This week, I have been trying to wrestle with the question: How do we choose to follow God in blessing? It is very easy to follow Him when things are tough. We are driven to our knees in dependence. But when things are going well, we tend to get self-sufficient. I have been trying to wrestle through this question by asking a series of questions:
Today, I want to ask one final question: Will You Give It Away? It seems to me that the best way, quite possibly the only way, to really fight against materialism is to become very generous with your money.
Giving away our money shows that we are not holding it in a closed fist. After all, if we are truly content with our godliness and the basic provisions of life, what more do we need. We witness this type of giving from the early churches. Read the accounts in the book of Acts. People were selling their land in order to share with those that had needs. As the church continued to grow, other churches from other parts of the world continued to share in their abundance and in their poverty to help other churches.
"We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints--and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us" (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
What the Apostle Paul details for us is the generosity of the churches in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea). They wanted to help the saints in Jerusalem with their needs. The problem was that they were needy as well. But they didn't think even the little that they had was theirs. They gave according to their means, and then beyond their means.
This has always blown me away. Most people give less than their ability. We think we are sacrificing when we decide not to buy the third TV for our house and give that money away. I am not saying that you should not have a TV. I am simply saying that is no sacrifice. I would venture to say that very few people give to their ability. And there are very, very few people that ever get to the place where they give beyond their ability.
How do you do this? If Jesus is your God and not money, then when you do not have enough, you do not get depressed. You pray and seek Him and still give away with a joyful heart. I would not say that I am there, but I hope to be there someday. I hope to be the person who holds all things, all money, all material possessions in an open hand--asking God what He wants me to do with them? And then seeking ways to use them for His glory and His Kingdom.
But I have a feeling that is going to come with giving things away. Will you give it away? I do not know what your "it" is, but you do. We continue to live in one of the most prosperous places in the world (even during a recession). Can we choose to worship God during it? The ball is now in your court for your life as it is in mine for my life.