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We want to tell you further, brethren, about the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which has been evident in churches of Macedonia (arousing in them the desire to give alms).
(2 Cor. 8:1 AMP)
The Scripture says that the favor and the spiritual blessing of God was evident in the churches of Macedonia. So much so that it aroused in them the desire to give alms.

Whenever God's blessing is evident and His power is being displayed, people desire to give. On the other hand, when the anointing is not present, some ministries try to resort to gimmicks to manipulate people into giving.

Have you seen the television program where you are told, "I'll send you a shower cap with the hand of blessing on it. When you put it on, there shall be showers of blessing." Or, "We will send you a piece of the old rugged cross and you will receive the blessings."

Have you ever received their partner appeal letters that say, "Neighbor, as I was praying for you today...," but they don't even know you.

You are just a name that came up on the computer. Do you know the gimmicks coming from the Church are the brainchild of fund-raising agencies and money grabbing people who make merchandise out of God's servants?

Many ministers get hooked up in this trap, but the days of the abuse of mailing lists are over. God's people are either going to be taught how to give through the Word of God or not give at all.

If you are only giving because I have mail coming to you every two weeks and you can stick my face on your fridge, stop giving. If that's the only reason you give, you are giving for the wrong reason and you are never going to see the blessing of God come into your life.

Spirit-Led Giving
You must give because the Word of God and the Spirit of God tell you to give. Spirit-led giving will produce results in your life. You are not to give just because you see a need. You are to give because you are led of God. A person who is truly led by the Holy Spirit will not always go around and let you know what their needs are. The Bible says, let your requests be made known unto God (Phil. 4:6-7).

When I teach in Africa, the African people are amazed at how many people give to my ministry. Somebody told me, "Oh, you know the people in the United Kingdom don't give." I said, "They will if I go there." They asked, "How can you be sure that people will give?" My answer was, "Because I'm going to teach on giving."

This was also the case when I went to Australia. They told me that they had never given any evangelist the amount of money they gave me. They said, "Where did it come from? You never begged, you just taught on giving."

When people are taught the Word of God, they want to obey the Word of God. That is God's way. He doesn't want us to put pressure on anybody. People who give to my ministry are never pressured to give.

Whenever the anointing of God is present, people want to give—they want to be a part of what God is doing. But, the moment the anointing leaves, then there is a need to talk about all the bad news. "Well, a tornado hit our mission in Africa and blew the roof off. We need $10,000 this week."

Then you hear the next time you tune in: "This morning there was a hurricane in Tahiti." After that it's something about an earthquake in Nicaragua. It seems as if some ministries have a different crisis every day, especially the guys on television. You want to ask them, "What disaster are you in today?"

They want me to do as they say, but I wonder why. They seem to be in worse shape than I am. Then they tell me I need a miracle and that if I want to receive my miracle, I must give them "their miracle." Those are all the wrong reasons to give.

Don't Give to Man, Give to God
You should invest in the Gospel. But in the western world, especially in America, everybody has been geared into brick and mortar. They found out that people in the west would rather give to a building than to the lost because they wanted something tangible in exchange for their giving. This is also the wrong motive. That's why people who give in this fashion cannot be blessed.

When you put your finances in the offering, you release them into the Kingdom of God. They do not die in the bucket. You are not giving to man. You are giving directly to God.

If that person abuses that which you have given, God will deal with him. And if you, as a minister of the Gospel, abuse that which God gives you, the first thing that will go is the anointing.

Giving With Abundance of Joy
For in the midst of an ordeal of severe tribulations, their abundance of joy and their depth of poverty (together) have overflowed in wealth of lavish generosity on their part.

For, as I can bear witness, (they gave) according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability; and (they did it) voluntarily.
(2 Cor. 8: 2-3 AMP)
The Church in Macedonia was in the midst of a great trial of affliction. They were living under conditions of severe tribulation. Today in America people think they are living in severe tribulation because gas went up two cents a gallon.

As long as you can get a hamburger for forty-nine cents, you are not living in severe tribulation. When you have to stand in bread lines for four hours, then you can say, "I think this is severe tribulation."

Despite their condition, the Church in Macedonia was in abundance of joy. How can you have abundance of joy in the midst of tribulation? Because joy and happiness are two different things.

Happiness is based on circumstances. Some people have never learned to live with the joy of the Lord bubbling out of their belly. Their happiness is attached to their circumstances. If everything is up, they are up. If everything is down, they are down.

People like that are like puppets on a string manipulated by the circumstances of life. But you can have joy in the midst of adverse circumstances.

They gave out of their own free will. The Church in Macedonia did not need to be manipulated in order to give.

Ministers today need to realize that they are here for the benefit of those they minister to and that the blessings of God will manifest if they serve the Body of Christ.

I want to exhort you in your giving. Mix faith with it and always be reminded to give for the right reason.

Source: Thoughts On Stewardship - Vol. 1
by Rodney Howard-Browne
Excerpt permission granted by R.H.E.B.A. Publishers

Author Biography

Rodney Howard-Browne
Web site: Revival Ministries International
Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne, married since October 1981, spent the early part of their ministry traveling across southern Africa.

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