by pastor david
Proverbs 18:21A “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.”
America has a new obsession. We are now obsessed with saying everything that is on our mind. This is evident from massive protests in the streets to social media. Everyone wants to speak his or her mind and we think everyone else needs to hear it.
I have a news flash for you. Not everything that enters your mind needs to be spoken. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech but where did we get the idea that our puny little thoughts need to be broadcast around the world? What makes our ideas and opinions so important that everyone around us needs to hear them? Also, who told us that our opinions are always right and everyone else is wrong?
As I have been studying the Book of Proverbs, I have been looking specifically for God’s instructions involving the use of the tongue, and to be candid, I have been terribly convicted by what I have read.
For instance, let’s look at a few verses in Proverbs 17.
Nearly every chapter in the Book of Proverbs has similar warnings for each of us to heed. It would be a good spiritual exercise to read the Book of Proverbs looking for exhortations regarding your speech and highlighting them in your Bible. I agree with Will Durant who said, “Talk is cheap because the supply always exceeds the demand. One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say”.
From my exploration of Proverbs, I offer these recommendations regarding our speech and the proper use of our tongues.
1. Say only WHAT needs to be said.
Again, not everything you think needs to proceed from your mouth. (Proverbs 25:11) “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
2. Say only WHAT needs to be said, WHEN it needs to be said.
There are times when something needs to be said but the timing is all-wrong. Wait for the Holy Spirit’s prompting. (Proverbs 15:23) “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is.”
3. Say only WHAT needs to be said, WHEN it needs to be said, and the WAY it needs to be said.
Very often, we ruin what should be said by the way we say it. How something is said is just as important as what is said.
I’m certain you are beginning to get the picture. Surrender your tongue to the control of the Lord Jesus Christ and it will prove to be a benefit and blessing to the Kingdom of God.
May I ask one last question in closing? Why are we so anxious to spout out every opinion and idea that comes to mind but so hesitant to share the Gospel with our unbelieving friends and family members? Why are Jesus and the good news of salvation the only things about which we are reluctant to speak?
Oh God, help us be silent when we should be silent but speak when we should speak.
Second Corinthians 9:7 "God loves a cheerful giver."
Why do we give to the local Church? Why do we give our tithes and offerings to our local church? Well, that is a good question.
•Some might say, “I give because the Bible commands us to give and I want to obey God”.
•Others might say, “In the Covenant I signed when I joined the Church, I promised to give and I always keep my word”.
•Someone might add, “The Church needs the money to operate”.
All of these are valid reasons to give our tithes and offerings to the Lord through our local Church.
•The Bible does command us, in both the Old and New Testaments, to give our tithes and offerings to the Lord. (Malachi 3:8-12 and Matthew 23:23)
•It is also true that in our Church Covenant we promised, “To contribute, as the Lord directs, to the financial support of the Church by the systematic and sacrificial giving of tithes and offerings (1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 9)”.
•Any thinking-person also knows that the local Church needs money to pay for buildings, salaries, programs, insurance, etc.
But, isn’t there something else?
Isn’t there something more than just obligation and pragmatism that drives us to give one tenth of our income to our local church? Or, at least, shouldn’t there be?
In the Book of Exodus we read that God commanded the people of Israel to bring offerings for the building of the Tabernacle, a temporary place of worship. About this we read, “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments” (Exodus 35:21). Note the phrase, “whose heart was stirred”.
Before the story is finished we read that, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do” (Exodus 36:5).
Finally, “The people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done – indeed too much” (Exodus 36:6-7).
Upon reading this Old Testament account, I am immediately reminded of a New Testament passage in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, which reads, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver”. Imagine that – “a cheerful giver”.
•It is one thing to simply obey God with our money but it is quite another thing to give because we delight in doing so.
•It is one thing to give because we made a promise but how much better it is when we look forward to dropping that offering envelope in the box or plate.
•It is one thing to know we are helping to meet the financial needs of the local church; it is something all together different when we experience the joy of being a viable part of the local family of believers and enjoy giving our fair share.
Did you notice the words I used? “Delight” “Look forward” “Joy” “Enjoy”? Do these words describe you as you write that check and worship the Lord with your hard-earned money? Are you a cheerful giver? The word translated, “cheerful” is the Greek word, “hilaros”, which is related to our word, “hilarious”. Are you hilarious as you give your tithes and offerings or are you simply paying a “bill” each pay period?
Yes, I admit that it would be wonderful if the leadership of our Church had to ask you to refrain from giving because we have “too much,” as they did in the Book of Exodus. However, wouldn’t it be better if you gave systematically and sacrificially with an “hilarious” attitude? Wouldn’t you and your Lord, to Whom you are giving, experience much more joy if you were a “cheerful giver”?
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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