Today’s reading: 1 Chronicles 28 – 2 Chronicles 1.
Figuring out how to wisely handle all the “stuff” that passes through our hands – our money, possessions, time, and abilities – is one of the most important tasks any person faces. Some people handle their possessions well, keeping a loose grip on them, and using them generously. Other people become slaves to their wealth. As King David’s life nears its end, he leads the Israelites in a prayer that shows he understands the proper attitude towards possessions:
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. 1 Chronicles 29:11-14
God is over all. He is greater than anything in heaven or earth. He created all of heaven and earth. He will have the ultimate victory and he rules the universal kingdom.
God owns all. He is the source of all power and possessions. Every created thing belongs to him.
God gives all. Everything we receive in life comes from God: our possessions, our strength, our ability, and our prosperity.
The greatest use of my time, ability, and material belongings is giving them back to God. Everything I own comes from God. Everything I own belongs to God. Everything I do with my time, talents, and money will either have temporary or eternal results. Yes, there are necessities I must spend on, but once I move beyond necessities I must decide whether to spend my time, energy, and money for my own pleasure, or for the things that please God. I still struggle with this decision. There are few hard rules that help one make these choices, but there are principles that guide us.
- The Bible suggests a minimum standard of giving ten percent of your income, the tithe, to God, through your local church. This was the standard in the Old Testament. Under the New Testament of grace it may not be a binding rule, but it is still a principle that provides a strong foundation for right living in the same way that the ten commandments still guide us.
- Our actions on earth can have temporary or eternal consequences. The things we do to advance God’s kingdom will have eternal consequences. Randy Alcorn speaks about the dot and the line. Our life here on earth is the dot. It is brief, temporary, and soon over. Our life in heaven, if we receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, will stretch out infinitely beyond time itself. So ask yourself, which is most significant, which should I be living for, the dot or the line? When I give my time, talents, and money to God’s kingdom, I am investing them eternally and will reap the rewards forever.
- I have an opportunity to give beyond the ten percent and receive all the eternal benefits mentioned above. It is not a demand. By God’s grace it is a supernatural opportunity to give now, what I cannot keep long anyway, and receive back forever in heaven.
- The benefits of giving include a deeper dependence on God, growing in faith as I give up control of material things, and participating in God’s kingdom work.
Abundance isn’t God’s provision for me to live in luxury. It’s his provision for me to help others live. God entrusts me with his money not to build my kingdom on earth, but to build his kingdom in heaven. ― Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity
Too often we assume that God has increased our income to increase our standard of living, when his stated purpose is to increase our standard of giving. (Look again at 2 Corinthians 8:14 and 9:11). ― Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity
Image by Sheila Sund on Flickr, CC by 2.0