Spiritualizing Our Money-Raising Plans

How can we increase the mission offerings or our people?

By J. L. Shaw

One of the greatest problems which we as leaders face today is, How can we increase the mission offerings or our people? We are playing up devices and goals to an amazing extent, in the hope of arousing the people to reach a specified per capita standard. Devices and goals are proper and right, and in their place they serve to good purpose. But our only hope of ultimate success lies in spiritualizing our money-raising plans. We must build up our people spiritually, and instruct them from the word of God concerning the principles of Christian stewardship, which in­volves tithes and offerings.

The divine standard for all our devices and goals should be according "as God hath prospered" us. God meas­ures liberality, not by the amount given, but by the amount which is left. We compare ourselves with other de­nominations in the matter of per capita giving to missions, and feel that we are doing pretty well. But are we warranted in comparing ourselves with the people who do not have this mes­sage? America is spoken of as the richest nation in the world, and her citizens point with pride to the statis­tics showing that we are today worth five hundred billion dollars, and our annual income, taxed and otherwise, is probably one hundred billion dollars. While these may be facts, they but place upon us greater responsibility, for if we had more faith in God, we could turn more of that five hundred billion dollars into the cause of God. Faith in God is our greatest need.

I am convinced that it is not our money that God needs. He needs the hearts of His people. But no man can truly give his heart to God without giving his money also. What does my weekly wage represent? It represents the strength of my mind and my body; it represents a portion of my life. The heart and the treasure are not sepa­rated; where one is, there the other will be also.

There must be just such heart work back of our financial situation. We shall never succeed on any other basis. If a two million dollar gift or windfall should come into our hands right now for the mission treasury, and it was simply a matter of cold hard .cash, I believe it would ruin us. It is not the amount of money, but the amount of spirituality back of it which accom­plishes results.

God wants His people to deal with Him in financial matters in such a way as to give Him a chance to work. He says to His children, If you will obey Me, trust Me, and turn over to Me your tithes and offerings for sacred and holy use, then I will pour you out a blessing in overflowing measure. Note the ex­act words of Scripture:

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now here­with, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts." Mal. 3: 10-12.

The need of the hour is for the church of God to submit to the miracle-working power of God for the accom­plishment of the divine program in supplying both men and means for the finishing of the gospel work. If we will do our part, then God will do His part, and " all nations " will recognize the Source of our prosperity.

I believe the time has come to preach the subject of righteousness by faith from every practical viewpoint, and that the result will be to cause people to have faith in God, to obey Him, and to trust Him to do what. He says. The text in Malachi 3: 10-12 is one of the best texts on the subject of righteous­ness by faith that can be found; for surely it is not a true message of right­eousness by faith which does not cause the people to deal honestly and liber­ally with the Lord in the matter of their means. We recall that sermon by Peter at the time of Pentecost, on the subject of righteousness by faith. As a result of that sermon, the believ­ers were led to sell their possessions and to lay the proceeds at the feet of the disciples.

I believe that the highest spiritual work we can do for our people is to save them from- covetousness and the love of money, which will carry them down to perdition. And as leaders, we must fight this tendency in our own hearts.

Righteousness by faith involves the faith to advance into new territory as fast as God opens the way, by sending on 'more and more workers from the source of supply to fill the urgent need. If we are willing to follow God's pro­gram, making as the basis of our goals and devices the degree of prosperity with which God has blessed us; if we follow the practical principle of right­eousness by faith which leads us to believe God, trust God, and obey Him in all temporal and spiritual affairs, then God will verify His promise to open the windows of heaven, and pour us out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I believe that the hinges are still on the win­dows of heaven, and when we do our part, there will be no lack in spiritual or financial resources.

Again I say, It is not money that God needs; but it is the hearts of His people, who will yield in obedience to His plans, and give Him a chance to demonstrate before all the nations His miracle-working power as a Saviour from sin and as the Ruler and Guide through life.

Washington, D. C.

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By J. L. Shaw

July 1928

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