In 2012 God will claim what is His. The fundamentals of giving will be an issue with God, and He will make them an issue with us!
Ananias and Sapphira did not drop dead because they kept back some of the proceeds of their land sale; they dropped dead for lying, for wishing to appear to be as generous as Barnabas and other Christians. They wished to be seen as givers without being as generous as they said they were. They were frauds.
This spiritual condition will be confronted in 2012 because churchanity has produced a generation of people who drop tokens into the offering every week and wish to appear to be kingdom people when they are not.
The level of giving in modern American churches is simply hypocritical. It is a sham to say, Jesus is Lord! Only 4% of American churchgoers give as much as 10% of their increase to God.
To say we are “kingdom people” and not give as much as a tithe to the King is fraudulent! It is both a denial of the kingdom we should be seeking and the Lordship of Jesus we say we are serving. In a season when Jesus is claiming what belongs to Him, we will be called to account for our kingdom culture and economic integrity.
Millions of people moved away from giving sacrificial offerings in favor of a kingdom economic response more consistent with trendy misconceptions of kingdom and ecclesia. The erroneous definition and function of the kingdom has led to a denial of the Lordship of the King!
In business it can be advantageous to study the “best practices” of successful companies to learn how to improve the company in which you work. Even though tithing works and is a “best practice” of God’s kingdom, tithing isn’t on our short list of “best practices” anymore!
Jesus will confront our disgust for giving, a cancer that has eaten away at the Lordship of Jesus and opposes the King in His Kingdom. “You can’t give money to God” is one fundamental lie embedded in many Christians’ presuppositions. Christians have been deeply secularized, so much that they think they are giving money to men, corporations, and organizations, and not to Jesus when they tithe and give offerings.
Every time another leader is exposed as a fraud, Christians buy the lie that all leaders are frauds. The picture painted by the media is that anyone who is a leader in the kingdom should be a pauper or be seen as a thief. It is part of a strategic effort on the part of hell to undermine and destroy leadership in the kingdom in a season of establishing kingdom.
Tithe and offering provides the kingdom economic strength. And, whatever you think about tithing, the truth remains that if tithing were 100% among kingdom people, the Gospel would be making a stronger impact on the nations! If tithing were 100% instead of 4%, the ecclesia would be standing in a totally different position, and the individual Christians within the ecclesia would be experiencing the “all these things shall be added unto you” promise of the King!
Tithing is a Lordship issue, a kingdom issue, a submission and obedience issue, an integrity issue, and a consecration issue. The undeniable fact is this: consistent, systematic, measurable giving works. You can’t beat success! Go ahead and do it! I dare you.
Offering and Kingdom
I hear the choir anthem of those who say that tithing is not New Testament, “Jesus wants everything.” They say we are called to something higher than the Law that we are not under the Law of the Old Testament. Laughable statements when only 4% give as little as 10% to Jesus! Laughable arguments about giving when the money that belongs to God is still in people’s hands, still in their control, still being spent or saved for what you want.
Any study of giving to the needy will uncover a list of directives about how God wants Christians to be givers, and will reveal a stark contrast between the money given to the needy and the money given to Jesus. They are not the same money. Giving a “glass of water” in His Name isn’t sacrificial giving. It a glass of water! If you have set the standard of giving in your spiritual life that low, you would certainly not be embracing tithing and sacrificial giving that characterizes someone “seeking primarily the kingdom of heaven!”
Of course I share many of the concerns about how money is spent and invested by churchanity. I would also point out that much of the media hype about leaders getting rich with offerings is hype, that many of them who are wealthy gained wealth in business as good business men and women, not by stealing money from God! I also find the level of hypocrisy nearly mountaintop in height, that people who do not tithe or give sacrificially cry so loudly about whether or not some leader has a jet or a bigger house than they do. This is the entitlement envy of the spirit of the world; it is not a God-of-abundance kingdom mentality!
Kingdom leaders need to function from a position of strength, and Jesus will make them strong. Every kingdom leader lives a life that demands financial miracles on a weekly basis. And, every kingdom leader needs a lot of money to fulfill the assignment of God upon their lives. Really.
While the Gospel is free, spreading the Gospel is expensive. No, it is very expensive! The kingdom should receive billions of dollars because it must invest billions of dollars to fulfill the assignments of the kingdom.
The Kingdom Shift
Jesus builds His ecclesia. We establish the kingdom. As we make a shift toward establishing kingdom so He can build an ecclesia that displaces the gates of hell, the issue of tithing, offering, and Lordship will become even more important.
The kingdom of heaven established in the earth will have influence and impact upon every aspect of culture. As a kingdom economy is functioning in God’s people, that economy influences and impacts the culture in which it functions. God’s economy functions upon a different dynamic from the kingdoms of this world.
God wants His people to have financial strength and wealth, to possess the land means to own things so that God’s people are the one who can make these things available to God.
For those who deny that tithing is something the ecclesia should be doing, even claiming that preachers who preach it are preaching false doctrine and misleading God’s people for their own gain, stop wasting everybody’s time! Only 4% are tithing anyway, so it is really not a big issue anymore!
About this time of year, millions of Christians will begin receiving a giving statement for the charitable giving of 2011. A little comparison would be in order: if you made $50,000 and didn’t give $5,000 to God, you are not much of a kingdom citizen. If you made $100,000 and didn’t even give God $10,000, you shouldn’t act like Jesus is King. You are playing an Ananias and Sapphira game at the wrong time in history!
The promise of Malachi to Israel is a kingdom promise. The same God who was King of that kingdom is the King of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus came as David’s son to make the kingdom David established an eternal kingdom. Jesus didn’t start another kingdom; He made David’s throne eternal as He promised David He would.
Jesus didn’t substitute church for kingdom because the ecclesia is called together in the kingdom, not called out of the world. When you are born again you don’t enter the ecclesia, you enter the kingdom, and you are called together in assembly from the kingdom. When you are born anew, you can see the kingdom and you are called together in assembly to govern with the power and authority of the kingdom.
Jesus said the woman who poured out anointment worth as much as a year’s income was giving an appropriate gift. The open years of the ecclesia in Acts shows a level of sacrificial giving that was appropriate to the times; they were the last generation to live upon that land before it was turned into a wasteland by the Romans.
Giving is a Lordship issue. We are going to experience a revolutionary revival of the Lordship of Jesus in 2012 that will be characterized by radical, sacrificial hilarious giving.