How would you like to give over one million dollars to God's Work this year? Would you like to have given more last year? Some in God's Church are missing out on tremendous blessings. Read this article and find out how you can be a bigger help to God's Work and receive additional blessings yourself.
"HONEY, LET'S GET those kids in the car or we'll he late for services," Jim called as he crowded his Bible and notebook into his briefcase. Susan grabbed their youngest, ran to the bedroom for the diaper bag and hustled the others out the door. Jim was already in the car — the motor was running. He quickly glanced at his watch as he backed down the drive way. The family was off to keep the Feast of Trumpets. As they neared the hall the traffic got thicker and finally slowed to a snail's pace in the downtown section. Suddenly Jim slammed an open palm against his forehead and gasped in dismay. "Oh, no, we forgot all about the Holy Day offering! What are we going to do? Susan, how much money do you have in your purse?" "About $2. 50... I planned to pay the paper boy tomorrow." "He'll just have to wait. I think I've got about $8.00 in my wallet. Between the two of us we can probably scrape up about $10. I'm afraid that's the best we can do," Jim said sheepishly. By this time they'd reached the hall where services were to be held. As Jim locked the doors of their station wagon, Susan handed him the two one-dollar bills and her change.
Not An Isolated Example
Does the above sound familiar?? Chances are you've experienced the very same thing in times past — maybe even the last Holy Day. For many, many of our brethren, God's commanded Holy Day offerings are an afterthought. Despite repeated admonition to plan ahead, many of us are still caught short these seven times a year. Generally the same individuals are the offenders year in and year out. Brethren of relatively substantial means are often able to only give the most meager, paltry gifts to their Creator. The reason? They simply do not PLAN AHEAD! In this article we will show you tried and proven ways to prepare for the Holy Day offerings. But before we analyze how to go about saving, let's see how to avoid the first serious pitfall.
Be a Cheerful Giver
Anyone of you, given the means, could consistently give huge Holy Day offerings, never be blessed and not even make it into God's Kingdom. HOW?? Through a wrong attitude. God looks on your beast. He's not nearly as interested in a dollars-and-cents figure as He is in what your attitude was as you were saving and as you gave your offering. Notice what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 9:6-7, "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not GRUDGINGLY, or of NECESSITY: for God loveth a CHEERFUL giver." He makes it pretty clear, doesn't he? We're not to be generous with our money out of a feeling of necessity, or to impress someone else or any other impure motive. Instead, our freewill offerings should be from the bottom of the heart, with a stark realization of the crying needs of God's Work. Now let's take a closer look at another phrase in the scripture we just quoted: "... according AS HE PURPOSETH in his heart." What does that mean? Have you ever thought about it? Most read right over these vital, key words. Paul is saying you should give as you "purposed" — as you PLANNED AHEAD! Holy Day offerings aren't to be a hit-or-miss proposition. They're to be planned for, and here's Biblical proof. Now is a perfect time to do something about your lack of planning. The Feast of Tabernacles is now over and there are several months until the next Holy Days. That means we have ample time to KO to work on the problem.
They Are Commanded
The world has a perverted idea of God's approach to offerings. To the average, devout Sunday Church-goer, an offering is tossing your loose change into the basket. It is a totally meaningless act. God on the other hand, looks on offerings as a commanded privilege for all true Christians. He shows clearly in Deuteronomy 16:16-17 that we are to have Holy Day offerings. In Malachi 3:8-9, He labels those without offerings as robbers. In other words, if you ONLY tithe, you are as guilty of breaking the eighth commandment as if you took a .45 automatic, donned a mask and held up a gas station. Brethren, do you realize WHY God is so dogmatic about your having an offering? Is it to burden you down or to abuse you? No! It's so He can pour you out wonderful and fantastic blessings!! It is a literal LAW that the more you give to God, the more He BLESSES you. You're robbing yourself of thrilling rewards — physical and spiritual — if you're lax with offerings.
What To Do
Here's how to solve the problem. First — decide to CHANGE. You need to commit yourself to a course of action. Make up your mind right now that you are going to improve over last year — that you're going to DO BETTER. Unless you decide to act on this article NOW, you will lose weeks, possibly months or even YEARS of valuable, precious time to change. All the while you will be missing out on unredeemable blessings and needed character building. Decree in your mind that lethargy of the past is just that — of the past.
How to Go About It
Now that you've decided to begin acting, what do you do? There are various ways to go about saving for offerings. There are no ironclad, one-two-three rules governing offerings, but there are certain principles which do apply to all. Obviously a farmer cannot set aside money for offerings with the same frequency that a man who draws a weekly paycheck can — but both should still set aside money during the year. The first method applies primarily to those with a regular income — this includes most of you. It is a method many of our ministers use. You set aside a certain amount every paycheck and place it in a savings account as you deposit your check. Virtually no extra time is required since almost any bank offers a savings account service which is rarely more than a few feet from the deposit window. We certainly encourage you to use a savings account, since it is much safer from theft — you have to think before you steal ("borrow") from it! You can even use the same savings account where you have your second tithe — just keep records to indicate the difference.
How Much to Save?
The amount you set aside is totally up to you. God nowhere in the Bible says anything about an amount or percentage for offerings — only "as he is able." Most of us don't think we're "able" to do much. Yet, brethren, we in the United States, Britain and Australia are the most able, the richest people on earth. Let us illustrate. Take the world's population of over 3 billion and reduce it to a small town of 1,000 people. In this imaginary town — the world reduced in exact proportion — there would be roughly 60 Americans. The remainder of the world would be represented by 940 persons. The 60 Americans would receive ONE HALF the income of the ENTIRE town. The remaining 940 would divide the other half. Shocking, isn't it, brethren. Consider honestly your individual blessings as you decide upon the amount you intend to save. You should however, determine a minimum amount to save, making sure you always save that. Some pay periods you might be able to save more — but never drop below your predetermined minimum. One word of caution don't budget an unrealistic amount. Analyze your budget, refer back to Mr. Portune's article on finances in the February, 1968 GOOD NEWS if need be, before you set the amount (reprints are available). But once you've set the amount — stick to it. You will literally be amazed how quickly the amount grows. If a family were able to faithfully put away five dollars per week from the Feast of Tabernacles until Passover, they would accumulate over $110.00! Can you imagine the thrill it would give you to be able to give an offering of that amount. It can be done — WITH A LITTLE PLANNING.
Get the Whole Family Into the Act
Make planning ahead for offerings a family affair. You're never too young to be taught God's way. Get the children a ceramic "piggy" (pardon the expression) bank or a simple glass jar would do. Then really encourage and inspire them to put extra pennies, nickels and dimes in their "savings account." Again you'll be surprised how rapidly small change will add up to dollars. And children also take great delight in giving their offering to God on the Holy Days. Some of our widows and elderly members with very small incomes might also want to adopt this method of saving. Simply place your loose change, say, left over from buying the week's groceries, in a cookie jar or a bank. You might want to save only one denomination of change. For example, perhaps you decide to save dimes. Every time you get a dime in your purse, simply toss it into your offering savings. Obviously we cannot mention all of the countless variations of how to save. The big thing however, is to be planning ahead. Certain ones who are contractors or farmers receive their income in more lump sums. If this is your case, you will probably want to set aside larger amounts — perhaps predetermining a percentage, 1 to 3 or more — when you're able. These are merely guidelines and helps — we cannot legislate how ),on should save.
Every Little Bit Helps
Keep in mind this is a "team effort." Well over 50,000 people kept the Feast this past October. If each person there were able to give ONE extra dollar at each of the seven Holy Days, that would be a $350,000 boost in income from these offerings alone. Can you imagine how much that would accomplish in God's Work? And yet that's less than 2 cents a day! But let's raise our sights a little. What if, through diligent, thorough planning, God were to bless us with an additional $5 per person each Holy Day. That would amount to a mind-staggering ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!! — You can still throw in the $8.00 in your wallet at the time and the $2.50 your wife has! Unbelievable isn't it?? Again, let us reiterate that we're not setting figures or minimums. God doesn't — nor do rile. But certainly you can begin to see the possibilities that planning ahead has. Let's set our goals to give more in the freewill offerings than we did last year. We know from personal experience and from dealing with others that you can't out-give God. Those in the Church receiving the greatest blessing are those who have their hearts in the Work — spiritually, physically as well as financially. Were you able to give more this past Feast than the Feast in 1967? What about the 1966 Feast? Think back, check up on your involvement in the Work. If you're really growing, then God is blessing you yearly, thus enabling you to give more each year than you gave the year before. Brethren, we don't call these matters to your attention just to try to bolster the income of God's Work. It's for your good that we mention them. Many are simply missing out on blessings through drifting along and not looking ahead. Strive to do better. Really work at it and recall God's penetrating words in Malachi 3:8-10, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes arid OFFERINGS. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes [and offerings] into the storehouse, that there may be meat [food] in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not OPEN THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN, and POUR YOU OUT A BLESSING, that there shall not be ROOM ENOUGH TO RECEIVE IT."