MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
by David Sisler
The man was absolutely furious. It was the first time he had been to church in almost a year and it just happened to be stewardship Sunday.
"Money, money, money," he stormed. "All churches ever talk about is money!"
Did you know that aside from the fantastic news about salvation, and its accompanying blessings, Jesus talked more about money than about any other subject?
As they relate to finances, Jesus used the words money, wealth, riches, treasure, gain, profit, abundance, value, exchange, fruitful, price, cost, inheritance, store, talent, gift, offering, borrow, lend, tithe, pay, sell, buy, poverty, possessions, bought, and give 215 times (in the King James Version). By contrast, He uses the word love 32 times, prayer 21 times, faith 33 times, and mercy 7 times.
One of the most exciting discoveries I've ever made about giving is that every passage in the Bible which prompts an individual to give, promises a blessing for the giver! The command to give is always accompanied with a promise of a return on the investment.
I'm not talking about a prosperity gospel which teaches you to bribe God. Now, that's not the way it's presented, but that is what so much preaching and teaching about money really says. It is a teaching which forgets Solomon's warning: "The person who loves money will never have all the money he wants. The person who loves wealth will not be satisfied when he gets it" (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Prosperity teachers tell you to give and they assured you, if you do, God will bless you. Give out of your need, your are told. Send your money to us, they say, and God will send Ed McMahon to your front door with the $10,000,000 from the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes. Bribery. Coercion. Displeasing!
Jesus said, "If you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give - large or small - will be used to measure what is given back to you" (Luke 6:38). "Good measure," Jesus said, "will be poured into your lap."
Jesus painted a vivid word picture of the return on generous giving. The picture is of a man with a long flowing robe, holding the hem of the garment so it made a pouch to hold gifts. Because the man was generous with his friends, they gave back to him such abundance that it spilled out over the sides of the robe. The message is clear - generosity will be rewarded with generosity. Stinginess will be rewarded with stinginess.
Listen to the context of Jesus' words: "Don't make a habit of judging other people, and you will not be judged yourselves. Do not make a habit of condemning other people, and you will not be condemned yourselves. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Be generous, and you will find others generous to you. Good measure, close-packed, and shaken down, brimming over, will be poured into your lap. You will get in exactly the same proportion as you give."
Did you notice, Jesus did not specifically mention money in this passage? He wants us to know there will be a return on any kind of giving. Jesus said if you give kindness you will receive kindness. People who are harsh and judgmental of others will find that they are treated harshly by their friends. When you give kindness and a spirit that does not judge unfairly or harshly condemn, you will need to wear a long flowing robe, gather up the hem of the garment to make a huge pouch so you can receive all the mercy and tenderness that will be given to you.
How is your giving? Are you so generous that you will need help carrying away God's blessings? Or are you so stingy that you can take it away in one hand. You determine your own bounty.
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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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