"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998
Friday, January 28, 2011
HOW TO BE RICH - (2) Be obedient
There are lots of paradoxes in the Bible: die to live, put yourself last to be first, put others first to have your own needs met. Here's another: "Seek first the kingdom of God and what has His approval. Then all these things will be provided for you," Matthew 6:33.
In context, Jesus is talking about the necessities of life. Only one woman had the foresight to send along with her little boy a lunch when he went out in the hills to listen to Jesus. Five little buns and two small fish. It was enough to feed the boy and that's all. But when he gave it all to Jesus, it became enough to feed him plus thousands of other people--with left-overs.
It's like that with everything we have. I heard somewhere of another little boy who, when the offering basket was passed to him in church, put it on the floor and stepped into it to signify that he was giving himself to God. It's the principle of constant self-emptying for constant sufficiency. Jesus first called people to himself and then sent them out from himself to others--with food, with healing, with the gospel.
Start with a tithe (10%). Make it the first 10%, take it off the top. Give God your best and trust Him for the rest: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,'" says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!'" Malachi 3:10, New Living Translation.
I've shared how this worked for my mother in The King's Treasury and I'm going to share in a couple of days how it worked for a couple who started a boys' ranch in Naches, Washington. If you don't give what you have to God and let Him tell you how you spend or use it, there won't be enough even for you, much less others. I'll give you an example of that from my own life tomorrow.
Giving to God and watching him work miracles with your pittance can be habit-forming. Some people--Texas philanthropist R.G. LeTourneau (with wife Evelyn) and Pastor Rick Warren (with wife Kay) come to mind--gave Him 90% and lived, thrived even, on the tithe.
Today (I'm not sure why) I am thankful for the versatility of fingernails, for such things as scratching hard to reach places (and my husband's back) and tightening screws.