Thursday, November 22, 2007

Is the money we send back home (either to family or friends) tithing? Part 2

Tina,
You make me laugh. My mother called me from Washington that the pastor of the church she visited told the members to turn and tell each other that “if you do not give money to this church you are not a member”. I remember too that I was invited to preach in a church in 1990 and a Christian put 5 CFA and the pastor asked her to come and take her money away because it was a disgrace to God. I did rebuke the pastor and never returned to their church. I was invited to preach in another church and the pastor told me to preach on money because “this church does not give”. I accepted but when they called me up I preached on the “Passion of Christ”. His own non believing son who was visiting from the US gave CFA 200,000. They raised more money than they ever raised. When people understand the price the Lord Jesus paid for them on the cross no amount of money that they have will be too much for them to give FOR God. God loves a cheerful giver, so don’t give with a grudging heart.
Notwithstanding, giving to church is not synonymous to giving to God. Yet some people just have a problem with giving to God and to others. I give to people I don’t know and others I know would not pay me back because God is my Rewarder. There are many ways of giving to God. Opening your home to newly arrived to the West for free. I don’t mean this one that we tax people and ask them to contribute for the bills even when they do not work. Or just giving rides to people for free.
Sometimes I laugh when I give an American a ride, after they step out; they take a couple of dollars, and stretch them towards me. I always say “I am not a taxi driver; this is on behalf of God”. Africans and Americans tell me: “keep doing it the day they will kill you, you will learn”. I have never been aggressed or robbed while giving a ride to people since I am in this country. Needless to say I have given rides to more than a hundred people. God has always watched over his promises and I have been saved from many problems and financial difficulties that you can only see and know that” indeed God rewards givers. Are you a giver?
Giving to God is more than just giving to the church and the pastors. Christianity is more than just going to church. It is a life style that paints a caricature of the Good Samaritan; that of loving your neighbor that you see as you love God you don’t see.
My one time neighbor Ali is a Muslim. I am a specialist in Comparative Religions especially Islam and Christianity. So I know the ins and outs of Ali’s Religion. When DFCS seized Ali’s children for a stupid reason, I fought for him; reading his mails and assisting his lawyer with valuable information. As a matter of fact I was the one that directed his lawyer in filing for a certain motion which worked and his kids were given back to him after one year. Ironically Ali told me that Christians are usually not good but you are good. I laugh. That is the way most Christians think of Muslims.
One day I had some visitors from out of state and they wanted to shop. We surprisingly met Ali in the shop and he told us he wanted to give us breakfast and asked the visitors to take anything they wanted from his store. I was surprised how that driving to and fro court, and writing letters to court impacted Ali’s life. I did that because as a creation of God he should not go through what he is going through just because he does not believe like I do.
Tina, giving has many facets and I encourage Christians to explore all. That is how Christianity will shift from sanctimony and perfunctory services to practical Christianity. It is a shameful and wicked thing to be happy alone!
Until then, be a giver and it would surprise you what the Lord can do.

Prince and PA Hamilton Ayuk.

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