Read: Mark 12:41-44 |
Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a German musical family in 1685. However, when he was ten years old both of his parents passed away within 8 months of each other. In spite of the dire financial status of losing two providers, the young believer faced his challenging circumstances head on. He kept pressing forward. He determined that he would write music – for the glory of God.
By the age of seventeen, he became the organist at his church. Pleased with his progress, they placed him in charge of the entire music ministry.
During his ministry in Weimar, Germany he wrote a new cantata every month. Most of his works have a biblical basis or title (Link). At the beginning of each of his manuscripts, he wrote the letters “J.J.” – Jesu Java (Jesus help me). At the end of each manuscript, he wrote the letters “S.D.G.” – Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God).
Bach, who grew up poor and in extreme hardship, started his young life with nothing to give. Let us explore and compare his experience with those who reason, “I don’t have anything to give” to discover spiritual principles to help us uncover resources that we could offer the Lord.
Reason – I don’t have anything to give!
Zero, nada, zilch, none – I do not have anything. I do not have a job. I live from hour to hour and day to day. I can barely get the food I need for my family. Then I go to Church and I hear the Pastor say that God wants me to give.
Really? Where will it come from? Look, I am not like the widow in that story of the widow’s mite, I need to know something about MY tomorrow. I cannot just give and hope that it all comes together; I have people counting on me.
Have you heard something like that before?
Giving, especially sacrificial giving, can be a hard pill to swallow. It is even tougher if we find ourselves in tough financial times. For those in this group, the constant request for money drives them away from Church. Besides, to them it seems like the Church is doing pretty good without their money anyway!
Spiritually, we each can land on this same opinion at any point in our Christian walk. In fact, giving is against our pre-saved nature. Until we grow in Christ, we cannot imagine giving without getting something back.
As we grow, we learn what God can do with the gifts of our time, talent and treasure. Our giving is valuable to God, not for the amount that we give but for the faith revealed by trusting Him. Giving is impactful in four ways:
Our giving changes us by putting us in tune with God’s will. Our giving brings glory to God by showing that He will multiply what we give (Luke 6:38). Our giving blesses us because He wants us to recognize that He notices our faithfulness. Our giving cements our faith to our experience in Christ by personalizing God’s promises in our lives.
Thus, when you feel like you have nothing to give, take careful inventory. If you truly have nothing, trust Him to open your mind to see your nothingness from His perspective just as J.S. Bach did. Strive to be faithful beyond what you can see and watch what God can do.
- 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. At any point, have you ever felt that you did not have anything to give?
B. When you have known or heard others say this before, what did you think?
2. Develop –
A. If you feel you have no money to give to God, have you tried to offer your time or your talent to your Church?
B. How do you approach what you “do” have to give to God? Is it through prayer or a rote decision?
3. Demonstrate –
A. Faith is required to break the cycle of the feeling of “nothingness”. The birds of the air have nothing, yet God provides for them (Matthew 6:26). Share with a trusted Believer your concerns and ask them to help you pray over your nothingness for a revelation from God.
B. If you formerly held this opinion at any time, share how you were able to break the cycle.