple i...
A model of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The second temple existed in the time of Jesus in the Gospels.

(1Chr 29:9) 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.

The story of 1 Chronicles 29 marks the inevitable coming end of King David’s reign, the best King the land of Israel has ever had. And upon bidding his farewell, his interest still was all about the Glory of God – the Glory of His Temple on earth and how His chosen nation should worship and render service to Him.

With that on mind, he spoke to the people of Israel about his plans for the Temple, and what seemed best for the preparations in building it. He was also telling them that he has already prepared some of the construction materials needed. He was asking the people if they would be willing to render their service to this great task of building God’s Temple.

Many responded – in fact, all of them gave their part and contribution.

There was joy and gratitude all over – they loved to give to God, and not to the king. Here we can see simple truths about giving for the service of the Lord.

1. Giving, I mean heartfelt and delightful giving should be started by the leaders. It was started by the David, followed by the rulers and princes of the tribes of Israel.

(1Chr 29:6) Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,

A good leader is a good example, right? They are the ones whose selfless service and sacrifice should be seen first which would be used by God to inspire the people to do the same.

2. Giving should be transparent and accountable to both God and the people. As these leaders gave, it was recorded – to be known to all with exact measurements.

(1Chr 29:7) 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.

The church should also do the same. The congregation would like it best for their giving to be accounted well with precision and accuracy to be known. It also gives them the assurance that their giving really goes to where they should be used.

3. Giving started well would also inspire others to give willingly. Being a good example commands powerfully more than words do.

(1Chr 29:8) 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.

I could still remember how our former pastor showed us a good model for giving. He gave abundantly and inspire us to give also cheerfully with what we have. He gave not only financially and materially, but his efforts and perseverance as a carpenter (though not his profession) also proved to be a powerful magnet to motivate us to work with to renovate our Church building.

4. Giving gives joy to both the leader and the congregation. True giving, if done rightly, should never be a source of burden but of great joy.

(1Chr 29:9) 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.

The true giving of the leaders brings inspiration and joy to the church – and vice-versa. How good it is to see selfless and sacrificing people of God!

5. Giving inspires us to worship God and remember His goodness in our lives. Every true giving should begin and end in worship and gratitude to God.

(1Chr 29:10-20) Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee… Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. …all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.

The church has many problems in regards to giving – to be more specific, heartfelt giving. But if these simple truths from the Bible be instilled onto our minds and hearts – the Church could experience revival in this area.

Politics, the Prosperity Gospel, and the Christian Servant

What about a founder of a large Christian Church who decides to leave this spiritual leadership so he could serve in the political world of politics?Are Christians (which includes great Christian leaders) the only ones whom God has called to serve as public servants or politicians?I believe, that yes, God could use (as He has done in the past) even the unbelievers for His Kingdom purposes (Take a look in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2). In fact, those whom He raised as politicians (public servants) are more equipped and trained in public service. And about their integrity? I know that there are some few out there whom He has preserved from the corruption of the heart regarding bribery, graft and corruption.
It is a very wrong view that God would not use the unbelievers for political purposes. More often than not, He uses the unbelievers for this purpose. And He calls the Church to influence the society more often through witnessing, having a holy life and getting involved in other social activities, rather than entering politics.

The church, very often, as evidenced in history, is easily corrupted when engaged in the world of politics. It is a wonder to me that many Christians today dream of getting rich, and even preach of getting rich and accumulating material prosperity in this world as a sign of God’s favor and approval. That is one inner motive why Christians enter politics – not really to serve, but to be served and for self-gain. Not all, but most of them.

But that was the opposite of the example of Jesus, the apostles, and the martyrs of the Church. They lived simple lives, the kind of life that looks on the eternal life with God as their inheritance. Their pleasures are fed on God, and not on the material things of this world. I am not against money or being rich, but I despise the passionate desire to be rich, especially among God’s servants. Surely, God has called a few people who will serve in the Kingdom by abundant giving and material resources but they are very few and in God’s design that is not always the case.

The prevailing Gospel today is the Prosperity Gospel (also called the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel), wherein it is taught that a Christian is destined to live a prosperous life – materially in this world as a sign of God’s approval. This is the Laodicean Church, the lukewarm church as portrayed in Revelation 3: 14-22. This Church has prosperity and material riches on the inside, but Christ was outside knocking at the door of their hearts. Take heed.

As a conclusion based on my daily observation in light of God’s Word:

1. Most Christians that enter politics are looking for self-gain and prosperity, inspired and motivated by their strong belief in the Prosperity Gospel.

2. Public service is only their second real agenda.

3. If elected, they will only bring economic prosperity, and not true spiritual progress. This may seem tolerable because as politicians, their primary aim is economic progress and not spiritual progress. My point is that their current thinking will sacrifice the spiritual to give way to the economical.

4. These kind of leaders will only lead the Church to aspire also for financial prosperity, sacrificing their spiritual condition before the Lord. Aiming for money and loving for Jesus could never go hand-on-hand. They will always be against each other.