In a recent interview Bill Gates was asked what people get him for his birthday. His answer was simple – “Books”. He loves to read and he makes money faster than he can spend so he really doesn’t need anything. By the way, he only made $7 BILLION personally last year. As I read the quote from the interview it made me think about how we spend money as Christians in North America. For Bill Gates to own whatever he wants isn’t a surprise because he has more than enough cash in his pockets. But what about many Christian families who don’t have lots of money yet still desire and have all the latest in technology?
A Time to Evaluate
Before I go any further I am not suggesting for a moment that a Christians should live poor on purpose and not have specific items (such as iPods, smartphones etc.). My question is simple, “Have we forgotten to give what the Lord has asked us to give to further His work?” The Lord said to the nation of Israel, “Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’” The principle of giving in the Bible isn’t so much that we count our pennies and we give to this ministry or that missionary, but that out of a love for the Lord we give off the top of our earnings as an offering back to the Lord.
Too often we simply give the leftovers to the Lord, if there is any left after padding our own lives with comforts and luxury. I recently heard of a couple serving the Lord and devoting their lives to Him having to go back to secular work because they were not being supported by God’s people. That doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve been surprised and disappointed to hear of Christians who spends thousands of dollars on technology, vacations and personal pleasures and give nothing or very little to the Lord. I’m reminded of the question the Lord asks in Haggai, “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?”
A Call to Give
As I have been challenged by the words of the Lord, I ask that you also be challenged. Are you giving to the Lord or keeping all your money for yourself? He is the one who enables all of us to earn our way in the first place, and in His grace and love provides for us. It’s only right that we give back in an offering of praise and thanksgiving. Many missionaries, evangelists and ministries around the world are doing wonderful things for God and yet they could do more if they had more. Most of the people I know working in a full-time ministry capacity will never ask for money.
I was asked recently, “What about the 10% rule, do I have to give that much?” My answer is simple. We are not under law but under grace and there is no legislated percent. However, I personally feel that the Lord Jesus in the New Testament calls us to an even higher standard than the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus told the rich, young ruler to give ALL he had. The example the Lord used of the widow with 2 mites was that she gave EVERYTHING. When we come into the early church they gave everything they had so that others wouldn’t have to live in poverty. It seems clear to me that 10% in the Lord’s eyes is just the starting point and the attitude of our hearts should be to give as much as we possibly can.
A Powerful Promise
I absolutely love this promise from the Lord. It really sums up the heart of giving He is looking for and the promise He makes to us that if we do give to Him it will never be an unprofitable investment. In Malachi He says, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’”
God wants to bless us. He doesn’t promise us material riches for He knows that they will never satisfy our souls. But the kind of blessings he pours on us is far more valuable than all the billions in Bill Gates’ bank account. It will bring us soul wealth that can never be taken away. And when you get right to the bottom of it, it will be a sacrifice to the Lord that He deserves. After all, isn’t the Lord worth it?
Where would we be without Your love?
We’d still be lost in darkness
Where would we be without Your cross?
You made a way to save us
Oh, Your love, oh, Your love
– Matt Redman