The Cheerful Giver
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (ESV)
Recently we've been challenged and consequently blessed to realize how we are blessed to bless others. Personally, it's sweetly sinking in that the blessings we receive are not for us to be better, but for others to be better than us. I say 'sweetly' because this is not just a new thought for me personally, but it is a whole change of mindset. This change of mindset - this act of repentance which arises out of God's goodness seen in all things - enables me to see people in a new and greater light.
See, even people I thought were plain insufferable were so much nicer to deal with because I wasn't looking to tear them down - in fact, you could say that in a moment, by God's perfect and absolute love, I was looking for ways to make them better than me! Instead of detesting every little thing they do, I'm finding myself working with them as partners, looking towards Who we're working for, instead of who I'm working with!
God is just so good, and I can't wait to see how this continues to unfold in my own personal life. I believe this is all happening in time for the message we will be sharing tomorrow regarding how grace plays in our finances, and how we as men and women saved by Jesus Christ can utilize the sure power of money.
"Well, JB, isn't the love of money the root of all evil?"
Well, let's put things into perspective. I used to look too much at a camera, thinking that it had magical powers to get me the best shot every time, thinking that it was a charm I could hang around my neck to attract money and fame. I loved the idea of having a camera, and by God's grace, the incident involving me losing it humbled me to the point that I now only see it as a tool more than anything else. A camera is a tool, a means to an end.
That's what money is. It's a tool we are blessed to handle. The first part of Luke 16 is the Parable of the Unjust Steward. One thing we were led to see in this parable is how absolutely shrewd the people of the world are when it comes to handling money and 'mammon'. In Tagalog, 'nakakalamang sila sa atin' (they're better than us, 'us' being those of us saved by Christ)... but is this a fact?
When we see how people can use money to buy materials, businesses, people, and power, the temptation to react with insecurity is present. The fact of the matter is, having a lot of money doesn't exactly set us free of frustration. It's how we use it that matters.
I don't know much about the moves and methods of the Forbes' 100 richest people in the world, but I'm pretty sure that they would all agree with the statement that we should definitely invest our money wisely. At doon po tayo nakakalamang, mga kapatid. (And that's where we have an advantage, my brothers and sisters.)
Yesterday I tried to be as productive as I could be, trying to accomplish things here in the house when I chose to hold off on what I planned to do the whole day. I was supposed to pay taxes and wrap up on some needed documents but my mom needed help with encoding, printing and xeroxing. Now that I think of it, this alone was great reason for me to lash out in anger for time wasted.
But praise be to God, who makes all things work for our good. Because He is faithful and true to His word, I know that there was a reason for me staying home all day yesterday - I may never know why, but I can definitely sit back and literally swim in His love, passing it on effortlessly to people around me, knowing that He is for me, and He is sovereign over all things. Time is never wasted with God because it is His time, no longer our time.
That's the same thing with money. Read the whole line:
Any investments we make are never wasted with God, because (and this is really important) it is His money, not ours. We are mere stewards of the resources He entrusts to us. That includes time and money. These are the seeds He gives the sower... Yet are we receiving the seeds for our own betterment?
Friend, one seed may be eaten for minimum health benefits. But we're telling you now to hold off on eating it, and plant it - help someone to become better, even better than you! That's a legitimate challenge - You are blessed to be a blessing to other people, much so that you bless them to be better off. If you're led to give to a person or a group or a cause by the Spirit of God living in you, then don't delay!
Friend, plant the seed, and in due season you will reap. In the economy of God, in Christ, everything we sow, grows. That is a guarantee.
God bless you.
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26