The Biblical Mandate (I’ll get to a personal testimony soon)
First of all, let me be perfectly transparent from the start… I am not a prosperity believer, as in, it is not our fundamental purpose in life to aquire an overstock of earthly blessings. For the sake of balance, I do believe there is nothing inherently wrong with having great earthly possessions, as long as the possessions do not have you.
Our fundamental purpose in life is to extol and magnify the King of kings, Christ our Lord. This life is truly not about us, we must crucify our flesh daily and die to our own desires in order to live for the Lord.
In the American church we have come to an erroneous belief that having physical blessings in life, namely tons of money, is God’s will for our life to show the world how great being a Christian is. If our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, walked this earth without a home (in His 3 1/2 years of ministry), told the disciples numerous times to take no heed for what you should drink, wear, etc. then why are we do counteract His instruction by saying it is HIs perfect will that we all prosper to make millions?
That dog won’t hunt for very long…
However, it is not evil to be financially blessed.
All About the Money
The truth about money is it is neutral. Money is not the root of all evil… The LOVE of money is the root of all KINDS of evil is what the original Greek descriptively says. The acquisition of wealth beyond dependency of God is what becomes evil.
Our flesh will do all it possibly can to deceive us into thinking that life would be so much better if we just had more money. In a real life practical sense that is very true. If you had more money you could live in greater luxury but Christ is always reminding us in the New Testament to not worry so much on the physical but rather the content of our heart.
There were wealthy men in the Bible that God greatly used. Something to note though, more often than not (simply based on statistics) God used men and women in the early church who had given their whole entire lives to the gospel.
Time, money, belongings, all of it…
There is something to be said about having radical faith to forsake all in an effort to spread this great gospel message.
Personal Testimony in Tithing
A couple of years ago I was spending time with a Pastor friend of mine at a youth camp. I knew His family well so I knew what kind of income status He had come from. His dad owned a fairly successful construction company whom also had been in the ministry.
My friend told me that when His dad first started His company He felt the Lord lay on His heart to commit to a certain amount in His tithes that He wanted to make the next year. For example… If He wanted to make $60,000 net income the following year He would need to tithe $6,000 that year even though He actually made less.
So in the first year of His company He tithed above and beyond what the Lord required Him to in terms of scripture and faithfully gave. Guess what happened? (The numbers I am using aren’t real, but only for example sake)
My friend’s dad made the exact same amount the following year that He had tithed on the whole previous year… What a miracle right!?
What Happened to Me
After I heard this story I didn’t think much about it for a good long time. The Lord later dropped in my heart a challenge to do this the next year starting for my New Years resolution. My wife and I were on a very set income with the church we were currently serving in. It would have been a pretty tough challenge to give anymore than what we already had been committing to the Lord. I forsook my earthly knowledge and started to do it in faith.
I will tell you, some weeks it was difficult. It was a struggle, I didn’t feel like doing it. Other weeks I had the joy of the Lord swelling in my heart to a great degree.
6 months went by and we didn’t see any major change to our finances. Just as stagnant as ever. Later towards the end of that summer we felt we were being transitioned into a different type of ministry and we left our current church position and moved into a totally unknown place of income.
We were traveling and evangelizing getting different love offerings from week to week. Some weeks it was $200, other weeks it was $500 and other weeks it was $1,000. It was very spastic but we were living by faith.
One day in a conversation I was talking to someone and we were on the subject of giving and I began to tell him this story about my friend’s dad and how the Lord put it in my heart to do this same method but I had yet to experience the same blessing… UNTIL
I started looking back through our finances and realized our crazy, up and down income was actually averaging out to the EXACT amount that the Lord had put on our hearts to commit earlier that very same year… HOW WILD IS THAT!?
What I Learned
I learned that the Lord is not slack in His promises. If we focus on Him with the right intentions (keeping Him first) then He will take care of the rest. Through that time it has encouraged us to give more and more, and by His grace we have. We have given more money unto God this year than we ever have.
Our income has increased drastically since the very first time the Lord put this on our hearts, and you know what?
Even if we lost everything tomorrow God would still be better than good. He has been so good I cannot tell it all.
Giving has become one of my biggest joys in life, giving back to what the Lord has already done for me is the least that I could do.