When we moved to the USA, W and I were shocked at the privacy that surrounds personal money. We grew up in a small congregation that posted an annual report of membership giving, distributed to all church members with itemization for church expenses, missions, designated funds, etc. We enjoyed reading who gave what; it gave us a picture of generosity beyond salaries. It taught us the privilege of abundant giving and that everything belonged to God. We learned to celebrate the stewardship of God's people and to strive to give more than we had before.
eave his wealth for a life of significance.
"Oh, the Church just wants our money," people snort. Nonsense: that's a myth held over from Catholic sales of indulgences and prayer in medieval times. Most churches want to minister and keep their doors open!
Preachers and missionaries dread having to ask for money to fund basic ministries. Most church leadership hates to request support from stoney-faced and greedy congregants. Yeah, let's call us what we are.
We splurge on cars and houses and get fat on meals eaten out. Our mortgages and credit card debts prevent us from responding to missionary appeals or underwriting church costs. Our estate plans and wills make no provision for extending the kingdom.
Wealth is transient. In a day or two, the rich can lose everything and become impoverished. Natural disasters, market fickleness, and circumstances beyond our control easily wipe away treasures built on earth. A poor person can be singled out to receive money beyond their imaginations. It happens.
What we decide to do with our little or much is part of our "free will," another generous gift from God. We'd be wise not to spend what belongs to God only on ourselves or on things that don't last. God will require careful accounting from me––and from you. Let's make no mistake about it. Money only stays our dirty little secret for a while.
Most of us are thankful for money, food, housing, and all the rest of GOD'S abundance. But are we willing to take the risk to honor God with our money? Today, I'm throwing out a challenge. Let us:
- Ask God how to save and spend his provisions to bring him pleasure and build eternal wealth AND be willing to obey him as he answers.
- Pay our tithe and beyond as Jesus said, "You ought to give a tenth and more!" (Matthew 23:22-24)
- Plan our financial future in light of eternity. People like Joni@NU can help.
- Consider blessing worthy organizations like MRI and AGWM before we die and someone else decides what to do with our hard-earned cash.
*It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly. Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough." Psalm 37:16–19
*My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. Proverbs 23:26
*Jesus, looking at [the rich young man], loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Mark 10:21
Moravian Prayer: Generous and giving God, we confess today that we are not always good stewards of our hearts or our resources. Forgive us and help us realize all that we possess belongs to you. Create within us sharing and giving hearts. Amen.