Completing the Circle of Blessing
by V. Pope
2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you are becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more strongly and clearly the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (His kindness, His gracious generosity, His undeserved favor and spiritual blessing), [in] that though He was [so very] rich, yet for your sakes He became [so very] poor, in order that by His poverty you might become enriched (abundantly supplied).”
The Apostle Paul shares with the Corinthians in the above verse that they are “becoming progressively acquainted with and recognizing more clearly the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice that the grace of the Lord increased because the Corinthians recognized that though Christ was rich, He became poor that by His poverty they might become rich–or abundantly supplied.
Similar to the Corinthians God wants us to understand and grasp the finished work of Jesus Christ. At the cross, Jesus not only paid our spiritual debt, but He paid our physical debt and our poverty debt. Everything that would or could hold us captive, Jesus took captive through His shed blood. Because of the blood of Jesus we are free from sin, sickness, and poverty. Jesus became poor that we might be abundantly supplied. Now, what does this newfound wealth look like?
It does not look like randomly throwing money at the lusts of our flesh or the lusts of our eye or the pride of life to satisfy our greed. By now we know that money cannot buy righteousness, peace, joy, or love. This newfound wealth looks like we are blessed to be blessing if we follow God’s order with the prerequisite we be willing and obedient. What does this newfound wealth look like? It looks like Deuteronomy 28:1-8 (MSG) “If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all his commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high, high above all the nations of the world. All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God: God’s blessing inside the city, God’s blessing in the country; God’s blessing on your children, the crops of your land . . . 7 God will defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads. 8 God will order a blessing on your barns and workplaces; he’ll bless you in the land that God, your God, is giving you.”
As God reveals the truth, He expects us to do something with it by receiving/ welcoming the truth and walking in it. The blessing circle is completed in this manner. Luke 6:38 says, “38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. In others words, we reap what we sow. Sowing and reaping is not only a natural law in that what we plant, we will also harvest, but it is also a spiritual law. This law of sowing and reaping speaks to God being the God of order. When we look at order, we should view order as connected to obedience. For if we are willing and obedient, we will eat the good of the land according to Isaiah 1:19. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to satisfy our debts in every area of our lives. Jesus took on our poverty; He took on our condition. See through the eyes of grace that as our poverty passed to Christ, Christ’s wealth passed to us. With this image in mind let us give, not randomly but orderly. Below are four different kinds of giving that release the manifestation of the blessing of God on our lives. Each type of giving should be practiced systematically with the right motivation and with the correct understanding of the reward.
Tithes – When you give your tithe (a tenth of your weekly, biweekly or monthly salary) our motivation is obedience—because God said so. Malachi 3:10-12 states, “10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts. The tithe is a divine connector to the blessing. Tithing holds God to His promise to rebuke the devourer. We can expect the blessing to be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue, and conquer. Tithing out of obedience to God’s Word, causes God to rebuke everything that would devour us. God also responds to our obedience by opening the windows of heaven and pouring us out a blessing so great that we do not have room for it.
First Fruits – First Fruits are always the increase of your income as compared to the previous year. The motivation for first fruits is generosity. For example if you receive a $60 raise, then your first paycheck with the $60, you give to the priest in other words the pastor or ministers. Your next paychecks of $60 belong to you. What your first fruits offering says to God that you are not in love with money, but you are simply grateful for God supplying this extra to you. The reward for First Fruits is shown to us in Proverbs 3:9-10—9) Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency [from righteous labors] and with the first fruits of all your income;
10 So shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats shall be overflowing with new wine. First Fruits shows God you are not in love with money. It is an act of honor. First Fruits shows your gratitude to God for the extra blessing He has bestowed upon you. In essence God has been generous to you, and you are generous to God.
Alms – Alms is the only giving not given to God but given to man. Alms is given to people, churches, or ministries because they are in need. The motivation is compassion. It is crucial that when you give alms that you give in secret protecting people’s dignity by not publicizing their poverty. While it may feel like a stroke to your ego to be able to say you gave to someone need, alms is the only giving in which you do not tell anyone. When you do so then, as stated in Matthew 6:4, “thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” The reward for alms giving is reimbursement from God. Proverbs 19:17 says, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” Alms is given to man in secret to protect their dignity in their crisis.
Faith Seed – Your future lies within your faith seed because seed sown in good ground will spring forth and multiply 30, 60, 100 times as many a fold as you dare to believe for. The motivation for the faith seed is Faith and Reward based on Mark 4:3-8. Through the faith seed you can give your way out of poverty and into supernatural debt cancellation. God determines your return or harvest on faith seed giving.
God, through His lovingkindness and tender mercies has established a supernatural blessing system that works based on His Word. God requires that we be willing and obedient to eat the good of this land. We can’t believe for that which you have not heard. Hear the Word of the Lord, God wants to prosper you, He has already done so through His Son Jesus Christ. See the grace available to us to give. See the grace that you are already abundantly supplied in Christ Jesus. Act on the Word and remember God is a God of order. If you take Tithes, First Fruits, Faith Seeds or Alms and mix it up, it is out of order. The blessing circle will be complete as we keep our giving in order. There is grace for it.