It should be patently obvious to all Christians that God wants us to give to, i.e. sow into, His kingdom. We do this through our tithes and offerings. This is not a law or a strict command, rather it’s something we should want to do from our hearts. God seeks those who freely give and do so joyously. Giving shouldn’t be an obligation; it should be something we do because we love God. Our desire to give freely to Him should come from our realization that, as Psalm 50:10, says, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns everything because He made everything. Nothing in this world is ours, even our own bodies. If we own nothing, and He owns everything, what do we lose when we offer a portion of it back? Obviously, not a thing!
All of this makes sense in the current dispensation of the Church Age. We who belong to Christ Jesus should certainly be so grateful for the deliverance He gave us through the free gift of salvation, that we want to bless Him in return. Because he freely died for us, sacrificing everything that we might live, nothing we give back to Him can be too much. He gave us life itself. What is money or the few possessions we harbor in light of eternity in His presence?
King David realized this near the end of his life as he prepared for his son Solomon to build God’s temple. He knew he wasn’t bringing anything from this world with him as he entered the next. In 1 Chronicles 29:3, we see what he says and how this plays out:
“Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God:”
Through his many travails, and in then becoming king, David had acquired great personal wealth. At this stage of his life, he knew it meant nothing. He could have passed it on to Solomon and the rest of his family, but God came first. The Lord had put it on his heart to build the temple, but He also wouldn’t allow David to do so because of the blood he had shed in his life. David had to be satisfied with making all the preparations for Solomon to proceed with the building, but he would never see the end result. What he could do was to freely give of his own treasures to sow into this great work. This is what he did.
For Christians through the ages, many have done the same thing. There are numerous ministries that gladly receive monies bequeathed to them, which use it to further the kingdom of God. Those who give in this manner generally know that their wishes will be carried out. That’s important. When I give to the work of the Lord, will my funds be used in God’s Name to His glory?
That brings up a question that pertains to the end of this age. The Rapture is on the horizon. It is rapidly approaching. Jesus Christ will soon return in the clouds for His Bride. We will be removed from the earth. All that we did or cared for will remain in the hands of those left behind.
And who were these that weren’t Raptured? They were unbelievers. Or, at best, they were those in the church whose hearts didn’t fully desire God. In some manner, their faith was deficient. They may have sat in pews as part of a congregation, but they didn’t love God. Their love was for themselves and this world. God saw this. He knows everything. However it is that He judges the worthiness of someone to be Raptured, these people didn’t make the cut. Likely, they weren’t truly born again. They may have prayed a prayer of salvation, but in their heart, they never surrendered themselves to the only One who could redeem them.
Many such people will undoubtedly be those who work in various ministries dedicated to God and His kingdom – ministries to which many people have left significant funds that the work of Christ in furthering His Gospel might be done.
At the point of being left behind, how will they feel? What will they think? What will be their response to having been – perhaps in their thinking – “abandoned” by God? They have responsibility to steward the monies given to the ministry. What will they do?
Some may repent deeply through the realization of what they didn’t do in their hearts prior to the Rapture. These in large measure will become Tribulation Saints. Surely, they will desire to do what is right in the jobs they hold in superintending the gifts many faithful believers gave for God’s Kingdom to expand.
But, what of those who grow bitter and hardened? You can bet there will be many such people. Those with fiduciary responsibility in these ministries will have a choice. Carry on the purpose of the work, or destroy it for personal gain. When these people act in this manner, they’ll be disobeying the desires of those who trustingly gave, but it’s unlikely these folks will care. Their jobs at these ministries may become a personal bank account.
That’s an ugly scenario, but one I think is realistic given human nature. The question then becomes: Should I at this time – with the soon-coming Rapture – leave a portion of my wealth to any ministries, with the realization that the funds may not be used for their intended purpose?
Frankly, this is a question I’ve asked simply because I tend to consider many aspects of the Rapture, before and after. To this end, I believe that 1 Chronicles 29:17 effectively answers it:
“I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.”
Here, in David’s prayer, he reveals his heart and the character of God. These are the two things that are most important in this scenario. What is in the heart of the giver? It’s similar to the issue of witnessing and salvation. If we are obedient to God and bring the testimony of Jesus Christ to someone, we have done what God requires. How the person responds is not up to us. That is a matter for the Holy Spirit. Either He will convict this person, or He won’t. Regardless, we’ve done the will and work of God. In the same manner, if we give now with a cheerful heart to a ministry that currently acts in accordance with its charter in engaging the world for Christ, and God has laid it on our heart to give to this ministry, then we’ve done our part. We’ve been obedient because we cheerfully gave. What might happen following the Rapture is of no concern. That we leave in God’s capable hands.
God’s character in this situation is the other factor. He is good. He loves us. He is love. He loves blessing His faithful children. If He has given us assets that we can subsequently return in His Name at this time in history, that’s all He requires. I think it’s that simple.
When we sow into the Kingdom, we do so obeying God. End of story. Sometimes we – I – think too deeply about such things. Maybe we – I – shouldn’t spin our wheels when the road ahead is dry and clearly marked.