eyewitness

Zzzzzzzzzzz...

Many people would say that's the sound of a church service on any typical Sunday morning. Deadly boring... soapy platitudes... hypocritical denunciations... prudish warnings against anything real and deeply pleasurable... ranks of drowsy worshipers putting in their mandatory time in "God's house" before being released once more to life outside the dim stained glass, behind which they comfortably deposit most of their religion until the next weekend.

If that's Christianity, who wants it?

On the contrary, Christianity is a face-to-face reunion with God. Visit our "Eyewitnesses" section to read how Jesus Christ is wonderfully alive and busy in the world today, bringing people to life. As people believe in him and open their hearts and lives to him, they find that he is undeniably real, powerful, and good. Our earnest hope is that you also will become an eyewitness of his majesty.

hands

Pastor’s Note
When to Let Your Left Hand Know What Your Right Hand Is Doing

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret” (Mat. 6:3).

Sometimes we take our Lord’s words here as the central rule of Christian giving, roughly translated as, “Once you have decided what to give, don’t ever think about it again, because this will only lead to sin.” We think the righteousness Jesus required lies in a carefully maintained ambidextrous ignorance, never considering the purchasing power of the dollars we drop into the offering plate every Sabbath.

This disembowels God’s gift to us of giving back to him. He stands in need of nothing; all things are his (Psa. 51:10-12). He fills up our hands with his good things so that both left and right may adoringly concur to lay our gifts at his feet. “For from him, and through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

Our Lord did speak against the sinful motives and manners of the Pharisees in alms-giving. Don’t give with self-congratulation or ostentation. But whenever God tells us to put off sin, there is always a corresponding goodness to put on. This oxymoronic “self-centered giving” must give way to the God-glorifying, church-building, man-helping, Christian-transforming act it should be.

On Sunday then, when the plate is approaching, should you numb your hand, anesthetize your mind, and forget the value of what you give to the Lord Christ? The answer lies in remembering that the giving of offerings is worship—a biblically-prescribed, distinct act that should take place in the assembly of the saints (Acts 2:43, 1 Cor. 16:1-2). Was the Lord ever pleased with numb, anesthetized, forgetful worship?

Love gives for the beloved what it feels to be precious. The Father set this divine pattern by giving us his own infinitely precious Son, “his inexpressible gift” (2 Cor. 9:15, Rom. 8:32), who likewise “loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). We then give ourselves as living sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ (Rom. 12:1, 2 Cor. 8:5), and in token of our very selves we offer to God spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5, Heb. 13:15, Psa. 50:23). The gifts given and the gifts received are precious, and ought to be felt as such.

Pouring out our treasure on Jesus is our confession of faith lived. By the deed we say, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Php. 3:7-8). Our offerings become worship specifically as we reckon their value but then feel the immeasurably greater value of Jesus Christ as Lord.

In the giving of what is otherwise dear for that which is dearer, love is expressed—but it is also deepened. Here lies the devotional necessity of letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing as the gift is offered. Feel for a moment the costliness of what you hold in your hands, with its purchasing power. Then say as you give, “Dear as this is, Lord Jesus, you are infinitely dearer. You I love; you I trust. With this gift I rest myself, body and soul, in you.”

You have just offered yourself, through your things, as a spiritual sacrifice. This repeated relinquishment really does build your faith and love in Jesus. At such a moment, again coordinate your left hand with your right hand long enough to clap for joy (silently!), for such knowledgeable giving is evidence of God’s saving grace upon you (2 Cor. 8:1, 9:13-14).

 
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