(Below is a prayer found on the inside of a church in south west London to help the church members remember what is expected of us by Christ):

“Almighty God our Heavenly Father, by your grace in Jesus Christ and in the power of your Holy Spirit, please help me to be prayerfully holy and joyfully obedient to your word and so, as a member of my church, in submission to its leadership, to:

believe and proclaim the gospel that Christ is my loving Saviour and living Lord;

attend regularly my Sunday congregation and appropriate mid-week small group;

contribute my prayer, time and talents to our church life and outreach;

and give sacrificially for the gospel ministry of our church and its mission partners,

in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”

Explore Bible notes, 29/11/2016

There was a man,
They called him mad,
The more he gave,
The more he had.

John Bunyan (1628-1688)

If you give to get you’re not really giving; you’re trading.

Charlie (Tremendous) Jones, writer, speaker

You say, ‘How much should I give?’ God sets the baseline at one-tenth of your income (Leviticus 27:32). Whatever you give beyond that will be determined by three things:

  1. Your ability: ‘Every man shall give what as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which he has given you’ (Deuteronomy 16:17 NKJV).
  2. Your desire to reap: God will ‘…multiply the seed that you have sown…’ (2Corinthians 9:10 NKJV).
  3. Your love: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ (Matthew 22:37 NKJV).

The UCB Word For Today , 5/9/2013

“Give God the first part of every day. Give God the first part of every week. Give God the first portion of your income. Give God the first consideration in every decision. Give God the first place in your life.”

John Maxwell

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what they have done.

Proverbs 19:17 NIV

Dethroning the idol of money: Let’s be honest: For most of us materialism is God’s main rival. But it is possible to get increasingly free of it. Author John Ortberg writes: ‘Sometimes when I am speaking, I try a little exercise in dethroning the idol. I ask people to take out their wallet… It looks like a piece of leather but it’s really the temple of the 21st century. Most people in our day believe that their ability to experience happiness is directly associated with the contents of this little container. This is where the god Mammon lives. We give this little piece of leather the power to make us feel secure, successful, and valuable. It’s very hard for us to surrender control of this little piece of leather. The real issue: Who’s in charge? Are you holding it, or is it holding you? So as a little baby step of surrender, I ask people to hand it over to the person next to them. At this point the attention level in the room goes way up. Then I announce that we are going to take an offering. I encourage people to give with the extravagant generosity they have always wanted to exhibit. Wallets fly back to their original owners fast at this point. Then I invite them to declare today, ‘Enough Day’. What I now have – my home, my job, my possessions, my family, my lifestyle – is enough. I will seek another and better kind of wealth than terminal acquisition.’ Then he tells the audience, ‘Circle today on your calendar. From this day on, your race with the Joneses is over. The Joneses win, but so do you!’

Source: quoted in The UCB Word For Today , 23/12/2009

Years ago, in America, a young lad from a very poor home went to work for a company in New York. His devout mother told him that for every dollar he earned he ought to give 10cents to the church or to charity. He worked hard and as the firm expanded he climbed the ladder of success until he became a partner and then the sole owner of the business. He continued to give away a tenth of his income… As he grew rich he was able to give away two tenths, then four tenths, then half his income. Eventually, having educated his family and making proper provision for them, he was able to live on the interest of his wealth and gave everything else to worthy causes. We may well see the man’s name when we go into our bathroom. He was William Colgate, the manufacturer of soaps and toothpaste.

Wesley Harris

Source: Wesley Harris, 1998, Success is in Giving, Victoria, Australia: Wrightbooks, p.82

Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 NIVUK

“The only time God ever challenges us to test Him in the entire Bible is in the area of tithing! He said in the last half of Malachi 3:10 to “test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

Paul J. Meyer

Paul J. Meyer, Unlocking Your Legacy, 2002, Chicago Illinois, Moody Press, p.144

TAKE my life, and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee:

Take my moments and my days,

Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love;

Take my feet, and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing

Always, only, for my King:

Take my lips, and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,

Not a mite would I withhold;

Take my intellect, and use

Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;

It shall be no longer mine;

Take my heart, it is Thine own;

It shall be Thy royal throne,

Take my love; my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store;

Take myself, and I will be

Ever, only, all, for Thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)

Martin of Tours (AD 316–397) was Bishop of Tours, France, from AD 371. One very cold night, riding on horseback, he passed a beggar. Martin got off his horse, tore his robe in two and gave half of it to the beggar. That night, Martin had a dream in which he saw Jesus wearing the robe that had been torn in two on his shoulders. When asked where it had come from, Jesus replied, ‘My servant Martin gave it to me.’ Jesus said, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

Source: Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year – Alpha

“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give when unasked, through understanding.” – Kahlil Gibran

Upon the arrival of their firstborn son, an ancient king and queen held a banquet to celebrate the momentous and happy event. The elated king and queen invited all the gentry and important people of the land to a great feast at the palace, in honour of the new prince.

Now, as was the custom in those days, whenever a royal son and new heir to the throne was born, the guests would present the child with some kind of golden vessel, as a gift to symbolise prosperity and long life.

Well some of the guests were generous in their giving and they brought along golden jugs and plates and bowls; others were less generous and they brought along golden cups and goblets: still others came who gave grudgingly; and they brought along golden egg cups and even thimbles.

When all of the guests bearing their gifts gathered before the throne, the king made a special announcement: Instead of offering their gifts to his son, the new heir, the king decreed that by way of celebration each guest should take his golden vessel into the royal treasury and fill it to the brim with such diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and other precious stones as each vessel would carry.

And the moral of this little tale is found in the scriptures: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

“What giving again?” I ask in dismay.
“And must I keep giving and giving away?”
“Oh no,” said the angel looking me through,
“Just keep giving till the Master stops giving to you.”

Why does God want me to be generous? Because he wants me to be like him.

A pastor approached a local farmer on the subject of giving to the church. “If you had £500 and I asked you to give half of it to the Lord, would you do it?” asked the pastor. “Sure, I would,” answered the farmer. “And if you owned two head of cattle and I asked you to give one of them to the Lord, would you do it?” asked the pastor again. “Yes, I would!” came the farmer’s determined response. “And if you had two pigs, would you also give one of them to the Lord?” The farmer then looked rather indignant and replied, “Now hang on a minute, Pastor. That’s not fair! You know perfectly well that I have two pigs.”

Hattie May Wiatt, a six-year-old girl, lived near Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia, USA. The Sunday school was very crowded. Russell H. Conwell, the minister, told her that one day they would have buildings big enough to allow everyone to attend. She said, ‘I hope you will. It is so crowded I am afraid to go there alone.’ He replied, ‘When we get the money we will construct one large enough to get all the children in.’

Two years later, in 1886, Hattie May died. After the funeral Hattie’s mother gave the minister a little bag they had found under their daughter’s pillow containing 57 cents in change that she had saved up. Alongside it was a note in her handwriting: ‘To help build bigger so that more children can go to Sunday school.’

The minister changed all the money into pennies and offered each one for sale. He received $250 – and 54 of the cents were given back. The $250 was itself changed into pennies and sold by the newly formed ‘Wiatt Mite Society’. In this way, her 57 cents kept on multiplying.

Twenty-six years later, in a talk entitled, ‘The history of the 57 cents’, the minister explained the results of her 57-cent donation: a church with a membership of over 5,600 people, a hospital where tens of thousands of people had been treated, 80,000 young people going through university, 2,000 people going out to preach the gospel – all this happened ‘because Hattie May Wiatt invested her 57 cents’.

The theme of multiplication runs throughout the Bible. What cannot be achieved by addition, God does by multiplication. You reap what you sow, only many times more. What you give to the Lord, he multiplies.

Nicky Gumbel

Story related by Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year 2020, day 55 – Source: Hattie May Wiatt illustration from Sermon by Russell H Conwell ‘The History of Fifty-Seven Cents’, Sunday morning, December 1, 1912.

Giving And Receiving’

I launched a smile; far out it sailed
On life’s wide troubled sea.
And many more than I could count
Came sailing back to me.

I clasped a hand while whispering,
“The clouds will melt away.”
I felt my life was very blessed
All through the hours that day.

I sent a thought of happiness
Where it was needed sore,
And very soon thereafter, found
Joy adding to my store.

I wisely shared my slender hoard,
Toil-earned coins of gold;
But presently it flowed right back.
Increased a hundredfold.

I helped another climb a hill,
A little thing to do:
And yet it brought a rich reward,
A friendship that was new.

I think each morning when I rise,
Of how I may achieve,
I know by serving I advance,
By giving I receive.

Thomas Gaines

God calls us to be conduits of his grace, not cul-de-sacs!

“The only investments I ever made which have paid constantly increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.”

J. L. Kraft (head of Kraft Cheese)

Giving that keeps on giving: In 1784 Benjamin Franklin wrote the following letter to a man names Benjamin Webb:

“Dear Sir: Your situation grieves me and I send you herewith a banknote for 10 louis d’or [a former French currency]. I do not pretend to give you such a sum; I only lend it to you. When you shall return to your country, you cannot fail of getting into some business that will in time enable you to pay all your debts. In that case, when you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending the sum to him, enjoining him to discharge the debt by a like operation when he shall be able and shall meet with such another opportunity.

I hope it may thus go through many hands before it meets with a knave that will stop its progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money. I am not rich enough to afford much in good works, and so I am obliged to be cunning and make the most of a little.

With best wishes for your future prosperity,

I am, dear sir, you most obedient servant. B. Franklin.”

Source: The Best of Bits & Pieces, 1994, New Jersey: The Economics Press, p.78-80

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.

Proverbs 14:31 NIVUK

Jesus said the widow gave more with her two coins than the rich gave, because they were just tossing God a tip. They kept the big wads in their wallets. But the widow kept nothing back (Mark 12:41:44).

“The yardstick for measuring success would seem to be not how much a man gets as how much he has to give away.”

Conrad N. Hilton (1887-1979), founder of the Hilton hotel chain.

Always give without remembering and receive without forgetting.

Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 21:13 NIV

God’s generosity towards His people should be met by generosity from His people.

“You have not done enough: you have never done enough so long as it is still possible that you have something to contribute.”

Dag Hammarskjöld, statesman and holder of the Nobel Peace Prize

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25 NIV1984

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Anne Frank (1929-1945), World War II holocaust victim and author of The Anne Frank Diary.

“The be all and end all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world.”

B.C. Forbes (1880-1954), Magazine publisher

“Realise that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”

Og Mandino

The greatest return on investment comes from your investing in other people.

When it comes to giving some people will stop at nothing!

God knows we can’t all give the same amount. Jesus honoured a widow for giving her last two coins, saying: ‘Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she… gave everything she had’ (Mark 12:44 CEV). On the other hand, businessman Barnabas ‘sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet’ (Acts 4:37 NIV). The more God blesses you with, the more he holds you accountable for. Jesus said, ‘Much is required from those to whom much is given’ (Luke 12:48 TLB). At offering time, a pastor told his congregation to reach out and grab the wallet or purse of the person sitting in front of them. ‘Now,’ he said, ‘open it up and give as much as you’ve always wanted to give but felt you couldn’t afford!’ The truth is, we’re not all called to give equally but we’re all called to sacrifice equally. That levels the playing field. – Bob Gass

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 13/2/2018

As the collection plate was being passed around the little church an old man looked at his grandson and said, “How much you got on you, son?”

The little boy dug into his pockets, pulled out two coins and replied, “I’ve got 60p – a 50 and a 10.”

“Well, decide which one are you going to give,” said grandpa smiling. “And remember, the Lord loves a cheerful giver!”

As the plate passed by the boy added his coin to the collection. Then his grandpa turned to him and whispered, “How much did you put in, son?”

“I put the 10p in grandpa.”

“But I told you that the Lord loves a cheerful giver!”

“Yes”, said the boy, “and I felt much more cheerful giving the 10p!”

(The grandpa was hoping the lad would up his pledge… how about you, have you upped yours? )

Giving with strings attached is called bargaining.

Give God what’s right, not what’s left.

“I have tithed every dollar God has entrusted to me: And I want to say, if I had not tithed the first dollar I made, I would not have tithed the first million dollars I made.”

John D. Rockefeller, senior.

If you give God the tithe, you’ll enjoy the 90 percent you keep 10 percent more. You’ll also discover that God can do more with the 90 percent than you can do with the 100 percent.

Mark Batterson

“God has given us things not to hold, but to use and share.”

Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

Giving is a virtuous circle.

It’s fine to offer a helping hand but better still to help people to let go of it.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), artist, poet and philosopher

He who gives quickly, gives kindness twice to the needy.

Publilius Syrus (c. 43BC)

Real charity isn’t concerned whether it’s deductible or not.

When you give out of your shortage, it’s like the outgoing tide; it will (eventually) return to you in abundance. The Bible says, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1 NIV1984