Sunday, 25 April 2021
FAITHFUL GIVING
Abraham Verghese

Luke 16 : 10 – 12 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
( For the context read the parable of the dishonest manager or unrighteous steward from verses 1 to 9 )

After giving the parable of the dishonest manager, which has to do with money, Jesus said, “ One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” He goes on to show that the “little thing” is our use of “unrighteous wealth,” or money. If we are faithful in how we use our money to advance His kingdom, the Lord will then entrust “true riches” to us (16:11) which, in the context, are souls. If we want God to entrust us with souls, we begin by proving our faithfulness in what to us is a “big thing,” but to God is a “little thing,” the use of our money. That’s His test. So financial faithfulness, which not only includes giving, but also how we manage all the material goods God has entrusted to us (earnings, spending, savings), should be one of the first lessons we learn in our Christian journey.
Does God need our material offerings ?

Acts 17 : 24 – 25 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” Those words from the Apostle Paul as He proclaimed the gospel on the Areopagus to unbelievers have application to Christians as well. God has NO need of anything from His creatures; the gifts He gives to His people are not for His benefit (see 1 Cor. 12). Yes, we serve Him by exercising our gifts in the context of the church, but not because the Lord lacks anything.

God may not need our gifts, but our fellow Christians do. Truthfully, we need one another. What we lack in ourselves, God helps to provide through the service that other Christians render with their spiritual gifts. But we need to serve others as well, for our gifts and graces are the means by which the Lord provides what others in the church may lack. We are all in this together. Together we give and receive doctrinal instruction so that we may advance to maturity (Eph. 4:11–14). Together we serve and are served by one another so that the body is complete, possessing everything it needs for health and growth (1 Cor. 12). Ultimately, “when each part is working properly” the body of Christ grows so that it builds itself up in love (Eph. 4:15–16).

Love is the greatest Christian virtue (1 Cor. 13:13). If we have been granted God’s love, we must and will shower that love on others. We love other believers in the context of the church, helping to meet their needs, serving one another after the model of Christ. If we are not looking for ways to love and serve other believers, meeting their needs as we are able, we are not fulfilling God’s purpose for His church.

Paul commends the Philippian church by reminding them of how, at the first preaching of the gospel, after he departed from their region (Macedonia), they shared with him in the matter of giving and receiving (Philippians 4:15-16). At that point, they were the only church that took the initiative to send support to Paul. Even when he was still in Macedonia, more than once they sent gifts to him.

 I read about a primitive tribe located in the South American jungles. The most important role within the tribe was the “keeper of the flame.” Fire is a precious commodity to this tribe, and one person in the tribe is entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the flame alive. During the night, the flame-keeper adds wood to the fire. His task is vital.

As we give financially to the Lord’s work, we become keepers of the flame. We help to spread the gospel message – the more substantive need of those who do not yet know the joy of salvation which is available only through and in Christ. As we focus on the needs of others, and give to help meet those needs, we experience joy. Giving revives our concern for people. We meet people’s needs. We assist people in growing spiritually. We enable our church to shine as God’s light in the world. Such privileges fill our hearts with joy.

Prayer
Thank God for His greatest gift to us – His Son.
May the Holy Spirit guide and move us to be ever faithful to actively participate and ever increasingly give from the blessings we have – all of which comes from God .
May the church leaders use givings to the church wisely, prayerfully and responsibly for the glory of God.

班底浸信教会
每日灵粮
星期日 2021年4月25日
标题:忠实的奉献
作者:亞伯拉罕·韋爾蓋塞
翻译:林良億

路16:10-12
10 人在最小的事上忠心,在大事上也忠心;在最小的事上不义,在大事上也不义。
11 倘若你们在不义的钱财上不忠心,谁还把那真实的钱财托付你们呢?
12 倘若你们在别人的东西上不忠心,谁还把你们自己的东西给你们呢?

(关于以上经文的背景,请阅读1至9节:不诚实或不义管家的比喻)

耶稣给了不义管家的比喻,这个比喻与金钱有关,耶稣说:“人在最小的事上忠心,在大事上也忠心;在最小的事上不义,在大事上也不义。” 祂继续表明,“小事”是我们对“不义财富”或金钱的使用。如果我们忠诚地使用我们的钱来发展祂的国度,那么主就会将“真正的财富”托付给我们(16:11),意味着托付人的灵魂。如果我们希望上帝将人的灵魂托付给我们,我们首先要证明我们对“一件大事“的使用,而对上帝而言则是“一件小事”,即是我们对金钱的使用。那是上帝所给的考验。因此,财务上的忠诚,不仅包括奉献,还包括我们如何管理上帝托付给我们的所有物质物品(收入、支出、储蓄),应该是我们在基督徒旅途中学到的第一课。

上帝需要我们的物质奉献吗?

创造宇宙和其中万物的神,既是天地的主,就不住人手所造的殿, 25 也不用人手服侍,好像缺少什么,自己倒将生命、气息、万物赐给万人。

使徒行传17:24-25 “创造宇宙和其中万物的神,既是天地的主,就不住人手所造的殿,也不用人手服侍,好像缺少什么,自己倒将生命、气息、万物赐给万人”。使徒保罗在亚略巴古向非信徒宣讲福音,他所宣讲的也适用于基督徒。上帝不需要祂的受造物给祂任何东西。祂给祂的子民的礼物不是为了祂本身的利益(参林前12)。是的,透过教会,我们使用上帝所给的恩赐来服侍祂,但这不是因为主缺乏任何东西。

上帝可能不需要我们的恩赐,但我们在基督里的同伴却需要。说实话,我们需要彼此。我们自己所缺乏的,上帝通过其他基督徒用属灵恩赐来提供。但是我们也需要服侍别人,因为我们的恩赐是主提供教会所缺乏的。我们荣辱与共。我们在一起给予和接受教义上的指导,以便我们可以在主里成熟(参弗4:11-14)。我们一同服侍,彼此服侍,使上帝的支体完整,拥有健康和成长所需的一切(参林前12)。最终,“全身藉着每一个关节的支持,照着每一个部分适当的功用,互相连接,结合在一起,使基督的身体渐渐成长,以致在爱中建立自己”(弗4:15-16)。

爱是基督徒最大的美德(参林前13:13)。如果我们得到了上帝的爱,我们必须也必定把这爱浇灌在他人身上。我们在教会中, 爱其他的信徒,帮助满足他们的需求,以基督的榜样彼此服侍。如果我们不寻求爱心和服侍其他信徒,想尽办法满足他们的需求,那么我们就无法实现上帝为祂的教会所作的旨意。

保罗赞扬腓立比教会,并提醒他们,在他初传福音,离开马其顿后,他们如何与他分享,特别是在供给和领受的事上。(参腓4:15-16)。那时,他们是唯一主动供应保罗需要的教会。即使他仍在马其顿,他们也不止一次向他发送礼物。

我读过关于位于南美丛林中的原始部落。部落中最重要的角色是“火焰守护者”。对于这个部落来说,火是宝贵的,部落中的一个人负有使火焰燃烧的责任。在夜间,“火焰守护者”向火中添加木材。他的任务至关重要。

当我们在经济上支持主的工作时,我们就成为了一个“火焰守护者”。我们帮助传播福音的信息 , 特别是那些还不了解救赎之乐的人的更实质性的需要,只有在基督里才能得到。当我们专注于及满足他人的需求时并给予帮助时,我们会感到快乐。施予能重振我们对人的关心。我们满足人们的需求时, 我们也是协助人们在灵命上成长。那样我们的教会就像上帝在世上的光一样照亮。这样的特权使我们心中充满喜悦。

祷告:
感谢上帝赐给我们最大的礼物 – 祂的儿子。愿圣灵引导和促使我们永远忠实地积极参与,在上帝的爱护中不断奉献,因为所有的福气都是从上帝而来。愿教会的长老及领导者能够明智、虔诚和负责任地使用教会的奉献,以荣耀神。奉我主耶稣的名祈求的,阿们!