It's Good To Be Greedy Part 4

In the previous three articles we have been looking at Jesus’ teaching on treasures in heaven. in Matthew chapter 6, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (6:19-21) I have broken down this passage into three sections: 1. What not to do (command 1) 2. What to do (command 2) and 3. A spiritual indicator. In this article we will now look at the motivation of giving.

I finished the last article by asking, what if you don’t have enough money to give? What if you live paycheck to paycheck? What if you are just scraping by? How can I build treasures in heaven if I have nothing to give? This is a very important issue to discuss as I believe it is a reason many hold back from giving. The belief out there is that we give when we have abundance. When we have a little extra money and it won’t be tight on the wallet, then we give. Maybe next year when I get that raise, or our spouse goes back to work. Besides God understands, right? He wants us to take care of ourselves and family? Everyone’s situation and circumstances are different. There isn’t always a cookie cutter answer. But I will mention a few biblical principles to help us navigate through this.
 
The first thing to mention is that the point of all of this is we are focusing on what we treasure. A lot of times we don’t have money to give because it is going to what we actually treasure instead. I have come across people that say they are hard up and financially strapped. But they happen to find the money to buy Bills season tickets, a new phone every year, constantly go out to eat and drive new cars. Could it be that you are living paycheck to paycheck because you spend money on things you think you need, that you really don’t?  Could it be that you are not being a good steward of what God has given you? And if this is the case where is your heart really at?

In 1731 John Wesley was deeply impacted by coming across someone in need. He felt convicted by the amount of money he spent on himself. So he began to limit his expenses so he would have more money to give to the poor. He records that one year his income was £30, and his living expenses £28, so he had £2 to give away. The next year, his income doubled, but he still lived on £28 and gave £32 away. This continued on and on every year for the rest of his life. As his income increased, he still only lived on £28 and gave the rest away. It is estimated that by the end of his life Wesley had given away £30,000! To give this some modern context, one year his royalties amounted to $160,000 in our current day. He still lived off of his £28, which amounts to about $20,000 today! Imagine having an income of $160,00 and only living on $20,000?! Randy Alcorn on Wesley’s giving said, “Sound radical? Why? Isn’t it perfectly in keeping with Scripture? “Your plenty will supply what they need. . . . You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 8:14; 9:11). Perhaps you’ll never be as radical as Wesley—I’m certainly not, but his example inspires me and makes me reevaluate my lifestyle and giving.” Could it be that perhaps you don’t have more because God knows you’ll just waste it on yourself anyway? If you were God, would you give the money to someone who would give to those in need or splurge on themselves? Randy Alcorn continues, “Ironically, many people can’t afford to give precisely because they’re not giving (Haggai 1:9-11). If we pay our debt to God first, then we will incur His blessing to help us pay our debts to men. But when we rob God to pay men, we rob ourselves of God’s blessing. No wonder we don’t have enough. It’s a vicious cycle and it takes obedient faith to break out of it.” Could it be the reason some of us don’t give is not because we need more money but because we need to be better stewards of what God has already given us?  

Now having said all of that, there are those who are not spending anything on themselves and still have no money. They are barely making it by and are not wasting it in any fashion. For people in that situation I want to encourage you when it comes to giving, it is never about the amount but the heart. God doesn’t need your money. He wants your love for Him and His people. And one of the ways to show this love is by giving.  If giving out of your abundance is just a couple of dollars, that is fine! Remember the poor women that gave before Jesus? “And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41–44)
 
Is it the amount that is stopping you or the heart and attitude toward giving? What treasures are you building? Some of the most generous people I know are people that don’t have much to their name. But they just love being hospitable, gracious and giving to others. It is an attitude more so than a dollar amount. “Well the Bible says that He wants a cheerful giver, and I’m just not happy to give right now.” Again Randy Alcorn helps us, “‘God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give only when we’re feeling cheerful. The cheerfulness often comes during and after the act of obedience, not before it. So don’t wait until you feel like giving -it could be a long wait! Just give and watch the joy follow.”

Be greedy for the right kind of wealth. Remember what we learned earlier, what is more logical? Building treasures on earth or in heaven? “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” CT Studd. May our only motivation to give be out of a love for Him  and His people. And in our zeal for Christ we build treasures in heaven being greedy for the right kind of wealth.

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