Whenever the subject of giving money is mentioned it stirs up something inside us. Did you feel it? It happens to all of us, but intentional givers learn to override this feeling. Perhaps no one understood the practice of intentional giving better than the Apostle Paul. Let’s listen to what he says to the Church at Corinth.
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (1 Corinthians 16:2)
The Apostle Paul discovered is that giving is not primarily about receiving but about responding to what has already been received. Notice he said giving in keeping with your income. The fact is God doesn’t wait until we give for Him to give. He always gives first!
In our text the Apostle Paul challenges the Corinthians to become Intentional givers.
On the first day of every week (every time you get paid) each one (not some) of you should set aside a sum of money (a percentage of money) in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (For the work of the ministry)
I believe that the hope of the world is the local church. It’s the place where I was led to the knowledge of God, where I learned about the Person and work of Christ. It’s where I learned how to pray, how to sing, how to worship, how to love, and how to serve. I met my wife in the church. It’s where I’ve made lifelong friends. This all happened because people gave intentionally and consistently to the local church.
Now, there are primarily two types of giving in the local church.
INTERVENTION GIVING and there’s PREVENTION GIVING. Both are intentional giving. Intervention giving is the kind of giving where somebody is in crisis and you give to help them get out of the crisis. We love this type of giving because it makes us feel good, it’s emotional and measurable. But prevention giving is giving so that a crisis never happen to begin with and in most cases you don’t feel anything and often it’s difficult to measure.
The problem is in our country, we lean more toward intervention than prevention in every area of our lives.
- Take marriage as an example, everyone wants a good marriage but we don’t want do the preventive maintenance; we won’t read the books, attend marriage seminars; we wait until the marriage gets in trouble and all the sudden we want intervention. We want a counselor or our pastor to fix our marriage.
Unfortunately that’s the way we give also. As a culture, we lean toward INTERVENTION giving more so than PREVENTION giving. Intervention giving is in response to an event or circumstance.
- For instance you see pictures of hungry children and your heart is stirred you immediately send money to help resolve that problem.
- The Pastor asks everyone to give to help a family that’s about to lose their home.
This type of giving is essential and I encourage you to continue to do it. Many people depend on this type of giving. However this type of giving is reactionary, eventful, and unsustainable. Intervention giving should be in addition to Prevention giving. No church can continue to exist with INTERVENTION GIVING only.
So, here’s my point today, simply this: that when you tithe on a consistent basis to your church, it’s preventative giving.
But REMEMBER you can’t measure what’s been prevented! Here’s what we can’t measure.
- We can’t measure how many children won’t be taken out of homes, because their Mothers never became a drug addict. Why, because she was apart a women’s group at church and as soon as she started down that path some women came around her and said, we want to pray for you. We want to walk with you through this.
- We can’t measure the number of families that didn’t split apart because they’re in church and they’re listening to biblical principles, being taught in a way that they get it, understand it and can apply it.
- We don’t know how many young ladies won’t become pregnant as teenagers because they receive teaching on abstinence and purity at their local church. You can’t measure it, and it’s not emotional.
Those of you who are percentage givers and give consistently, you just give ten percent off the top, you pay the bills, pay the staff, build the buildings, pay the electricity all of that non- glamorous, non-emotional stuff; you have no idea of the difference you’ve made, because you have prevented the stories from ever being enacted. That’s the power of Prevention Giving.