by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you looked around recently? You are surrounded by people with needs. Some will openly tell you about what they are going through and others will hide it behind a smile. Others figure it's pointless to complain knowing that few care to listen anyway. Whether you notice them or not, there are there.
When we do find out about them, the thought that so often comes is, What can I do about it? Most people are looking out for their own lives and feel too busy and without the time and resources to significantly help others. It seems natural for people to work to build and store up what they will need for themselves and their family. It takes a lot of work just to get their own issues taken care of and their own needs met. Don’t they deserve the right to look after themselves? Philippians 2:4 (NIV) put selfish thinking in check saying, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
No one has the right to tell another person how much they can or cannot have in this life or how much they can accumulate in riches and assets. As long as what they work toward and build is done with integrity, their truly is no limit. God is not moved negatively by things we accumulate unless they replace our dependency upon Him. Jesus did warn us that our accumulations will become outdated, rust, or worse. Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.”
Even though Jesus was saying this, it wasn't a statement against having things. It was a statement about things having you! He wasn't coming against riches in His warning of riches. Some of the greatest Bible heroes were extremely rich men. Being rich wasn't the issue. The heart attitude toward riches was the issue. 1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT) says, “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
It is the “love of money” that is the root of all kinds of evil. The majority of people I've known that have great riches and assets, have had to work through learning to manage their attitude along with learning to manage their money. They would be the first to admit that having an excess of resources above their needs creates the opportunity for pride and wandering from their faith and purpose in life. I know people with great assets and riches that HAVE worked through those attitudes but have remained focused and faithful to God's plan and will for their life! They use what they earn and have accumulated and built up for helping finance the spreading the gospel, building the kingdom of God, and helping meet the needs of others.
I have known Christians over the years that have had little or no money but were always craving for more money. Many of them have wandered in their faith. In their craving for more money, they wandered from integrity. They've made promises they did not keep. They lied to get what they want. They cheated people, bosses, customers, insurance companies, welfare, and even their own families trying to gain money. They've crossed moral and ethical boundaries for the sake of money. In many ways, a person lacking money is much more susceptible to “craving money and wandering from the faith…” than a rich person might be.
God's solution that keeps either person, rich or poor anchored, is their heart attitude toward people and whether they are keeping God’s focus of life—touching people with the love of Jesus. If you have money and things, they can be used to help people. If you don’t have money and things, you can still find ways to help others. It all starts with the attitude of caring for people.
Generous is good and stingy is not as we see in Ezekiel 16:49-50. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me…” God was disturbed because these people had the resources to help those in their midst but were too consumed with themselves to do so.
We can learn a powerful Kingdom secret from God in Proverbs 11:24 (NIV.) "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty." People think holding on to everything is the key to wealth. The truth is, stewardship is a key to wealth and within stewardship is caring and sharing with those around you according to the needs you see. This verse says it releases more blessing back to you. Only God can do that! And it doesn't mean you have to give everything away. Sometimes people just need encouragement. prayer, a listening ear, or help. Some are spiritually bankrupt and need to know the love of Jesus! Whatever the need is, do what you can, not what you can't! Care and share something along the way! If you do, generosity will be shaped within you and you will become the "One man gives freely, yet gains even more..."
Giving, caring, and sharing doesn't begin when your ship comes in. Giving begins daily and in many ways by caring of those God's placed in your path. When you do this, you become a God-taught generous person of integrity that can one day manage the wealth that could come into your life. You won't be greedy or covetous. You;re character will have been shaped by God into generous giver of the God kind!
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT) "You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt