One friend pioneered a church in a small town. There were few who were from Christian background, while many were from other religious background. The pastor faithfully served and had the church gathering in a rented building. Gradually he added furniture and other things needed for church service: pulpit, amplifier, music instruments, chairs…etc. Some became troublemakers, they started a rebellion. Then that group decided to leave the church but said; “We have given tithes and offerings for the past several months. Give us back our money.” Pastor said: “Did you give it to God or to me?” Then Pastor prayed and Lord reminded him of this verse: “From one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.” (Luke 6:29) Pastor called the whole group and said, I will open the church and leave that place. Pick up whatever you want and I will come back in the evening, I will close the doors. In the evening when the pastor went to the church, not a single piece was disturbed or went missing. In fact, they were afraid and did not bother to collect so called their ‘own stuff’.
There was a lot of excitement in Jerusalem church. People sold their possessions and gave it to the Lord. Ananias and Sapphira also sold their property, then with second thought kept a part of proceeds (may be few coins of gold) and gave the rest at the Apostles feet. (Acts 5:1,2) The whole was their own, no one compelled them to sell and give it to the Lord. They wanted to be popular so that people would praise them for their generosity. At the same time, they lacked faith that they were afraid of their future security, hence decided to keep a part. However, Lord punished that both died on the same day.
When something is dedicated to God, it belongs to God. Trying to get back part of it or demanding return is sin against God. Bible warns against rash oaths. (Proverbs 20:25)
Do I promise and give cheerfully and wisely?
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