Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Rich( 04/26/12)
Sailing on the Steward Ship
By Linda Germain
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Over time, she began to learn the amazing story of his generous income. He and his wife had owned a business but were barely getting by. After much prayer and listening for the Lord’s guidance they decided to take a bold and scary step of faith. With a genuine transparency borne of experience and success, he explained what simple but powerful thing changed their lives forever.
<b>“We discovered an undeniable truth: you cannot out-give God.”</b>
Instead of tithing ten-percent of their income and living on the remaining ninety-percent, they decided they would do the <i>opposite</i>. On the surface, that seems like an audacious plan. How many of us would be brave enough to believe our Heavenly Father truly means we should not fret over what we eat or wear, and that he will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory?
The man shared how he began to make more money than he ever had before. His income sky rocketed and they continued to give ninety percent. What was left over was more than enough to meet all their needs.
They gave to their church, and to other churches; to missions, and to every needy person or charity God put in their path. They had a glorious time. The more they gave, the more they received. They donated books, Bibles and study materials as a witness to repentance, forgiveness, and how to walk daily with our Lord.
Because of one couple’s simple obedience of faith to take Him at His Word, not only did God supply their every need, blessings came rolling back to them in enormous waves. They rejoiced in the countless opportunities to help others.
Sadly, some believe that God’s people are just <i>poor, unworthy, wayfaring strangers</i> and give credence to deprivation and lack almost as a badge of honor. The whole ministry of Jesus belies that premise. Someone had to have money to house and feed all the disciples and their families and pay for sensible things inherent in any traveling ministry.
Sometimes it’s hard to grasp, but the stunning reality is this: we are sons and daughters of the KING.
The sin is not in the <i>having</i> of riches, but in the choosing them over God. He is not poor. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Remember, Jesus said he was going to prepare a mansion for us where the streets are paved with gold.
When my cousin and I were children we were certain if we had one hundred dollars we’d be super wealthy. We made a list of what all we’d do with such an incredible windfall. I couldn’t think that big and was stumped after deciding on one chocolate cupcake and a new comic book. Charity, or giving of any kind, never entered our empty little heads.
When we’re children, it’s natural to think like children, but Scripture admonishes us to <i>grow up</i>. God made it simple and clear, but so often in our ignorant zeal to worship at the altar of religiosity we have denied and obscured some of the most basic promises and premises designed to keep us on track and help us grow.
We can warm the same pews for decades, drink the same scriptural milk over and over, but until we are disciplined enough to seek the meat of His WORD, we can <i>spiritually starve</i> for lack of knowledge. When He gives a workale plan to His children who have made Him Lord of their lives, could it be foolish on our parts to insist on wrapping ourselves in raggedy coats of self-righteousness and declining what He freely offers?
If we give <i>without reserve</i>, gifts will be bestowed on us “full measure, pressed, shaken down, and running over.” The same measure that we use will be used to measure what is returned to us (*see Luke 6:38).
Needless to say, the gentleman in my mother’s bookstore had his own deep and personal revelation and was brave enough to step out and test its validity. That takes a mature, unwavering faith that refuses to be ambushed by well-meaning negativity and pessimism. It takes a thankful attitude and a steadfast belief that all things really are possible with God…like prosperity to advance the Christian Gospel.
<b>2 Corinthians 9:6-8</b> (NLT)
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 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.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
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