How does Jesus think we should give?
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” ~JesusSource: Matthew 6:2-4 (ESV)
There are a number of challenges here for us to pay attention to in this section of the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5-7). Jesus changes how we think and act on giving when we listen to Him directly.
This is a good thing since I have spent most of my career raising money for charitable causes. Yikes!
The first imperative of Jesus is that we need to give. Jesus say “when you give”. I should be very generous, even if all I have is a little (see the story of the widow’s mite).
The second imperative is that we need to give to the needy. I am struck that Jesus didn’t say give to the church (synagogue) or government or some other charity. I am not thinking that was inadvertent on the part of Jesus. This challenges us to rethink how we give.
The third is the giving should be a secret and not for the benefit of looking good in front of others. Now that shoots a hole in our whole culture of giving. What, no more shaming at offering time at church?
The fourth is that my reward comes from God directly and not the IRS. I think I and others are of the subtle thinking that when I give, I will benefit, perhaps even directly. Jesus is clear that my reward comes from God and God alone.
History of the Christian Training Center
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In the early 1970’s, Jay and Sally Fesperman had a vision to open a retreat center for businessmen. It was from this desire that they founded the Inn of Last Resort. In the simplest of words – “Life is Relationships” – Jay Fesperman defined the heart of the ministry. Since its inception, “The Inn” has been involved in training and giving counsel to numerous families, pastors and lay people. The “Inn of the Last Resort” aptly alludes to the condition of many people who have found their way to this sanctuary in the rural Smoky Mountains. As word of the ministry spread, our name was revised to Christian Training Center International. Learn more here.
In 1980, Larry and Susan Pons joined the Fespermans in the ministry. Before Jay’s passing in 1992, CTCI had grown to be more global in its influence. Expansion of the ministry’s impact began to reach overseas and has subsequently brought scores of fellow Christians here for training and renewal. During its existence, over 70,000 people from more than 60 nations have come through the doors seeking a deeper reality of God in their lives.
Our prayer and focus has remained the same for years. First, that Jesus be Lord over all, through all and in all. Secondly that healthy, Godly relationships will always be the driving force of this ministry. This is the heartbeat of the ministry that the Lord has given us, and it is one we trust the Lord will continue to lead us in until He returns. Learn more here.