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Pastoral 2014

Church Building Fund

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On 20th January 2013, I wrote at the end of my pastoral exhortation in the church bulletin: “Our need for more space is acute. So we must pray for God’s provision to acquire a larger space for our increasing ministries. I call on the church to pray for and work towards a Building Fund of 5 million dollars by 2015. ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want’ (Psalm 23:1).”

Though all of us have become aware of our need for a more spacious Church Resource Centre and consequently the Building Fund, our giving has been simultaneously directed to several other urgent fundraising to which we have already been committed, such as Missionary Conference Fund (S$45,993.15), Ethiopian Van Fund (S$101,122.90), Ethiopian Borewell Fund (S$22,300), The Philippines Relief Fund - Typhoon Haiyan (S$59,429.43), etc. Nonetheless, by the grace of God, through the generous giving of our people, the Church Building Fund has been slowly but steadily growing.

The present Church Building Fund of S$353, 837.50 is only about 7 percent of the target sum. In about 16 months, we must pray that the LORD will multiply this sum a hundredfold. The LORD, who has helped us hitherto in exceedingly abundant and wondrous ways, shall be our Help.

It is very encouraging that many of you have been writing notes of thanksgiving, faith and encouragement, coupled with your love-gifts. I am profoundly thankful that you have taken time to write edifying notes (though I would also like you to exercise caution to avoid biblically unsound quotes).

Recently, I heard testimonies of children, youths and adults who have been working extra hard to earn some “income”and give to the Building Fund. Some have given substantial portions of their savings. Some others are attempting to sell some of their collections, handcrafts, self-made outfit, accessories, bags, used goods, etc. via the Internet. They are giving all their profits to the LORD. No matter how small the sum they earn, because they have gladly and willingly dedicated all or most of their earnings to the LORD, He will certainly honour their giving. They give because they are assured of the worthiness of the cause to which they give, as well as the honour that they have in “co-labouring” with the LORD. We praise the LORD that He will not despise His people’s sincere and obedient acts of faith and love.

Let us continually pray for His enabling grace to give our best with a cheerful spirit towards the Church Building Fund. For the last four years, our present Church Resource Centre has been fully utilized. By end 2015, we need to have larger premises to accommodate our growing ministries and the increasing number of members, preachers, staff, etc. Let us pray in faith for God’s leading and provision in this area of our need.

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

 

Wrong Motives for Giving
Prabhudas Koshy

The Bible speaks of wrong motives for giving and the following are some of these in the light of the Biblical instructions. In order that our giving might be acceptable to God, we must eradicate all of these from our heart.

For the Praise of Man

This is one of the worst motives for giving - the desire to be seen by other people. Jesus warns us not to seek recognition from man for our giving because it forfeits any reward that we would receive from God. In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus said, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

For Covering up One’s Greed

Some greedy people want others to think of them as generous people. In order to achieve this end, they deliberately create a facade of sacrificial giving. God hates this heinous plot. His hatred for such giving is clearly demonstrated when He killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the apostles and the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 5:1-11).

God disapproves of any effort to glorify the giver rather than God Himself. Gifts that function as personal advertising are contrary to the will of God. It is especially so when giving is used as a cover-up for one’s greed.

For Securing Salvation and Spiritual Blessings

Lastly, some people give with the hope of earning forgiveness, salvation, etc. The Bible is very clear that salvation and all its accompanying blessings cannot be earned with money or corruptible things. According to Psalm 49:7-8, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever).” Wealth forever comes short of the power necessary to accomplish eternal spiritual blessings. It has always been insufficient, and it will always be. There is no hope that it will ever be sufficient; that by any increase in the amount, man can obtain spiritual blessings.

In 1 Peter 1:18, we are told that “...ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ...”. We can never pay God enough to purchase our salvation. It is audacious and odious to think that we can bargain with God over the price for His salvation and blessings.

Here is a final warning from Job 36:18-19 – “Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will He esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.”

For More Wealth

It is not uncommon today that people give for purely selfish reasons. They give in the hope of getting more from God in return. It is true that God promises to bless those who give sincerely and obediently (Proverbs 3:9-10), but it does not teach us to treat the ministry as a profitable “financial investment programme”. Today, covetous men turn the solemn act of giving to glorify God into a “get-rich-quick” scam. May we keep ourselves from every materialistic notion that is being propagated as a legitimate form of worship. In 1 Timothy 6:5, we are warned to stay away from such men and their schemes. Paul cautions, “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”