“What is that in your hand?” God asked Moses in Exodus 4:2.
Moses was not sure that what he had was big enough that the Lord could use it. Similarly, we often make excuses when it comes serving God by giving.
When we give, we confer something to another person without compensation. Giving expresses God’s righteousness as 2 Corinthians 9:–11 says.
God’s question to Moses rings out even to us today: do we make excuses when it comes to giving?
We buy phones with air time daily, yet do we tell God that we don’t have anything to support his church? We buy fuel for our motorcycles/cars; how can it be true that we don’t have anything to give?
The story of the minibus
Like putting fuel in a public minibus, giving is a mystery that enables God’s big plan of redeeming humanity to go forward.
We have three characters who play a role in a minibus: the driver, the conductor and the passengers.
- The driver operates the bus in the direction it is supposed to go.
- The conductor collects money from the passengers. This gives the driver confidence that the minibus will get where everybody is going.
In this scenario the minibus is acting as the church, the driver is God, the conductor is the pastor and the passengers are the members.
The pastor and the members both have a role to play in order to meet God’s vision for the church.
One of the jobs that the Lord has entrusted to pastors is to let the members know that giving to support God’s vision is one of the requirements in the church.
It’s hard for the church to move if there is no support. Just like with the minibus, failing to support the church is like depriving the driver – God – of fuel to realize his the vision – the gospel – for the world.
God called us into his vision of making disciples; he is looking for us to give whatever we have to let his mission move.
Giving is part of God’s command of making disciples. Christian giving is God’s activity of grace; it opens doors of blessings in our life (2 Corinthians 8:1–7).
God’s mission depends on the church as his core workers to make disciples. God calls us to be willing to surrender, give and support without receiving anything in return (Philippians 3:8).
The Bible tells us so many examples of people who gave to God regardless of their status:
- In 1 Kings 17:7–16, a widow woman gave her only bread to the prophet Elijah.
- In Mark 12: 41–44, the poor widow gave all she had.
- In 2 Corinthians 8:1–3, the church in Macedonia gave generously despite affliction.
Giving is not an option; it is what all believers should cultivate whether we are rich or not.
Many claim they are poor – they don’t have anything to give.
Is this true? No.
Let me tell you about our friends in Mangochi (new believers from a Muslim background).
They have been taught that God want them to support his work, so they give what God has blessed them with from their garden or field.
Do they give because they have much? No. But they give tomatoes, bananas, cassava, groundnuts, nandolo (pigeon peas) and mangoes.
God did not entrust any of us with an empty jar. When God called you to be part of his vision, he knew that you have something in your jar.
What do you have that God is asking you to give to God’s work? Whatever God is asking you to surrender today, he knows that you have it and you can do it for him.
—A Mennonite World Conference release by Madalitso Kaputa. Madalistso Kaputa is a pastor with the Brethren in Christ Church in Malawi. He gave this sermon at the annual conference of the national church.