Read: 1 Timothy 6:6-11 |
Overview – Part 1 of 2
Undercover Boss is an American award winning reality TV series based on the British series by the same name. Each episode features a high-level corporate boss who leaves the comfort of their office and in disguise works a low-level job within their own company. It is interesting to observe what people do and say when they think the boss is not watching.
At the end of the show, the boss calls in pre-selected employees to the corporate headquarters and reveals their true identity. Based on the boss’s undercover observations, these hardworking employees are rewarded with a promotion, financial rewards, training or better working conditions. Invariably, the boss also gains invaluable insight into how the front-line staff translates and acts on the directives sent from the corporate office.
Spiritually, our spiritual boss, God, is outside of our physical eyesight – but never undercover. The Lord tells us to deny ourselves, take up His cross, and follow Him. [Matthew 16:24; Matthew 22:37-39]
Our omnipresent Boss hears our thoughts and watches our actions and reactions to His commands. He knows our hearts. He calls us by name and rewards us as we seek and follow His will. [Matthew 6:2-4; Matthew 5:19-20]
Recognizing that God is watching us, knowing the right thing to do and doing it is our daily challenge. Handling our money and being a good steward is one of the most challenging areas of a believer’s life. Stewardship of our finances often comes with challenges and roadblocks on what to do especially when it comes to giving an offering to the Church.
To give or not to give, is a question we each face. When inclined “not” to give, our reasons can range from the simple to the sublime. Sometimes we outgrow the reason(s) and other times the reason(s) become entrenched in our lifestyle.
This series will focus on “Ten Reasons Believers do not give an Offering”. For this series, a Church offering can be a “Free-will Gift”, “Free-will Tithe”, “Grace Gift” or any of the common phrases used including “Tithe”.
The list of reasons are derived from several books/articles, Pastoral Surveys and leveraging my last fourteen years teaching on the subject of Financial Stewardship. The goal is to compare and contrast the rationale behind each reason and correlate these reasons with Bible teaching.
God does not dictate our actions whether we are a Believer or not. We have free will. We can choose to love our neighbor as ourselves or not. We can pray daily or not at all. We can give of our time, talent or treasure as an offering to God or choose not to give.
In fact, the trend is that the “will” of many of the younger generation of believers to obey and seek God is declining. The most recent Pew Research Center survey in the United States shows that with the exception of Evangelical Protestants, millions in the U.S. are losing faith in Christianity. [Evangelicals hold steady amid U.S. faith decline, by Daniel James Devine]
As they lose faith, naturally, their personal bias to follow God’s will to “give” in support of the ministry also falls by the wayside especially when compared to their other needs and desires. [Galatians 6:6] Similarly, the following partial list of reasons focus on a typical response for not giving — lack of money.
1. I only have a little to give – Malachi 3:10
2. I don’t have anything to give – Mark 12:41-44
3. I give when I want to give – Nehemiah 13:10-13
4. I give elsewhere – I Timothy 5:8
In this set of reasons, their free-will trumps God’s will. Given their limited resources, maybe they can think of a better use for the money than “giving it away” as an offering to the Church. I wonder what our omnipresent Boss thinks of these reasons.
- I don’t believe the Tithe is Biblical for the New Testament Church
- I’m afraid to trust God with my offering
- I don’t know where the money is going
- I don’t agree with where the money is going
- I don’t trust the Preacher
- I think the Church is always begging for money
- I give elsewhere
- I give when I want to give
- I only have a little to give
- I don’t have anything to give
1. Discover –
A. Before you were a Christian, what did you think about Churches asking for offerings?
B. Since you became a Christian, do you have any personal biases that still trouble you? If so, share them here as a group discussion.
2. Develop –
A. If you give a Church offering, what motivates you to give? If you don’t, what stops you from giving?
B. Knowing that God is watching sometimes keeps me in check. How does knowing that God is watching impact your decision to give or not to give?
3. Demonstrate –
A. Share an example of a personal bias towards God and money that you were able to overcome.
B. If you give regularly as a part of worship, share how God meets your needs.