Year End Giving — God Owns It All

“A lack of generosity refuses to acknowledge that your assets are not really yours, but God’s.”

Timothy Keller 
(Pastor and Author)

Dear IBCB Family and Friends:

Every Tuesday a volunteer comes in to the IBCB office, picks up the counting report from our Counting Team, and puts the financial data from the previous Sunday into our database.  The total amount of cash and coins contributed during Sunday worship is accounted.  Monies given to a designated fund (e.g. missions) is recorded and the names of givers are noted so that they will receive an end of the year tax letter.

This past week as I was working in my study, I heard the volunteer from the other room say, “Here it is again!”  I was puzzled by his comment, so I went into the other room and asked him, “What are you talking about?”  He responded:  “Every month I see the same thing.”  Then he showed me what he was talking about — an anonymous, un-addressed envelope with an amount and a verse reference, Malachi 3:8-10.

The verses say:  Can a person rob God? You indeed are robbing me, but you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and contributions! You are bound for judgment because you are robbing me—this whole nation is guilty.  Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”

I don’t know who turns in this envelope every month but their faithfulness and their gift demonstrates that they understand a fundamental truth:  God owns it all.  They know that everything we have is entrusted to us by God and that he asks us to give back to him 10% as an acknowledgement of our dependence upon him.  Doing so provides “food in my temple” and results in our “blessing.”

On the other hand, withholding our tithes and offerings falsely assumes that what we have belongs to us and overlooks our dependence upon God.  The result is that there is a lack of “food in my temple” and we miss out on God’s “blessing.”  The most damning consequence — we’re guilty of robbing God!

As we approach year end, we’re experiencing a lack of “food in my temple” at IBCB  — our giving is approximately 10% below our expenditures — and as I wrote last week it is having an effect on our ability to respond to all that God has been doing in and through our congregation.  For example, we’re unable to fulfill some special purchase requests from our Praise Team and our Kids Ministry Team because of a lack of “food in my temple.”  It’s also having an effect on our plans for the coming year as we prepare prayerfully our budget for 2018.

So, as we approach the end of the year, please, put God to the test!  As an act of faith, commit to tithing 10% of your income — at least for the last two months of the year — and see how God chooses to bless you.  Consider giving a generous offering to support our EBF Mission Partnership church planters.  Make sure that there’s plenty of “food in my temple” and invite God to “open the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”  Together we’ll celebrate how God blesses us as we seek to be a blessing to one another, our city, and God’s world.

To see how you can contribute to IBCB, please, follow this link. Thank you for being a part of God’s Kingdom work through IBCB.

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