Three Levels of Giving
One commandment people often fail to obey or adhere to is the commandment to give. What I mean here includes things as offerings, charitable gifts, giving to ministry, etc. I find it odd that we are not more apt to give to those who are genuinely poor seeing that Psalm 41:1 tells us that Yahweh will deliver from trouble the man who gives to the poor. This passage along with several others (Proverbs 19:17; 22:9; 28:27; Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Luke 6:38) teach us it is a noble thing to give to those who are truly in need.
I would like to focus on what I call the three levels of giving. I do not claim that these are the three "sole" levels or that nothing else can be added to my idea, but as I see it there are truly three basic levels of giving.
LEVEL #1: You and everyone else knows of your giving.
This level finds all sorts of people involved in it. Many in Hollywood come to mind, when they give a large sum of money to a specific charity and it is all over the news that they have such a genuine heart. While this level does include an actual giving, the level is poor compared to the other two in that the motive of the giver is not one which is giving to please Yahweh, but giving so that others will praise him and he will be held in high esteem in the eyes of man.
LEVEL #2: You and the receiver of the gift know.
Sometimes this level is difficult to bypass. You see someone in need and you give to them and it remains a secret between you and the receiver. This level is surely above level one, but this level can still at times be implemented by a person who just has to have somebody know of his charitable gift. I am not "brow beating" the person who gives in this way, only pointing out that it is still not the highest level that exists.
LEVEL #3: Only You know.
As I can see it this is truly the highest level of giving. You give in such a way that only you know at the time of the giving, and only you remain to know for you really do want to keep it in secret. You desire no praise from man or anyone else, but are satisfied in the fact that Yahweh knows what you have done, and He is pleased with your act that consists of a pure, selfless motive.
Yeshua the Messiah taught about what we have just discussed in the following passage:
"Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." [Matthew 6:1-4 NLT]
Honoring Your Parents
The fifth commandment directs us to honor our father and mother, and most people take this command to only mean respect, saying "Yes Sir; Yes Ma'am" and the like. I do promote honoring your parents in this fashion. I was raised saying "Sir" and "Ma'am" and to this day have a habit of using this speech when talking to people older than myself. We should respect elder people in general for Leviticus 19:32 says, "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary (grey) head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy Mighty One: I am Yahweh."
I would just like to comment on an overlooked aspect of the commandment in Exodus 20:12, and that is material honor. What I mean is that children are called upon to take care of their parents materially, when they are in need, or when they are elderly and unable to take care of themselves. In other words, if my father needs help mowing his lawn or carrying out the garbage when he's unable to do so, I am under obligation by Almighty Yahweh to honor him by doing these chores for him.
In Matthew 15 we find the Pharisees coming to Yeshua and asking him why His disciples trangressed the tradition of the elders. Yeshua replied by asking them why they transgressed the commandment of Yahweh in order to keep their tradition.
"He (Yeshua) answered them, And why do you break Elohim's commandment because of your tradition? For Elohim said Honor your father an your mother; and, The one who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, Whoever tells his father or mother, Whatever benefit you might have received from me is a gift [committed to the temple] he does not have to honor his father. In this way you have revoked Elohim's word because of your tradition." (Matthew 15:4-6)
Commentator Albert Barnes' gives an excellent exposition on this passage and although it is rather lengthy, I offer it for the sake of clarity:
"It is a gift—In Mark it is “corban.” The word “corban” is a Hebrew word denoting a gift. Here it means a thing dedicated to the service of God, and therefore not to be appropriated to any other use. The Jews were in the habit of making such dedications. They devoted their property to God for sacred uses, as they pleased. In doing this they used the word qaarbaan or korban, or some similar word, saying, this thing is “corban,” i. e., it is a gift to God, or is sacred to him. The law required that when a dedication of this kind was made it should be fulfilled. “Vow and pay unto the Lord your God,” Ps. 76:11. See Deut. 23:21. The law of God required that a son should honor his parent; i. e., among other things, that he should provide for his needs when he was old and in distress. Yet the Jewish teachers said that it was more important for a man to dedicate his property to God than to provide for the needs of his parent.
If he had once devoted his property once said it was “corban,” or a gift to God—it could not be appropriated even to the support of a parent. If a parent was needy and poor, and if he should apply to a son for assistance, and the son should reply, though in anger, “It is devoted to God; this property which you need, and by which you might be profited by me, is “corban”—I have given it to God;” the Jews said the property could not be recalled, and the son was not under obligation to aid a parent with it. He had done a more important thing in giving it to God. The son was free. He could not be required to do anything for his father after that. Thus, he might, in a moment, free himself from the obligation to obey his father or mother...
Besides, the law said that a man should die who cursed his father, i. e., that refused to obey him, or to provide for him, or spoke in anger to him. Yet the Jews said that, though in anger, and in real spite and hatred, a son said to his father, “All that I have which could profit you I have given to God,” he should be free from blame. Thus, the whole law was made void, or of no use, by what appeared to have the appearance of piety. No man, according to their views, was bound to obey the fifth commandment and support an aged and needy parent, if, either from superstition or spite, he chose to give his property to God, that is, to devote it to some religious use.
Our Saviour did not mean to condemn the practice of giving to God, or to religious and charitable objects. The law and the gospel equally required this. Jesus commended even a poor widow that gave all her living, Mark 12:44, but he condemned the practice of giving to God where it interfered with our duty to parents and relations; where it was done to get rid of the duty of aiding them; and where it was done out of a malignant and rebellious spirit, with the semblance of piety, to get clear of doing to earthly parents what God required."
One can easily see that the fifth commandment has reference to much more than just respecting one's parents. Yeshua was rebuking the Pharisees for not giving their gift to their parents. Notice, the gift given to Yahweh by the Pharisees should have gone to the parents as an act of honor. To honor one's parents meant (among other things) to take care of them materially when they are not able to watch after themselves.
Other uses of honor in Scripture supporting material giving are found here:
More on John 3
If you really believe in Holy Scripture, then you know that our faith in Yeshua the Messiah as the Son of and way to the heavenly Father is the exclusive path to the kingdom of heaven. Bluntly put, there is absolutely no other way that anyone is going to receive eternal life outside of faith in Yeshua as Yahweh's Son. Yeshua put it this way:
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." [John 3:14-15]
In this Scriptural account Yeshua was speaking to the man Nicodemus, a ruler of the Judahites (John 3:1). Yeshua even referred to Nicodemus as a "master" of Israel, meaning that he was a teacher of the people of Israel; he knew about the Scriptures. I'm certain that Nicodemus knew of the episode in Numbers 21 concerning the fiery serpents that were sent to bite the people of Israel. When the Israelites became discouraged in the wilderness and complained about being taken away from Egypt and brought into the wilderness, Yahweh sent fiery serpents among the people and much of the people of Israel perished (Numbers 21:4-6). After a request from the people, Moses did pray to Yahweh for the removal of the serpents and Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, "Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it shall live." (Numbers 21:8)
Numbers 21:9 states that Moses did as Yahweh had commanded and those Israelites that obeyed Yahweh by looking upon the serpent lived. This was a condition that had to be obeyed in order for any Israelite who had been bitten to stay alive. It wasn't a might, it was a must. Those Israelites who refused to look at the serpent on the pole would perish, and this is what Yeshua is speaking of in John 3:14-15.
Just as that serpent was lifted upon by Moses in the wilderness, in the same way the Son of man must be lifted up and beheld by the people. Whoever believes in the Son of man will not perish (like those in Israel who did not look at the serpent) but have life eternal. Once again, the two accounts work in the same way. Just as the Israelites had to look at the serpent to "escape" , so also must a person believe in Yeshua to not perish. The teaching of Scriptures is exclusive, not inclusive as many in modern Christendom are promoting. If you truly believe the Bible, then you should not make non-believers feel comfortable about their different faiths or non-faiths. You should be concerned about persuading them (2 Corinthians 5:11) to believe in the person and work of Yeshua the anointed one.
Witnessing About John 3:16
I meet alot of people each week. The business I'm in probably leads me to an average of meeting 8 to 10 people each day. If I follow the Bible's admonition to witness about the truth to others (Isaiah 43:10-13; Acts 1:8; Luke 14:15-24), I must make it a point to speak to others about their eternal destiny, and this includes knowing Yeshua the Messiah, and knowing who He really is and what He really stands for.
One Scripture I use alot in teaching others about Yeshua is John 3:16. I choose this Scripture because it is very well known and often even non church goers can quote it in part and sometimes in whole. After either reading or quoting the verse I ask the people a few questions. "Who loved the world?" The reply: God. "Who did Yahweh (God) give?" The reply: His Son. "Must we believe in His Son according to this verse, in order to have eternal life?" The reply: Yes, that's what it says. This is typically how the conversation goes, and I think that if a conversation goes like this, you are on the right track.
I would like to focus on one singular aspect of John 3:16 now and that is that Yahweh (whom the world generally calls God) gave His Son. Yahweh really did give us His Son. I have pressed this point with many people and up until I get into more detailed specifics people are always in agreement. Yet, when I ask the average church goer if "Jesus is God" they will almost automatically respond, "Yes," or "Absolutely!" Yet at the same time they will confess that "Jesus is the Son of God," or more properly, "Yeshua is the Son of Yahweh". So I then go back to John 3:16 showing them that the text does not say that "God gave God" or that "God gave Himself" but that "Yahweh gave His Son". It's quite plain.
See, many people profess with their mouth that they believe Yeshua to be the Son of Yahweh, but their heart is far from such a belief. They rather stress the issue of what's commonly called the "Deity of Christ" believing that Yeshua's identity is "God". That's where the stress lies with most professing Christians. The stress is not placed on Yeshua being the Son of God, but rather God Himself.
Is that the stress that Yeshua placed on His identity? I do not believe so. Yeshua asked His disciples a question about who He was. Matthew 16:13-18 records the episode for us. He basically stated, "Who do you say that I the Son of man am?" One of Yeshua's disciples was bold enough to answer the question and he (Peter) answered by saying "You are the Messiah the Son of the Living Mighty One (God)." Yeshua responded to Peter's answer by saying that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter, but rather, the Father in heaven. It was the Father in heaven, Yahweh, that revealed to Peter who Yeshua was. I'm going to say here that I do not for one second believe that the Father in heaven was wrong, inaccurate, or trying to pull the wool over the eyes of humanity. Yeshua really is the Son of Yahweh.
Yeshua went on to say that the church would be built upon this foundation, and understanding this is critical. Peter's revelation, for it to be a foundation, had to be the most absolute revelation of who Yeshua was and is. In other words, this was not something partial; you do not build upon a partial foundation. The question had been asked by the Savior Himself, and the answer was given - the complete answer. Yeshua really was Yahweh's Son, not Yahweh. There is a distinct difference in saying:
(2) Son of Yahweh
Statement one includes one party, while statement two includes two parties. Yahweh really did give us His Son. John 3:16 really is telling the truth.
You know, if you buy a new car and you want to know something about the engine you should flip the manual over to the section about the engine. Yes, you might learn something about the engine by reading about the car in general or by reading another section or two that's somewhat related. But the most complete and pertinent information you'll find about the engine is guess where? In the section about the engine of course.
If we want to know who Yeshua is, wouldn't you think the best place to find out would be where He Himself actually asked people the question "Who am I?" Wouldn't you think that this would be the best place to go to find out who He really is or what His identity is? Especially in light of the fact that He applauded Peter for the answer given in Matthew 16?
I hope and pray that people will really believe that Yeshua is the Son of Yahweh. Their eternal destiny depends upon it.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.