Don't use COVID-19 as an excuse not to give offerings and tithes - Rev. Owiredu
Christians have been admonished not to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse not to give their offerings and tithes to the church.
This is because Christian believers have the responsibility to give to support the work of God at all times, be it good or bad.
In a sermon today [Sunday, April 19, 2020] titled: "Understanding the place of giving in times of global pandemic," the Head Pastor of the Sakumono branch of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), Rev. Bright Owiredu, said since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, many Christians have refused to give their offerings and tithes to the church, citing economic difficulties.
But he said whether there is a crisis or not, God is counting on us (Christians) to give to support His work and that "it is our responsibility as the people of God to give in support of the Kingdom."
The widow's story
Basing his sermon on an incident that happened between Prophet Elijah and a certain widow in First Kings chapter seventeen versus eight to sixteen (IKings 17:8-16), Rev. Owiredu said God directed Prophet Elijah to a widow's house for her to feed him at a time the widow had little to eat with her child.
He explained that when the prophet of God got to the widow's house, he instructed her to prepare a meal for him to eat first before she and her child could eat, although the food the prophet of God was demanding was the last food the widow had in her house at a time of a great famine.
He said when the widow obeyed the prophet of God and prepared her last food for him, she never lacked food throughout the famine because God blessed her for her giving.
Attacks on church
Rev. Owiredu expressed the worry that any church or pastor who speaks on giving during this time of coronavirus pandemic receives the bashing of the public for being insensitive.
He said "the church has come under serious attack as far as giving is concerned."
"The world is demanding from the church to give to the poor. The world is demanding that the church contributes its quota to supporting the government. The world is also demanding that this the time for the church to sort of, extend its benevolence to all people from all walks of life and I believe all these are laudable," he explained.
According to Rev. Owiredu, although it is one of the key responsibilities of the church to give, the challenge "we have is that in times like this, believers find it difficult to give because the attention and focus is on how to keep the little we have for our own survival and that of our families."
He said the same God "who is keeping us safe in this pandemic is asking us also to give", pointing out that "As people of God, we should not be moved by what the world says but what the Bible says."
He preached that Christians ought not to allow the world to dictate their lives for them, saying "If we are not careful, we will allow the economy to dictate how we give as people of God."
Rev. Owiredu said "Since the church was asked not to meet because of the social distancing, many of us have not given our offerings; we have not given our tithes and any pastor or church that will speak on giving is, the whole world will come against that particular Minister or that man of God."
"But you see, we as as people of God must not be moved by what the world says, we must be moved by the word of God."
He noted that what the widow in prophet Elijah's story did would not have made sense in today's world, particularly during this coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, Christians should not only give when things are good but must give even when things are bad.
Rev. Owiredu said "the more I give as a believer, the more I become blessed," stressing on Luke 6:38, he said "there is more blessings in giving than receiving."
He said the Elijah's story was written for the learning of today's Christian to learn how to give in difficult times.