When someone says that they cannot afford to give , what they are really saying is that they do not want to give. When people claim they have nothing to share, they are really saying they are too lazy to dig through the multitude of things they own to find things they could part with. The reality of the situation is that for whatever reason, when people claim poverty as the reason they cannot give, they are usually manifesting spiritual apathy which has overtaken them and made them its slave.
In the early chapters of Acts, the believers (many of whom were very poor) wanted to give. Since they did not have tons of money stashed in cookie jars or under their mattresses, they did the only thing they could do which was to sell what they had so they could share with each other. The early believers did not look at their possessions as being their own but as common to all. This simplicity bred spontaneous giving and opened the floodgates to God's blessings on the church.
We live in a culture where it is looked upon as foolish or even ethically wrong to sell things in order to have the means to give. People who do such things are accused of being brainwashed or mentally unstable. It has reached the point where anyone so devoted to their church or ministry that they give more than a token (especially if they are financially afflicted) is looked upon as being wrong.
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
2 Corinthians 8:1, 2
Oh that we would rise up to the level of the Macedonian believers. Oh that we would dare to love enough to liberally give even when in the throes of deep poverty. Oh that we would dispel the darkness and cast down the devilish illogic that leads us to believe that we are too poor to give. Oh that we would refuse to become slaves to the spiritual apathy born of relentless oppression.
If we, as God's people, do not draw a line in the sand and let it be known that no matter what, we will NEVER STOP GIVING, we will be inundated with fears and threats of starvation and homelessness. I speak this to both myself and anyone reading this blog. Unless we take a stand and stop using poverty as a reason for not giving, we will not only become poor but God's people will suffer and be fair game for the enemy to destroy them.
Don't stop, never stop, and refuse to stop giving. No matter how great the trial of affliction you face, no matter how deep the hole you find yourself in, no matter how dire your situation; if you keep the avenues of giving open, you in turn keep open the floodgates of God's great promise found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 available to you.
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
God can and will grant us all sufficiency in all things so we can continue to abound to every good work if we refuse to give into the fear associated with spiritual oppression and the illogic associated with spiritual apathy. May we all rise up to the standard set by the Macedonian believers which is to love enough to give, even when there is little or nothing to give.
I really, really love this blog because I believe it takes a good hard look at what I believe to be a major reason why so many Christians find themselves struggling to pay their bills and being unable to face any financial crisis that hits them. I think that God has let a lot of these people (and no doubt all of them), know exactly what the problem is as well as the solution but they do not like that answer. Instead, they seek the counsel of their pastor or other people whom they consider to be spiritual leaders and who give them "permission" to ignore the Holy Spirit. These people basically tell them, "It's okay to not give if you cannot afford it." or they will tell them they can give their time instead of giving. Neither of these things are substantiated by scripture. How can we possibly give our "time" to God in lieu of financial giving when we are supposed to be doing both?
When my husband lost his job in 2012, we took a good hard look at our finances and our budget. We cut out non-essentials and looked for ways to reduce the essentials like food. There was one thing on our list that was "hands-off". We did not reduce the percentage of our tithe and we did not reduce the amount we gave in offerings to our church and another ministry we support. As far as we are concerned, that is God's money, not ours and we have no business touching it except to disperse as He has directed. Quite bluntly, to take it and spend it to pay one of my bills or spend it on myself, for whatever reason, would be theft. I have gone down that road before and I do NOT want to go there again!
If we truly believe that God provides us, He can surely provide the means for us to give as He has instructed us to give. The problem comes about when we either do not do what God told us to do and/or we do not properly manage what God has given to us for our use. We spend money on "stuff" we want or doing things we want to do and then we do not have money to pay our mortgage, buy groceries...or make the minimum payment on our credit card so we help ourselves to what is God's and tell ourselves it is "okay".