by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
I’ve heard pastors talking about how you can’t “out give” God. This is correct, as He is the one who not only gave His son, Jesus, but would never be in debt if there was a comparison on giving. He richly provides so much for us and I am certain we are still unaware of the many times He has protected and blessed us. I can also see that for our church, people are able to continue to give in their tithes and offering. And I, for one, am encouraged and impressed by how our church is continuing to give. I know
talking about money is always a touchy subject, even in church, but I am truly encouraged by what I see and want to praise all the dedicated members and tithers.
As the moderator for our local Baptist association, I see how the giving has dipped by other churches to the association. I hear from other pastors how COVID-19 has caused a signification drop in their giving because people didn’t know they could mail in their offering and this only turned around when they setup online giving for their church. For others, it didn’t matter because they only gave when they attended church. For
SFCBC, we really didn’t see much of a drop in giving, which also tells me that we are doing well financially, by and large. Praise God! That said, some pastors were informed of online giving that came from overseas, which showed that their online worship service was being viewed internationally.
There’s something else I want to mention. It is how we often call our offerings as donations, due to tax terminology (btw, hopefully you got your taxes submitted on 7/15) but it is really a way to love God in return. In fact, a different pastor mentioned recently that if we don’t give appropriately, we are really stealing from God. This is because in the Old Testament, the tithe literally means, 1/10. In the Chinese translation, it literally says, one tenth. This 1/10 is related to their income, and it could be from their harvest or flocks, which God wanted the firstfruits, as a way for the ancient Israelites
to show their love, thankfulness and devotion to God. It shows up as early as the offerings of Cain and Able, and a few chapters later with Abraham. And before we think that God needs our money, we need to remember that God doesn’t need our money—because nothing is impossible for Him. For God and for us, it is a measure to see what we cherish in our hearts. Is it God or mammon? May it be God! One of the most infamous examples is in Acts 5:1-11 with Ananias and Sapphira, where they lied about the amount they received from the property they sold. Had they told the truth; I do not
see why God would have been upset. Due to their lie, they both lost their lives. Let us be honest with ourselves and to God—for He knows our hearts. Continue to show Him you love Him!
Please also let the church know how we can be assisting you in prayer, encouraging you spiritually, or if you are in financial need during this global battle with COVID-19. This is one of the many reasons for why the church exists! God bless!
我還有其他話要說。由於報稅的慣用語（順便說一句，希望你們已在 7/15 提交報稅表），我們一般將奉獻稱為捐贈，但實際上這是回應神的愛的一種方式。另一位牧師最近提到，如果我們不恰當地奉獻，我們是在對神作偷竊。因為在舊約中，什一奉獻照字面意思是十分之一。在中文翻譯中，也將本意翻譯表達無遺。這十分之一與他們的收入有關，也可能來自收穫或羊群，上帝希望這些果實是初生的，以此作為古代以色列人向上帝表達他們對上帝的愛，感恩和奉獻的一種方式。什一奉獻最早出現在該隱和亞伯的獻祭品上，在後來幾章中亦出現在亞伯拉罕的奉獻中。在認為神需要我們的錢財之前，我們要記住，神並不需要我們的錢財，因為在衪而言，沒有什麼是缺乏的。對神和我們來說，這是一種衡量我們內心所珍惜的表達方式。是神還是「馬門」？願答案是神！最聲名狼藉的例子之一是在《使徒行傳》 5：1-11 中關於亞拿尼亞和撒非喇的故事，他們從所出售財產中獲得的收益撒謊。如果他們說了實話，神是不會發怒的。由於這個謊言，他倆都失去了生命。讓我們對自己和對上帝都能誠實 -- 因為祂知道我們的心。願你繼續向神表達你愛衪！