Financial Grace Offering Fellowship

---By CK Jen, 2020/03/25

Every Christian community cares for and addresses the matter of the financial grace offering with great attention and many teachings. However, some of these teachings seem to guide people (newly saved or saved for many years) to participate in the financial grace offering based on the financial situation of the church, that is the church's income (saints'offering grace; the total sum should be often publicly announced)) and expenses (the church's needs). The disadvantages of such unbiblical teaching far outweigh the advantages.

The church's financial grace offering (again, the total income needs to be announced often) is according to the following verses (please use the verses below to fellowship with the saints), beginning with their salvation, but please have the wisdom, love and patience of the Lord to not be hasty, nor to impose it as a law, but at the same time not to delay.

1. Genesis 14:19-20:"And he blessed him and said,'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand! And Abram gave him a tenth of everything." No church's needs and expenses are mentioned here.

2. Genesis 28:21-22:"so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you." No church's need and expenses are mentioned here, but there is one condition laid down by Jacob, namely for God to return him to his father's house in peace.

3. Malachi 3:8-9:"Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say,'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you." These two verses show that the curse (the fact that the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were captured by the Gentiles and the people were brought into captivity) was caused by not offering a full tenth to the Lord. These verses make me very alert that the book of Malachi was written after the children of Israel had been kept in captivity for many years. It means that God was not only displeased at that time with the curse imposed on the children of Israel, but that also after many years, He had not forgotten the evil doing of the northern kingdom of Israel and southern kingdom of Judah of not having offered one tenth to God (robbing God). No church's needs and expenses are mentioned here.

4. Mark 12:41-44:"And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.'" No church's need and expenses are mentioned here.

5. Mark 14:8-9:"She (Mary) has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." No church's need and expenses are mentioned here.

The Old Testament teaches that we need to give a tenth of what the Lord has given to us back to Him. The New Testament teaches, not as law, but as grace, that we should give as much as we can, and this may exceed one tenth. This is the income of the church. Exodus 35:21,22 and 29 and 36:3 show us that the offerings were given by the moving of the Spirit and in cooperation with the willing hearts of the people.

The church's expenses are virtually unlimited, because they serve mainly to carry out and strengthen the Lord's testimony on the whole earth. Now, with the outbreak of the new Coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, the financial offering grace of the saints is vastly reduced because the saints cannot easily meet face to face and in large gatherings. The families of the Lord's servants may need other churches to support them, and this situation will become more and more obvious, because many companies will be closed or partially closed. In addition, churches can use their finances to carry out many other beneficial activities for the society.

Yes,the church needs to announce certain expenses:

1. There are expenses incurred during special church meetings and trainings (for example, renting hotel rooms and equipment, the supply of lunch boxes, room and travel costs for the Lord's servants and coworkers, printing of the outlines of the meetings, etc.), which need to be announced. The participating saints should in principle regard this as their own expense and not as a financial offering grace. This is an expense for families beyond their regular 1/10 or more of their financial grace offering.

2. Another example: To buy a big church meeting hall requires a large sum of money which is a large church expenditure. This is indeed a special need which is required to be announced. Saints' financial offering grace in this special case can be included in their regular 1/10 or more financial grace offering. It is necessary to frequently announce to the saints the total of all their offerings and the payments of the church to buy the meeting hall.

Matthew 6:3:"But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."

Based on the teachings of the Bible, the church does not publish any person's financial grace offering, but often needs to publish the total income of the church. Also due to the fact that there can be a rebate in any person's Canadian annual tax submission due to the financial grace offering to the church (~ 1/3 of the amount of financial grace offering offered to the church by that person), there is the need for two or three brothers to open the financial grace offering box and record the offered amount of each person. Before the end of February of each year, the church needs to provide each saint with a written receipt of the total offering grace offered during the entire previous year. These brothers know who these saints are, but they keep this information confidential and never tell others.

Matthew 6:21:"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

In the church life, many saints often think they all love the Lord and love the saints. Therefore, Matthew 6:3 is a reminder to anyone if that is true. Do we love the Lord and the church a lot? The Lord's desire is to raise up pillars of the church, and these pillars need to be taught to exercise the financial grace offering faithfully and also trained to speak such a burden.

The vast majority of the saints are too afraid to teach the grace of 1/10 or more financial offering because they will "stumble" the saints (thus, they will not participate in such a teaching), especially to newly saved people or those who are young in the Lord. Indeed, no saint should "stumble" anyone, but at the same time they do not seem to fear robbing God and being cursed with a curse (Malachi 3:8-9) and letting the saints being served by them be stumbled (they will not obtain the blessing of the Lord nor gain the Lord Himself in this regard). We thank our Lord that the teachings of the Old Testament and the New Testament emphasize the matter of the financial grace offering as something to be done "willingly," not by compulsion, and not according to law. But God's grace and blessings in His life growing in us are according to His own heart's desire which involves our financial grace offering.

The following churches in Macedonia (e.g. the church in Philippi) can serve as examples:

2 Corinthians 8:1:" We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia."

2 Corinthians 8:2:" for in a severe test of affliction , (Example: in Montreal, it seems like a lot of the saints who are here via the PEQ program to immigrate to Canada do not have income but incur many expenses such as tuition fees and living expenses now. However, some of them may still receive some income back in China. Do these saints participate in the financial grace offering to the church in China? Do they regard their family members in Montreal as their home and gain the financial offering grace here? In addition, when the Coronavirus outbreak has continued for a few months, the economic situation of many families will be adversely affected) their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part ."

2 Corinthians 8:3:" For they gave according to their means , as I can testify, and beyond their means , of their own accord,"

2 Corinthians 8:4:"begging us (the apostles), earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints (The offerings were not to help the saints in their own locality, rather the saints in Jerusalem)."

2 Corinthians 8:5:"and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us ."

May the Lord bless His church now concerning the financial grace offering as much as He blessed the churches in Macedonia in the past.

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