A Christian Prepper’s Perspective on Giving- Part 3, by R2

How Does the Lord Value Your Gift?

The Lord does not value the gifts He receives in the same way that man values gifts. The exception perhaps is a mother valuing gifts she has received from her children. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in church during the obligatory sermon on tithing to your church just to see some un-Biblical practice being followed.

Give in Secret

On one occasion, the pastor of the church we attended thought that he would encourage the congregation to give by being an example. He held up the check that he was going to donate to the cause (I don’t even remember what that cause was) and declared that he was starting the offering by giving $100.

The first thing that came to mind was the Lord’s instruction on giving to the poor:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:1-2

When you give, you are not to broadcast what you give. It is between you and the Lord. To be fair, this occurrence was not the norm, but it does happen. At other times, a single person would be made an example of. They might give a significant donation and a building might be named in their honor. Occasionally a person would give with the intention of obtaining that honor in their name or a name of a person they respected. This ought not be done. The Lord is very clear that when you give to the Lord, only you and the Lord should be involved. There will obviously be others who know, because someone has to cash the check or deposit the money, but there should be no recognition or even gossip about the gift. Certainly, there should be no bragging.

Example 1 of How Gift is Valued

So we know what not to do, but how is the gift valued? We learn this from two examples in scripture:

“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

The Lord specifically stated that the widow’s gift had more value than all the others combined. While others gave out of their abundance, her gift was given out of her very life. She had given the Lord her ability to feed and clothe herself. That is not to say that the other’s gift was not valued by the Lord but only that her gift was valued above all the others.

Example 2 of How Gift is Valued

For another example, we can also look to King David himself:

“All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” – 2 Samuel 24:23-24

Here, David has transgressed against the Lord and is required to make a sacrifice. He finds the property as directed by the Lord. This is the threshing floor that will eventually become the Temple site. The owner of the property, Araunah, understands why David is purchasing the property and also offers King David the oxen to sacrifice. David declines the offer because he understands that the sacrifice must cost him. He cannot offer what is not his.

Conclusions About Giving to the Lord

This leads us to two conclusions about giving to the Lord:

  1. It is the giver, not the receiver, who determines the value of the gift.
  2. The gift must be wholly owned by the giver to have any value.

Two men, both giving $100 offering to the Lord are not giving the same thing. One may earn $30,000/year and the other make earn $150,000/year. Which one gave more? Obviously the one who had less. If you think about it, these only make sense. God gave His son as a sacrifice to redeem us from our bondage to sin. As appreciative as we may be, we cannot place a value on that gift; only the Lord can do this.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

The Value of a Gift That Redeems

We have trouble understanding the value of a gift that redeems our own soul. How can we hope to understand the value of a gift that was intended for the whole world? Only the owner of that gift knows how much the gift cost. The whole point of a sacrifice is that it must cost the giver something. It must have some form of loss to the owner that is associated with it. Had David accepted Araunah’s offer, Araunah would have been the one to feel the sacrifice and loss associated with David’s gift. No, a gift to the Lord must be a sacrifice in order to be valued. That value before the Lord is determined by how much the gift cost you, personally.

Remember, the Lord already owns it all. He does not need any material thing that you can easily give Him. The only thing He wants is your heart and whole being.

Applications for Consideration

Let’s consider some applications of the Lord’s valuation, now that we have an understanding of it. How many times have you heard of or seen someone play the lottery and say, “If the Lord will let me win, I’ll donate <some value> of the winnings back to Him”. Even if the Lord were to allow that person to win and they won millions of dollars, donating it entirely to their church or some mission, what do you think the value of that gift to the Lord would be? It would be exactly what that person paid for it, which in most cases is about one dollar. That might be a lot if the person is destitute, but in most cases one dollar is not worth very much.

What about when a person receives an inheritance from a rich uncle or even their own father? Should they pay tithe or offer a portion of it as a gift to the Lord? There is nothing keeping them from doing that, and there is nothing inherently wrong if they do so. But realize that the value of the gift to the Lord is exactly what that gift cost you. If you paid nothing for it, it is worth nothing to the Lord. You cannot get credit for something that other people did.

Four Types of Giving

We’ve now established what is necessary to start giving to the Lord as well as how the Lord values those gifts. Let’s take a look at what the Bible specifically says are acceptable gifts. There are four basic forms of giving outlined.

1) Offering

Leviticus is a great place to learn about offerings to the Lord. Even though we no longer make animal sacrifices at the Temple, the rules set in place are very specific and directly applicable to making any offering of any gift to the Lord.

As previously noted, if the giver wishes to give an offering to the Lord, he must first own the offering.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.” Leviticus 1:2

At the time, wealth was measured in how much livestock you owned. We can easily apply that to ourselves today. Rather than livestock, our culture has accepted the substitute of money, whether printed or not. If you want to bring an offering to the Lord, you do not have to convert your wealth into an oxen or sheep. You simply bring a portion of your abundance. It does not matter if your wealth is denominated in time, treasures, or talents. They are all acceptable offerings. Offerings can also be made for a variety of reasons. In Biblical times, when the Temple sacrifices were operating, a person was often required to make an offering because they had offended the Lord and it was part of the restitution.

Offerings were also made when you just feel that the Lord has laid it upon your heart to do so, and this still applies today. Offerings are typically prompted by the Lord. When you hear of someone saying “I just felt the Lord wanted me to …”, that is an offering.

Remember that to be considered a gift from you, you must meet these criteria:

  1. You must own the gift outright. You can’t give something that belongs to someone else.
  2. To be valued by the Lord, the gift must be a sacrifice. It must cost you something.
  3. You should not be announcing what your gift is to everyone around you.

Not Just Monetary

It is also important to remember that offerings are not just monetary. Are you a carpenter or contractor? Can you donate your skills and time to repair buildings for other believers, especially widows and orphans and those in need? Do you have a sweet voice and a good ear for music? How about leading worship or being the cantor for your group. Are you good at keeping track of money and know how to keep your mouth shut? How about spending your time dealing with church finances or volunteering to help members of your congregation learn how to budget. A sacrifice is more than just a monetary cost to you. It can be a sacrifice of your time, talents, or treasures.

Acceptable Offerings

There are some offerings that are accepted but not valued by the Lord. As previously discussed, offerings that don’t meet these three requirements can be valid offerings, but they are not valued nor credited to you when you make them. If you inherit a large sum of money and give half of it to the Lord, you don’t get credit for that. If you invest that inherited money and give from the increase that you receive from that investment, whether the investment be monetary, physical or otherwise, then you get credit for that portion that comes from the increase.

Intended Purpose

Since an offering comes prompted by the Lord, it can be used for any purpose that the Lord desires. The examples that we see in the bible tends to be toward the upkeep and maintenance of buildings, supporting foreign missions, community outreach and things like that. They tend to be things that are not regularly occurring things, though they can be.

Despised Offerings

There is also a class of offerings that are despised by the Lord. Gain from sinful ventures is not valued at all.

“Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” – Deuteronomy 23:18

This is more than just declaring that prostitutes can not give offerings. That verse tells us that the offering must be honorable. Don’t expect to rob a bank and then get credit with the Lord for giving an offering from the proceeds of the robbery. The Lord despises sin and will not value or even accept an offering that is derived from sin or sinful ventures.

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.” – Matthew 27:3-7

The reason the priests couldn’t put the money into the treasury of the Temple is because of this prohibition of using the proceeds of sin to fund the things of the Lord. The priests knew that was the origin of the 30 pieces of silver because they had participated in that sinful act. We can also learn from this that an apostate believer and any gift that comes from him, is equivalent to a harlot’s wages. The Lord does not respect it.

Video of Unacceptable Offering

I often use this YouTube video to demonstrate an “unacceptable” offering to the Lord. Everything about this short clip screams that is is an abomination unto the Lord. It’s only about three minutes long, but they hit everything that you should not do.

Tomorrow, I cover the other three types of giving to the Lord that are outlined in Scripture. We’ll start with the big one – Tithing. See you then!

See Also:

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  1. Very interesting and well-thought. Thank you for sharing! The section on “despised offerings” brings to mind Saint/Mother Teresa’s alleged penchant for gratefully accepting monetary donations from various dictators, criminals, and murderers. I have the highest respect for her, but this often bothered me. I guess the quoted verse from Deuteronomy applies only to the giver, not the receiver (?)…

    1. What makes you think that you can make up your own rules and have the Lord credit the result to you? Who is the judge of what is good – you or the Lord? The purpose of the article is to show how the Lord has laid out specific rules to worship him through giving.
      The pastor is held to a higher standard than the layman of the church. He has presented himself as a teacher of the Word.

  2. So let’s say a rich uncle left me $1,000,00 (legitimately earned) in his will. According to your interpretation, if I blow it all on fancy cars and expensive vacations or give it all to God honoring ministries, it doesn’t matter to God? Haven’t you taken things just a little too far? I find the rest of your arguments solid, but this seems problematic.

    1. BCM in TX,
      It seems strange because of the indoctrination we have received from an apostate church who focuses only on the money.

      “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

      Our giving shouldn’t be about the money at all. It’s not even about doing good for the poor.

      “For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.” – John 12:8

      Our giving serves two purposes:
      * It teaches us stewardship and direct involvement in the ministry, and
      *It demonstrates our love of the Lord to both us and the Lord
      Since sacrifice is an extremely important part and you don’t demonstrate either of those things without the sacrifice, any “gift” without sacrifice has no value.
      If your uncle “gives” you $1000, you have no sacrifice in the value of that money. If you turn around and give it to a ministry, there is no value in it because it cost you nothing. If your uncle is alive when he gives it to you, it is a sacrifice to him so there may be some value in the gift, especially if you needed the money for some emergency and it met the qualification of caring for your family, but the value is credited to your uncle. If you uncle leaves it to you as part of an inheritance upon his death, it doesn’t even have that value then because it is no longer a sacrifice to him.
      That’s not to say that how you spend the money isn’t important though. If you blow the money and earn no increase on the money, then you would fit the parable of talents and would be the servant who made no increase on the talent entrusted to him by the Master. Obviously, the Master takes a dim view of that because you aren’t being a good steward. If you just turn around and give the money away, how does that meet the criteria needed to have it valued by God? You didn’t earn it (it wasn’t an increase due to you or your efforts) and it cost you nothing. If it cost you nothing, its value is nothing as a gift.
      It is a hard mental habit to break because we have been so indoctrinated by lovers of money in the church. It’s also one of the reasons the vast majority in the church do not see the blessings God bestows upon those who follow his commands and why their lives are in such a mess over debt.

      1. So then if I inherit money, the least I should do if I want to honor God is to put it in the bank, earn some interest, then use that increase for God’s purposes?

        1. BCM,
          There is no tithing or gifting police 🙂
          What you do is between you and the Lord. I suspect given today’s interest rate and the declining dollar that you’d actually lose money by putting it in the bank to earn interest. But a direct reading of the passage would indicate that is an acceptable thing to do as long as you tithe on the increase. I would think that there are better ways to invest the money though. In my case, I made the transition from “working for the man” to self-employed. There were some lean years there and many “inheritance” gifts were directly applied to getting the self-employment up and running. Now, I’m doing pretty well (much better than when I worked for the man). I regularly tithe and give out of my increase and the amounts are far more consistent and larger than they were before. The gifts are also more than just money, because now that I’m self employed, I have much more flexibility on my time and talents. That’s just my case though. Only you and the Lord can determine how best to work your setup.

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