I was reminded recently of a problem I feel many successful Christians have in relation to how they feel about "sharing their wealth". I know a large number of men and women whom I either went to Bible School with or served with in the ministry I was in for many years. Although I don't communicate much with many of these people, I have had occasion to speak with a few them over the years.
If there has always been one subject we disagree on, it deals with the reason why God would choose to bless or prosper a particular person or group of believers. Most, if not all of those I knew from my "previous life" all feel very strongly that if they get blessed by God financially, it is so that they can live a prosperous life complete with everything they want or need to be happy. In other words, the reason God prospers someone is so that they can enjoy their prosperity.
All who feel this way live in very expensive homes, drive very expensive vehicles, wear top of the line designer clothes and sent their children to exclusive private schools all the way through college. These people are all extremely nice and courteous and pleasant to be around. But, there is one thing they all (without exception) lack and that is the willingness or even the capacity to FREELY GIVE. Although many do share of their abundance, I know of none who literally give ten percent of their income.
I feel that if God sees fit to bless and prosper someone, it is so that they can in turn give to help someone who is in dire straits and hurting in some way. I fail to see why God would only bless certain children while demanding the rest live as paupers, in the throes of poverty or on the streets. Why would a loving God be so callused to show such disrespect toward His own children?
When I was attempting to locate donors to help victims of hurricanes, chronic poverty and injustice a few years ago; I sought out and talked at length to many of these people I once knew and served alongside with years ago. Words cannot begin to express the shock, hurt and pain I felt as one by one these people told me that they thought I was crazy for wasting my life trying to help "poor people". With only a couple of exceptions, there was absolutely no willingness to share, no desire to know the stories of those I was trying to help and no interest in giving even one dime to even help me.
In many respects, the failure on my part to find financial partners doomed my attempt to start a charity from scratch. Many people who had very little in this life were more than willing to share their ten or twenty dollars (which to them was a fortune), but I never came close to persuading anyone who had great material wealth stashed away in secret accounts to give even ONE dollar. This failure haunts me, for I feel like I betrayed those who counted on me to help them.
Why would God bless His children with material blessings? Is it really just so that they can live like everyone else in the world? Is it really just so that they can have every toy and item of convenience known to man? Is it so they can live a life to be envied by others who have more money than they know what to do with? Does God really just "bless" some of His kids because He is bored and doesn't know what else to do with His power and grace?
If I were your brother and our father was one of the richest men on earth, do you really think that he would give one of us 100 million dollars to go "play with" while telling the other "sorry"? Would this be the manifestation of love? To bless one while withholding blessing from another for no reason other than personal like or dislike is not the way God operates.
I believe one of the reasons that God's people over the centuries (both Jews and Christians) have failed to be blessed inwardly the way God desired is because of their selfishness in regard to what they obtain and accumulate in this life. It is appalling how many of God's people who have wealth in this life are flat out stingy, selfish and unwilling to give to even their own children at times.
I have been told over the years that I was extremely generous, extremely stupid and extremely irresponsible all because of my penchant for outrageous giving. I can't help myself when it comes to freely sharing, even when I really don't have much to share. In spite of this "bad habit", God has managed to bless my life even when I have had next to nothing to show for it. To me, I think it much better to have a little and be willing to give it all away than to have much and refuse to share any of it.
It seems much of my life has been spent trying to extract pennies from people and churches whose coffers are filled to overflowing. In spite of this, I have been blessed in the process with getting to know, love and give to some of the most beautiful people on this planet. These people have nothing to show for all their hard work except a roof over their heads and a little food in their stomach. They have nothing of any value to call their own, but to me they are richest people alive.
I honestly pity the fools who think they must drink of this world's wealth to be happy. I really do feel sorry for those who cannot know happiness unless they can purchase it with money. The sad reality is that the greatest things in this life cannot be bought at any price by even the world's most wealthy people. Love, joy, peace and a whole host of other intangibles are not for sale.
What is the worth of one man's soul? Can it honestly be measured in dollars or cents? How much did it cost for God to save even one? Was not the price the life of His Son?
What if God had decided to be as many of His children are now? What if God had said, the price is too high and the death of His Son not allowed?
If God behaved as His children do, none of us would be saved. For if God were as selfish as His own children are, He would have never so loved that He gave.
I pray that as we have freely received, we freely give. I pray that we willingly share what God has abundantly blessed us with and that we never count what God has blessed us with as our own. Always remember that the reason you are blessed is mainly so you can bless others.
[quote]I think it much better to have a little and be willing to give it all away than to have much and refuse to share any of it.[/quote]
I often wonder exactly who we think all that we have comes from and what we think we are going to do with it in eternity? You certainly can not take it with you and when you look death in the face you will find all your "stuff" means absolutely nothing. The material things you enjoyed truly are nothing but a vapor, a brief moment in the whole scheme of things. Jesus was quite clear in stating that our heart resides where our treasure is.
[quote]These people are all extremely nice and courteous and pleasant to be around. But, there is one thing they all (without exception) lack and that is the willingness or even the capacity to FREELY GIVE. Although many do share of their abundance, I know of none who literally give ten percent of their income.[/quote] I really believe the root of the problem lies in a lack of tithing. Oh boy, here we go...
People can argue about that until their blue in the face. I've been reading a lot about that here lately. Hm... I'm recalling what Jesus' response was to the rich man when he wanted to know what he needed to do to enter the kingdom of God. This man already tithed the required amount and gave extensively but...God required him to give it all!
I don't think this means we're all supposed to go out and live on the street (although some may argue that). I think the point was it was easy for him to tithe and give because he still had an abundance. Anybody can do that! However, to tithe and give when you're wondering how you'll pay next months bills, that's a whole different matter. That's saying, "I'm putting my trust in God rather than in money."
When my husband and I started to face a "gap" every month, we took a look at our expenditures. Where could we cut? Yes, our tithes as well as our offerings to our church and other ministries showed up on that list. I have to tell you that eliminating or even cutting back would have filled in the gap completely and even then some. No! How can we shortchange God? To do so would be to say we trust money more than we trust God.
The enormity of the gap came in force in November. God filled the gap in November, December, January and it looks like most of February now. We had to replace my alternator this week. Last week my husband had been told by a college colleague that he wanted to buy him lunch. He gave him a check to buy some lunch. All I'll say is that the "lunch check" paid for my alternator.
[quote]I pray that as we have freely received, we freely give. I pray that we willingly share what God has abundantly blessed us with and that we never count what God has blessed us with as our own. Always remember that the reason you are blessed is mainly so you can bless others. [/quote] Amen and amen!
Thank you "K" and "A" for your comments. Relentlessly presenting this subject is not one that generates an abundance of response for it is not all that popular, but God laid it on my heart again to remind us all of priorities.
"K", I can't begin to express the thanksgiving in my heart for your commitment to "doing the Word" the way it is supposed to be done. You and your husband's commitment to principle is a shining example to all who read. Thank you for taking the time to give such detailed comments to so many blogs. May God richly bless you for all your selfless giving.
"A", thank you for being a faithful friend and one whose actions speak louder than the hollow words so many say. I admire your commitment to outreach and if I were younger, I would track you down and carry your suitcase on your next mission trip.
This beautiful exchange reminds me of the words of Jesus, 'blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' And also, 'a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.'
As a young child,I watched my mother initiate giving to pioneer missionaries in Malaysia as one by one they graduated from Bible school. For some it was a small monthly stipend, for others a timely spntaneous love gift which was touched by the Lord. My dad after he was saved became the channel for giving monthly.We were not rich but the Lord provided monthly with fluctuating levels of commissions earned sufficient to meet the needs for the month.
In the 50's and 60's every month it seemed the pioneer workers would visit my dad's office in Singapore -my dad said sometimes he felt as if we owed them a living. As the years passed by, one by one came to say : Please stop, the Lord is blessing us and do give our stipend to some other needy brother or sister. Those were times of rejoicing for my family as repeatedly we saw the Spirit of the Lord move in the hearts of new Christians to give to the work where they were spiritually fed. Those were the times we were encouraged to know that the sacrifices made by the pioneer workers were bearing fruit. Today we see the faithfulness of God in His churches in Malaysia and we moved to missions in Asia. Today we still enjoy the blessing of the Lord who provides sufficiently for us to give and give again in small or larger amounts as He touches us to give and provides...........Praise the Lord............as we have given to the Batak work in Indonesia, or Back to the Bible broadcast in India, or Aetas tribe and Far East Broadcasting in Philippines or Myanmar during the Nargis disaster, or Karens in Thailand or China Sichuan earthquake, it has been given to us pressed down, shaken and running over... and though our barns are not full... the Lord takes care of our every need in spiritual, emotional, physical and financial health.
What B2Y has written that the Lord has blessed us to give is true.......it is wonderful to be in the cycle of giving and to be in th chain of His supply for every month.........we are to trust and obey and He gives again and again..........how exciting! how exciting! It strengthens us when we strengthen our brothers and sisters....
You can never outgive God that is my family's testimony to the third generation! Praise the Lord our Provider!
This whole Rich man thing baffles me -how can a child of God -knowing their riches are from God - not give it back to the Glory of God -but then I've never been rich in money so maybe I just don't see it their way.
I know that God has promised that one day he will take the wealth of the ungodly and give it to his children and then the wealthy will do what -will they turn back to God -jump out windows -kill themselves. This has happened before -they called it the Great Depression. God's children survived it because their faith was not in money.
And what happened to the servant that took his coin the master gave him and hide it rather than invest it for the master -did not the master take it from him and leave him with nothing.
And did not God say of the woman that put but a few pence in the offering -she has given more than any other -because she has given all she had (not just what she had leftover).
Did not God say to give of your First Fruits.
Oh foolish man that hordes his riches from God - for they are God's to begin with and surely he will reclaim them if they are not used to his Glory!
Great Blog B2Y
I have to agree with Alight -You are a Blessing to me -beyond that which you could ever know!
Can Anyone help shed a little light on this scripture for me and My Wife.
Revelation 21:6-8 (New International Version)
6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
The But word in Verse 8 looks to me that this scripture is talking about those who's names are in the Book of Life (Received Salvation) as it clearly states "This is the second death" Now how can a man die twice unless he was in fact Born again so those who are cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, who practice magic arts, idolaters and all liars are the ones who will be cast into the Lake of Fire and die the second death. As I read this I was reminded of Paul's writing in Romans 6. Romans 6:1-4 (New International Version)
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Do you think this is referring to those that are saved and willfully taking Gods Grace for Granted. This brings up a second Question I have herd the Quote from Other believers that "God has not convicted me of that yet" , This is one of the statements that make me go Hum. Lets see Gods word is very clear about Liars and a Lie is a Lie so why then would the Holy Spirit not Convict someone for something that God Hates and find despicable (Proverbs 6:16-17 (New International Version)
16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood, If you Notice that a Lying Tongue is the second on the list. Bernie I am really struggling on how to handle this situation with a Brother I Love very Much and yet not be a Cowardly Christian. It took a lot to get me out of the Poverty Mentality yet at the same time I know Money will not keep me from being Poor. I absolutely Love doing Gods work and really want to be independent in My income however I can not compromise Integrity for either one. I being a fromer Homless Heroin Addict have this Christian Man being my Mentor and he being well bless in Finanices is striving to guide me into Enterponurship? however I run into areas were the Rules or Laws constrian operations and being guided with you must tell them what they want to hear to satisfy them as we can not make money following all the rules. I say to myself if thats the case then we are in trouble I can not jump onto that wagon because I beleive that wagon is heading to a firey end. These words you are all sharing line up with my struggle Today and would like any imput you all may have as I can feel the shock and Pain that blessings2you expressed
Many people, even those who call themselves Christians, place their security in their worldly riches, and hang on to their money like it was their life-boat, much like the guy with the barns of grain, Luke 12:15-20
Since the day I submitted my will and my life to God, my life has been a financial rollor-coaster ride that went from being a street person to being a (temporary) millionaire, and let me say this, when I was poor I had a great time, and meracilously I was shown that my basic needs were taken care of, and having money was also good, but it was more of a spiritual test, than it was a blessing.
Eventually I came to the point where I understand Philippians 4:11.