I realize that the title sounds oxymoronic, but it made me think of it when I read an anecdote.

Once upon a time, there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. So he took it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever grown or ever will grow. Therefore I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.”

The king was touched and discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go the king said, “Wait! You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I own a plot of land right next to yours. I want to give it to you freely as a gift so you can garden it all.” And the gardener was amazed and delighted and went home rejoicing.

But there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this. And he said, “My! If that is what you get for a carrot—what if you gave the king something better?” So the next day the nobleman came before the king, and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My lord, I breed horses, and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or ever will. Therefore I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.”

But the king discerned his heart and said thank you, and took the horse and merely dismissed him. The nobleman was perplexed. So the king said, “Let me explain. That gardener was giving me the carrot, but you were giving yourself the horse.” (Keller, Timothy. The prodigal God: recovering the heart of the Christian faith. NY, NY: Penguin Books, 2016. Kindle)

Reading the anecdote, it made me think that it’s actually possible to give either for the glory of God or the credit of self. I can give with the purpose of personal satisfaction that I may feel good about myself.

In 2 Corinthians 8:2 -5, Paul described the generosity of the church in Corinth. “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord…”

They gave first to the Lord. Our motive and the object of our giving has to be first the Lord. This will keep our generous hearts from being selfish.

This is Mang Simon.

After Yolanda hit (typhoon Haiyan), they’re house was completely destroyed which was why they were relocated to Cebu temporarily.

I met him at Victory Tacloban when I preached last Sunday.

I was introduced to him by Kix Javier, our executive pastor and Lifebox Campus Missionary there.

Mang Simon told me not only their experience during the typhoon but also after the typhoon. When they got to Cebu, they met a family that took them in, shared their blessings to his family, provided for them in the meantime. But more importantly, the Mercado family from Cebu shared Jesus to them.

One Sunday, they invited Mang Simon and his family to church. Since then, they’ve been attending services and when Mang Simon went back to Tacloban, his first order of the day was to locate our church there.

Mang Simon relayed to me how blown away he has been.

“Hindi ako makapaniwala na may ganoong mga tao pa din pala… mapagbigay, maalaga and maka-Diyos.”
(I couldn’t believe that there’s still people like them who were generous, thoughtful and godly.)

He was so touched that he was in tears and gave me a hug after.

You see, it doesn’t have to be Christmas for us to practice generosity. The Mercado family gave out of an overflow… an overflow from their relationship with Jesus.
And as they did, a family has been touched by the gospel.

This is how we take over a city with the gospel of Jesus – one person, one family, one community at a time.


You’re selfish!

And guess what, so am I.

But the more we understand the grace we’ve received, the better we are able to exercise the grace to give. Saving grace overflows into giving grace. Freely we give because freely we have received.

Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to “excel in the grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7)

Now, the first thing that comes to mind when the topic of generosity is mentioned is money. But it’s not just about the money…money…money…

We all know that generosity involves many different facets – TIME, TALENT and TREASURES.

It is actually possible to give without being generous or at least in the spirit and attitude Paul referred it to.

We can give out of convenience – to stop a beggar from bugging us.
We can give out of guilt- because we feel bad about another’s plight.
We can give for self-benefit – to help because there’s a foreseeable return.
We can give for self-promotion – to help us stroke our already bloated ego.

What does it look like to excel in the grace of giving?


In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:2)

Check out this equation:

The normal answer would be anxiety … depression… anger… irritation or even grumbling.

However, the church in Macedonia responded in overflowing joy. Now… that’s grace of God in action!


For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2 Corinthians 8:3a)

We’ve somehow lost the meaning of this word (sacrifice).

We’ve become such a consumer society that what makes us happy has become top priority.

If I get what I want, then I’m happy. But if my expectation does not match my experience, then I’m unhappy.

The church in Macedonia gave sacrificially. Top of mind wasn’t what they would receive but what they are able to give.


“Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.” (2 Corinthians 8:3b-4)

Giving when it’s compulsory is not a joy. However, when it is done from a cheerful and willing heart, then it doesn’t only feel fulfilling but honors God ultimately.

I love what Sir Winston Churchill said…

“We make a living by what we get;
we make a life by what we give.”


I wrote a blog on Tithing yesterday… (click here to read)

Here are a few testimonies that I hope will encourage you.

1. Jay

I started giving my tithes when I was still a student. My allowance that time wasn’t that big but I was in faith that God will increase it. The next month my allowance doubled. Thus, my tithes increased as well. The next month it doubled again. I decided to give more than 10% as an offering and the increase of my monthly allowance didnt stop. I was able to start a small business at 19 yrs old because of God’s provision and faithfulness. I even asked my parents to stop giving my monthly allowance because blessings were coming left and right. I was able to pay for my tuition fee to finish my last two years in college. God was so faithful even to this very moment.

2. Lee

Started tithing faithfully around 4 years ago, and I have tested how true God’s promises were when you stand in faith and give back to him what is His.

Since then I have been promoted at work, bought a new house, bought a new car. God said I would never lack for any good thing, and this has been true for me and my family, financially.

I remember reading something in the Bible that said when God blesses it would be so much that you wouldn’t have enough space for it – I can attest that this is true, I got to a point where I had no more space at home to put everything, that I had to give a lot away!

He blesses the work of my hands, so much that I find favor at work. All my bills are paid. I also have the privilege of blessing others.

I started tithing at the thousands, based on my net income. My husband and I have since moved to tithing on our gross income, and God has promoted, even my tithing, even at the hundred thousands.

It used to be hard to give it back to God, but as we started doing it faithfully, grace abounded so that even if I drop in P100,000, all I feel is joy at obeying God. I thank the Lord for putting me in the situation wherein I can show my love for Him by obeying Him.

Thanks for letting me share my experiences I pray that God continue be glorified!

3. Barbie

Hi Pastor. Your question is quite apt for what I experienced just last month. I have been a Christian for over 3 years, but tithing is one of my biggest challenges as my salary starts to increase. I work as a Director for Operations in a major callcenter, and tithing 10% would already equate to a callcenter supervisor’s salary for an entire month.

 One day, God just decided to help me understand that it’s not about the money (or the Price Tag, to quote the song), and He will provide for me no matter what. I decided to finally give my tithes…and a week after, my boss gave me a 10% increase for no reason!

 But it didn’t end there.

 I was being a bit crafty about my tithing, so I would calculate and compute up until the last peso, which technically defeats the purpose of my giving. Again, God spoke to me. He made me realize that He is over my finances, my wealth and all the good things that I have experienced and am experiencing today. He changed my heart and gave me a chance to really be able to give with a generous heart.

 The week after? My boss promoted me. He did not only give me enough to continue my tithes religiously, he also gave me MORE so that I can be a blessing to others. (Just typing this literally brings tears to my eyes.)

My prayer this year is for me to keep on giving, and for God to continue to expand my territory so that I can continue to represent him and rule over my material possessions.

4. Herbert

Last February when I became a Christian, I started to tithe. Calculating what I’ve been tithing, the amount pretty much is big and evertime I am tempted to think about that, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the business opportunity that I may start and I am not even financing it. The one who will finance is also a Christian and here’s the clincher, he doesn’t even fully know me and yet, the heart is there to help and the trust is just above and beyond.

As I was comparing the capital needed to start the business and the amount that I did tithe, its nothing. My tithing as whole is not even close to 5% of the actual business cost. God is just amazing when He promises to open the heavens and pour out blessing that we may not even be able to contain it.

Also, some of us may think that just because we tithe, we should expect something monetary in return but in reality, when God bless us because of our obedience, it comes in a whole lot more that we may not see it such as peace, joy, good health. Come to think of it, you can’t put value to these specially when it comes from God.

5. Chie

I have been praying to be debt free and this year (in April) I received an unexpected money which has allowed me to pay (and zero out) my credit card bills and has left me a few money to start my savings and has even allowed e to give to someone who has gone to a mission trip! Really, we cannot outgive God!

6. Ria

“Hi Pastor Pao. The very recent event that happened in our family was that my mom got hospitalized for 8days (3 days in the ICU). I remembered your preaching on week 1 about the God’s covenant. And the word of God really gave me and my family strenght to go thru everything. God showed himself so big. He honored His covenant with me. He healed my mom and miracles just happenned. I can share all the details but with all the complications, the list will be very long but bottomline is God and I have a covenant and He honored it.

And its not only on healing that God manifested His power, he also provided. God has been training me to be a good Steward, and I always give more than my tithe and has been practicing generosity in little ways that I can. Our hospital bill was huge. The insurance told us that they can only cover 1/5. But on the day of the discharged,God surprised me coz the insurance shouldered more than half. And not only that, the other half is already being shouldered by my stepdad. That was God talaga. He is the only one who can turn the hearts of people.

God is just soooo good. He is amazing and He loves me so much. I just want Him to be glorified with this testimony. “






I was convicted by my own message last night.

We’ve been going thru a series at Victory metrowide – Abraham’s School of Finance.

Last night’s subject was on Tithing.

Tithing shows up in the Old Testament many times. And it is a covenant He has established with His people.

First mention was in Genesis 14 when Abraham gives a tithe to the King of Salem who is also concurrently a High Priest – Melchizedek.

Second mention was in Genesis 28:22 when Jacob makes a declaration to God that as God provides for his needs, he would give the tenth to God.  Both were pre-Mosaic law.

Many more mentions right after than in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. (Lev. 27:30-33; Deut. 14:22-29)

The tithe is…

1. First
Proverbs 3:9-10. Honor the Lord with your wealth…the firstfruits of all your crops…

2. Whole
Malachi 3:10. Bring the whole tithe to the storehouse…

3. Holy
Lev. 27:30. A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.

Now the question that follows…

Is tithing in the Old Testament? Resounding YES.
Is it found in the New Testament? BARELY. (Besides a few references in Matthew 23:23 and Heb. 7:8)

Should we even tithe?

I believe God did not talk about tithing explicitly in the New Testament because He wants us to ask a different question.

It’s no longer “How much should I give?” but “How much dare I keep?”

John Piper clearly explains it when he said,

“And it is irrational to think that giving ten percent of that money to the church settles the issue of good stewardship. In a world of such immense need, and in a country of such immense luxury, and under the (Great) commission of such a powerful Lord, the issue of stewardship is not: Shall I tithe? But rather, How much of God’s trust fund dare I use to surround myself with comforts?”

I love Jesus because He is such a radical teacher. He would take things a step further.

Adultery? If you look at a woman with lust, then that’s adultery.
Murder? If you hold a grudge against a brother, then that’s murder.

Luke 3:11 says, “He who has two coats let him share with him who has none. And he who has food let him do likewise.” Now, that’s no longer 10%, that’s 50%.

Matthew 19:11, Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler, “If you would be perfect, go sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” Now, that’s not even 50%, that’s now 100%.

Luke 21:1-4, Jesus commends the widow. “All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”  All means 100%.

Giving in the New Testament takes a radical shift.  It’s not even about 10% anymore.

Why is that?

Jesus really doesn’t want our money, He wants our hearts. It just so happens that our finances has an invisible string connecting to our hearts. He says in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

He doesn’t want something FROM you. He wants something FOR you.  Remember, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24:1). He owns the cattle in a thousand hills (Ps. 50:11).  He doesn’t need anything from us.  But He wants our hearts.

So the question is no longer –
“How much should I give?” but “How much dare I keep?”

It’s no longer-

“Shall I tithe?” but “How much of the money that I hold in trust for Christ can I take for my private use?”

No longer-

“Can I afford to tithe?” but “Can I justify the lifestyle that consumes the 90% of my income?”

Remember the first principle of giving –
Everything that I have is HIS; None of what I have is MINE.

And as I said in my first statement, I was the first one to get convicted in my own message.