Don’t Participate in the Sin of Others by Giving Manipulative Offerings

Giving as lead by the Spirit of God is giving as you have decided in the secret place of your heart, to be seen by God and not by men.

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The Sin of Striking the Rock

I was recently in a church service, and a guy who was called a prophet had been invited to speak. He began to call up a certain number of people who could give a certain amount, and make all kinds of promises saying “Surely, if I am truly a prophet and you give this amount in this offering, you will be blessed and prospered as never before and you’ll see it by such-and-such a time…” Sometimes we’ve seen that kind of behavior and we know it’s wrong, but we think “Well, lots of people do that in churches. We live with it. It’s not as bad as ____. It’s better not to focus on that.” For me personally, I would often think “At least he’s not calling down curses on people who don’t give!”

But I the Lord spoke to my heart and said “What he is doing is just as grievous as the sin of adultery. It is not any less harmful.” An adulterous affair can put a real stain on a pastor’s reputation. However, many Christians who would be repulsed by that regularly tolerate manipulation in taking the offering.


“I Know That Was Wrong But Was It Really So Serious?”

When the Lord said that, I immediately realized that what was happening was the same as two other stories in scripture-the story of Moses striking the rock and the story of Saul offering the sacrifice before the prophet came. Later, my mom mentioned the story of Uzzah touching the Ark of the Covenant and I realize how relevant it was as well.

As I’ve read all three of these scriptural stories, I’ve often felt like “OK, I know they were wrong, but why was it really that serious? It seems like God really overreacted in this case. Moses couldn’t enter the promised land? Saul was removed from being king? Uzzah was struck dead? Just for a mistake?”

The Lord was showing me that manipulating people in order to “support the ministry” is the same sin as in these three stories. It is also much more serious from God’s perspective than from a merely human perspective. God wants the church to understand his perspective on this.


Acting in Human Strength Rather Than Trusting The Provision in God’s Voice

Numbers 20:6-12 (NIV) Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

OK, Moses, messed up. But why was it so serious? Moses acted in human strength instead of trusting God to accomplish what he had accomplished by his word. Doing this dishonored the Lord.

The Lord has taught me a lot about provision in the last two years. He has spoken a lot to me through the teaching of Reinhard Hirtler, Bertie Brits, and Michael Van Vlymen on the subject. The common factor that I see again and again in the scriptural stories of God’s provision, is that provision is in God’s voice.

Matthew 4:1-4 (NIV) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Jesus was quoting the Old Testament when he resisted Satan’s temptation to turn the stones into bread. It is significant that of all the things Satan could tempt Jesus with, one of the temptations was to turn rocks into bread instead of relying on the Father’s voice for his provision, just as Moses struck a rock to get water instead of relying on the provision in God’s voice.

If we try to gain the resources for the ministry by striking the rock, we are dishonoring the Lord just as Moses did. Unbelievers blaspheme the name of Christ because of it. When we trust in the Lord’s voice for provision, we honor him as holy.

If the provision in God’s voice isn’t sufficient for what you are doing, then you are doing something God has not called you to do. If God calls you to do something, the provision for it is in his voice.

1 Samuel 13:7-14 (NIV) Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.“What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought theLord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kepttheLord’s command.”

The same thing happened here. Not waiting for the prophet symbolizes not waiting for the voice of the Lord. God has promised provision in his word. There is provision in God’s voice for everything he calls us to. He commands us to wait on him and trust in him. Trying to make that provision happen by manipulating people because we are under pressure is no different than what Saul did when he was under pressure. God treated this very seriously.

2 Samuel 6:1-7 (NIV) David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalahin Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums, and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.TheLord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

Uzzah tried to “steady” the move of God’s glory, to make it work by human effort. He thought it was about to fall apart if he didn’t do something. We could compare this to a situation in which the church is growing. “We need money! The church was growing, we got into this building project and now we are in debt! Let’s get a prophet to come and call 20 people who can give $1000 each and promise them that all heaven will be unleashed on their lives if they do. We can’t let this move of God fall apart.”


They Will All Know Me, From The Least To the Greatest

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NIV) “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, ”declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

I see two legitimate ways to give in the New Covenant. One is giving as the Holy Spirit speaks to you directly. No intermediary. You don’t need an intermediary to tell you what you should give. The other way is to give as you desire to give in your heart, which is in communion with the Father through Christ. Giving under compulsion is illegitimate and is disobedience to God’s command in 2 Corinthians 9:7.

2nd Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14) Giving as lead by the Spirit of God is giving as you have decided in the secret place of your heart, to be seen by God and not by men. (Matthew 6:3) But if you are giving under compulsion, you are not giving as lead by the Spirit. I have resolved to obey the command of God in 2 Corinthians 9:7 and never give if it is under compulsion or manipulation, which is the sin of witchcraft. Refuse to participate in that which dishonors the Lord.

If you are using compulsion to get people to give, you are teaching them NOT to be lead by the Spirit, you are hindering them from walking in communion with God, you are violating the Bride of Christ by usurping the role of God in His people’s lives, and you are opposing the work of the Holy Spirit.

Our friend Brian Hogan and his wife went to Mongolia with another couple when there were only a few Christians in the whole country. Within a few years, they had started a church-planting movement with hundreds of churches, sending more missionaries for every Christian than any other movement in the world. Brian is a church-planting coach training hundreds of church-planters all over the world. God showed him two things that hindered churches from multiplying. The first was that they were making things way too complicated. The second was that they were trying to do things that were the Holy Spirit’s job.

Speaking to Christians about what and how to give is the Holy Spirit’s job. If we try to do the Holy Spirit’s job in human strength because we do not trust and honor Him, we oppose the Holy Spirit’s work. Don’t interfere! What God calls us to is only possible by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It is not possible by merely human effort and devices. We can, and should, encourage and exhort people to give and be generous. Scripture does! We can share opportunities to give. But we must leave the response up to the Holy Spirit.

Many people compromise in this area because they feel the ministry needs money. But what good does it do to have a big ministry and a big church if you no longer have a pure gospel message that teaches people to relate to God through Christ? The leaven works through the whole batch, and then the weakened, polluted form of the gospel that we are left with ends up creating resistance to Christianity and to the true gospel message that comes in power and not in word only.


2 Peter 2

Some days after writing the first part of this, I had a little time to read the Bible and I asked the Lord if he’d like to speak to me through a specific passage today. I saw written in a vision “2 Peter 2.”

I went and read 2nd Peter two. Here are some parts that stood out to me:

2 Peter 2:1-3, 13-14, 17,20-21 (NKJV) But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber…They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children…These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness…For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

These people exploit you by covetousness. They “secretly” bring in destructive heresies. These are teachings that sound good. They sound right. They sound like a way to get your blessing, to get a breakthrough, even to be a good Christian. But these teachings are destructive because they lead Christians away from relating to God through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. And they even believe their own deceptions. Their words are deceptive and are motivated by covetousness, which is wanting what you have. Many ministers who fall to covetousness believe they have good intentions. They believe they need to stabilize the Ark of the Lord’s presence like Uzzah did. But the end is destruction.

Their hearts are trained in covetous practices. This describes many of the manipulative practices commonly used and accepted in order to get people to give more money. These people are wells without water and clouds without rain. They make lots of promises and “prophesies” that aren’t fulfilled, but they have no gospel power.


Don’t Participate In These People’s Sins By Giving In Their Offerings!

Ephesians 5:5-7 (NKJV) For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.Therefore do not be partakers with them.

1 Timothy 5:22 (NKJV) Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

If you let a covetous man (a person motivated by wanting what other people have) deceive you with empty words, you are participating in his sin. According to scripture, he is bringing the way of truth into disrepute, guilty of idolatry, engaging in manipulation which is the sin of witchcraft, and opposing God’s purposes by interfering with the direct relationship between God’s children and the Holy Spirit. Refuse to participate in these sins by refusing to give in response to manipulation or compulsion.

On the other hand, I encourage you to give generously towards good works and participate in the ministry when the minister allows the Holy Spirit to speak to people’s hearts. Encouraging God’s people to give is not compulsion. Sharing opportunities to give is not compulsion. But trying to manipulate the results rather than trusting the Holy Spirit to speak to people is sin.

This article will upset some people. Refusing to give anything in response to manipulation may be one of the fastest ways to receive persecution from the religious. Many Christians will find that where their giving is going will change completely if they do this. However, there is precious fellowship with the Spirit of Christ when you have to suffer outside the camp for conscience’s sake. There is something very special about bearing reproach because of our communion with Jesus Christ. It’s worship…I belong completely to Jesus and if my life is pleasing to Him, it’s all right if other people hate me for it!

2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV) Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Hebrews 13:11-14 (NKJV) For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearingHis reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Go to Heaven Now

Featured Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay


The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Jonathan Brenneman didn't know if God existed when he was a child. Then one day his mom prayed for his hurting back and he felt something like a ball of energy rolling up and down his spine. The pain was gone! Jonathan is now a missionary living in Brazil. He loves to see God touch people tangibly and heal others, just like he was healed.