Weekly Thought – April 24, 2018
Fred once counseled “You never really know a person until you have counted money with them.” His generosity was never trumpeted. He gave to specific needs, not naming opportunities. He once said one of his questions for heaven was why ministry and money were so closely connected.
Three Giving Points
Giving can be a complicated discussion, but there are three simple points I have found:
1) I never enjoyed giving until I started giving more than the tithe. Recently, I have been close to a dear friend with a drinking problem. In fact, he spent $50,000 (in 1980 dollars) in one clinic. He is a man of substance and international reputation. He has shared the material he has on the subject. One of the most intriguing studies shows that someone may be sober for 20 years then go back to drinking. I wondered about the reason. It was actually very simple: those who went back were staying sober by following the rules and consistently working at it. Those who reached the “joy of sobriety” were much more inclined to stay sober and rarely go back. Those who stress and strain to give a tithe never really enjoy it. Those who give out of love rarely get caught up in the “gross or net,” “tithe or offering” debates. They reach the joy of giving.
2) Giving is the only drain I know for greed. If we want to drain the greed out of our souls, I think we can only do it by giving. Since I grew up poor I understand that environment. And since our financial condition has greatly increased I can appreciate the dynamics of the monied. The sin of the poor is envy and the sin of the rich is greed. We hear much about the sin of greed, but I think envy is much less productive, giving only ulcers. However, Christians should not be known as greedy (or envious). Giving pulls the plug on the desire to excessively accumulate.
3) Maxey Jarman taught me money can be temporary. After he gave millions of dollars to missions worldwide his financial situation seriously deteriorated. I asked him if he ever thought about the millions he had given away. “Of course I have, but do you realize I never lost a dime of what I gave away – I only lost what I kept.” For those who are waiting to give money, this should be a great inspiration to give now.
I do not believe God is fundamentally interested in your money, but in your maturity. If you will show me your calendar and your checkbook I can write your biography. I will know how you spend your time and money. Where those resources are is where your treasure resides.
Some people try to substitute service for giving and others try to substitute giving for service. Neither can be done – both are required for maturity. You are being dishonest and Christian growth doesn’t come through a dishonest process.
This week think about: 1) How much joy do I find in giving? 2)What measure do I use to gauge my greed factor? 3) How loosely do I hold onto things?
Words of Wisdom: “I do not believe God is fundamentally interested in your money, but in your maturity.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 NET Bible)