September 17, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
Have you ever wondered about all the things God has done to sustain and keep us each and every day, hour, and second from the time we were born until now? Do we really believe that everything we have is a gift from God (James 1:17)? If we do believe this, have we any idea how many gifts God has provided since we were born? If all of our living depends on God’s love, and He has indeed been gracious, why is giving to God so hard for some of us? According to an Internal Revenue Service analysis, Americans who itemize their deductions give less than 3% of their adjusted gross incomes to church and charity.  The strange thing is, since God provides for everything we have and commands us to give to Him (Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 16:2), why do we think we can rob Him when at the same time we say He knows everything (Malachi 3:8-12)?
A little girl named Hattie Wiatt came to a small Sunday school and asked to go in, but it was explained that there was no room for her. She fell ill in less than two years and slipped away on her little last pilgrimage. No one guessed her strange, little secret until a torn pocketbook with fifty-seven pennies was found beneath her pillow. Wrapped in a scrap of paper was written, “To help build the little Temple bigger so that more children can go to Sunday school.” She saved her pennies for the cause nearest to her heart for two years.
The pastor told the incident to his congregation, and the people began donating for the enlargement. The newspapers published it far and wide, and within five years, those fifty-seven pennies had grown to be $250,000, and today in Philadelphia, can be seen a great church, named The Baptist Temple, seating 3,300; a Temple College with accommodations for more than 1,400 students; a Temple Hospital, and a Temple Sunday school so large that all who wish may come and be comfortable.  It is not what our giving can do but what our giving in God’s hand can become.
Giving blesses God because it demonstrates that a giver recognizes and appreciates the true Giver of everything – God. “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3; NASU)