Key Word:- GIVE
2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
When it comes to communication Ken Dodd is one of my mentors (yes you can have mentors without them knowing about it!). He is a long standing ‘stand up’ comedian who regularly is able to place audiences consistently at the edge of their seats, as they hang on to his every word for hours at a time. Over the years, using comic hyperbole, he has invented his own words to hyper express his feelings. Life or events, for him are not nice, pleasant, cheerful, happy, or even hilarious! No, they are way beyond those common descriptions, they are ‘tattyfilarius.’ Now, believe it or not, this is the attitude that God appreciates about us most when we offer Him our hard earned cash. Yes, God loves a ‘tattyfilarius’ giver!
Now I know that whenever we stray into areas of the wallet and the bank account, we step into some very troubled waters. So today friends, be gracious with me for in my present understanding of scripture, though I see tithing as Biblical, I do not see it as a New Testament practice.
I do believe that we New Testament Christians should give and should give regularly. Those in leadership do need to set budgets and do need to present the needs to whoever benefits from their ministry, and through those same people, should expect those reasonable needs to be met! However, having made sure the people who minister to us are more than well taken care of financially, that our premises are presentable, functional, welcoming and our bank accounts are in the black; then maybe it’s between us and the Lord where we give the rest of our money? ‘Liberalism,’ I hear you shout! Fiscal Disaster for the local church!
Well, it is a bit scary having to rely on God the Holy Spirit about where to give and how much to give isn’t it? Sometimes rules are far better, though friend they are very restrictive, and our lives shouldn’t be restricted, no, they should be ‘tattyfilarius’ , as should be our giving.
The Scriptures tell us that God loves a cheerful giver and it is from this Greek word so translated in the text that we derive our English word 'hilarious'. Now in my mind, even Webster fails to adequately describe the intent of this word hilarious when describing it as “high spirits that may be carried to the point of boisterous conviviality or merriment”. Good grief Charlie brown, no! This Biblical word is much more than that! It is an excessive word and without any restrictions, it’s boundless and even the English translated word ‘hilarious’ is just not large enough to communicate the original Greek words attitude of the both the giver and the giving! It’s excessive you see and therefore no wonder then that Ken Dodd had to invent a comedic word to express his own very excessive emotions. And I suppose now I have introduced two more stumbling words for some of you! Emotion and excessive.
Well, stumble ye not. This is marvelous freedom. God says give, but when you do, make sure you do it with hilarious abandon, being emotional and excessively grateful that I have prospered you with enough faith and means to do so. “I love that” says God. “I just love it!” And in this it is evident that God wants our giving to be a blessing to Him, to us, and to others.
I heave heard of 'reverse tithers.' You know, people who give 90% and keep 10%. That's quite a feat. However, if you are a multi-millionaire then keeping 10% of what you get is still a lot of money to live on isn’t it! Now reverse tithing sounds great, but I know a few billion folk who could live like kings on the retention of less than ½% of some of these salaried reverse tithers! I’m not knocking it folks, just offering some perspective here! It’s not just the mightily rich that can give more than 10%!
As for me, I have purposed to give more than 10% of my gross income to God and presently am by faith often able to do so, on a regular basis. By faith I say because sometimes my faith doesn’t even stretch to that magic figure of 10%! My goal, percentage wise, is to give a whole lot more than the Christian mandatory and yet quite culturally acceptabe 10% of what I get given, back to God. You can be impressed at this if you want or even angered at my openness or maybe even suspicious of my designs and purposes, and no doubt possibly even 'miffed' at my supposed arrogance. But you see, I don't care! This giving is between me and my God and I want to live ‘tattyfilariusly’ in this. I have to do this folks because I have so many reasons to hang on to my money that I am like an alcoholic with it. Once I get a little I want more, but the problem for me is that when I get more, I forget who I am.
Giving ‘tattyfilariusly’ then is not just protectionism on my part though, Oh no! Truth is I do find this a very happy challenge. Be sure that doing it earns us no more points with God and there's no pressure from Him in it, for there is no Biblical mandate for the amount we give this week or next, whatsoever, it's just something I personally purpose to do, it's a 'personal faith challenge' if you will. Hey, and if I never make it sometimes, then that's fine as well! My point is this, I want to live life in a ‘tattyfilarius’ kind of way. Happily abandoned to the grace of God, in this particular grace of giving. Why not join me today?
Listen:- What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-33
Pray: - Lord, help me test You in this ‘tattyfilariusly’ way of giving and then make note to see if I can out give You. Each day I know, I shall ‘tattyfilariusly’ fail in trying to do this. In any event O Lord I want to make You happy in my giving. Yes I do, in Jesus name, amen.