God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
In the parable of the rich man in Luke 12:16-21 God called the man a fool who hoarded everything he had, as if God had given it to him just so he could use it all for himself. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 we find the stingy rich man (who wouldn’t even share the scraps of food that fell from his table) in Hades, a place that one day will be thrown into the lake of fire. The Bible teaches we are blessed to be a blessing, not to hoard all we have for ourselves. But a materialistic heart will deceive us into thinking “It’s all for me!” But have you ever looked for a biblical answer to this question: Why God has blessed me so much? Why has God made me rich (by world standards, we are rich)? Well 2 Corinthians 9:11 gives us the answer, stating, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous…” God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others. We are blessed to be a blessing.
When God entrusted the Jews with the salvation message, was it so they could keep it to themselves? No! God always intended that they (the Jews) be a light to the Gentiles (to those who weren’t Jewish). But the Jews got it all wrong. They acted condescendingly towards anyone who wasn’t Jewish and didn’t want to share the good news that had been entrusted to them. Let’s not make the same mistake the Jewish nation made – the mistake of not realizing that we’re blessed to be a blessing!
God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to the rest of the world! Suppose God intended to reach the world for Christ and help an unprecedented number of suffering people. What might He do? Well, He might give us unprecedented wealth to meet all those needs and reach all those people, right? Well friends – that’s exactly what He’s done! The question is “What are we doing with it?” Are we increasing our standard of living or giving?
So let’s get practical. What can we do to begin increasing our standard of giving? Let me share some practical steps:
- Some of you have never given a gift to the work of God through your local church. If New Day is your home church, why not give a first-time gift today?
- Everyone is a percentage giver, but not everyone is a percentage giver on purpose. If you give, but it’s not a pre-determined percentage of your income, then becoming an intentional percentage giver is a great next step for you.
- For others of you, God’s been tugging at your heart concerning the tithe for some time now. Maybe today is the day to take the dive? If you want your heart passionate about the things of God, the tithe is that threshold that ignites our heart for the things of God.
- Some of you already tithe, but you’ve never given an offering – you’ve never given something above and beyond the tithe. I’d encourage you to give an offering for the first time today (again – the Christmas offering is a great outlet for an offering).
- Finally – some of you have the gift of giving. Romans 12:6-8 says “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously…” If you have that gift, why not exercise it today?
If you’re going to hear “well done” on judgment day, you’ve got to recognize before judgment day, that when God blesses you abundantly (which is true of every single one of us here in America) it’s so we can increase our standard of giving, not our standard of living.