We have discussed how vital it is that we come to Christ in surrender, receive the free gift of Salvation, and then grow into His likeness in the most central and powerful Ripple called New You. We spent many weeks talking about the importance of our physical, mental and emotional health in the Ripple Health Seekers. We defined and validated the significance of marriage, our most intimate earthly relationship in the Ripple Affectionately Yours. And we touched on the outcome of this loving union as we talked about in the Balanced Parenting Ripple. Now, and for the next several weeks, we move into another very impactful area of life I call the Effective Finances Ripple. As always, we must start with God’s Word, listen:
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” 1Pe 4:10 ESV
God is the Provider. Everything we have is a gift from God. Apart from God, we have nothing. This is true whether we acknowledge it, or not. It is God who created all that is seen and unseen. (Col 1:6) It is God who brought us to life by breathing into our nostrils the breath of life. (Gen 2:7) It is God who gives us health, so we can make wealth. (Dt 8:18) It is God who provides the rains so food can grow, and the snow so the land can rest. It is God who makes the sun shine warmly so we can enjoy the outdoors, and the wind to blow so it won’t be overly hot. Do I need to go on? Everything is a gift from God, and apart from Him, we have nothing…and moreover, we ARE nothing. For this reason, God created us in His Image, so we can love Him and others like we love ourselves. Apart from His Grace and Mercy, we could not relish peace, benefit from joy, or sense righteousness. And then there is the Fruit of the Spirit that believers receive at Salvation. Could we be consistently, and constantly patient, kind, good, faithful and gentle? Would we even want to live with self-control??? No, my Friends, it is good, and humbling, to know that everything is a gift from God!
God is the Giver. God gives us everything we could ever need, this includes our finances. Is this true? Well, what about the poor? First, please note I said God gives us everything we “need,” not necessarily everything we “want.” As difficult as it is for us to understand this side of Heaven, sometimes poverty is what is needed. After all, how can those who “have” exercise generosity and compassion if there is no one in need? Jesus said we will always have the poor amongst us, and this can be for so many different reasons. Whether it is from poor health, poor surroundings or poor decisions, being poor can be a great gift. I remember hearing a story about a missionary who brought home one of the young man he was ministering to in a very poor and desolate part of the world. This adolescent villager slept in a bed for the very first time in his life. He ate decadent meals at several restaurants, visited well stocked stores with all sorts of goods and products. And every Sunday, he even sat in a luxurious church, filled with lush pews and beautiful curtains. He was very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to take this trip. This wise youth was here in this blessed land for a couple of weeks before he was to return to his little, extremely modest community. When he was asked if he would like to stay here, this was his incredible response, “Oh no, thank you! There is so much wealth here that I am almost forgetting my Lord!” Did you see that? When we have too much, we tend to forget the One Who gave it al to us. May we all learn from this very discerning believer!
God is the Lord. We are His stewards, and very blessed to be so! In the medieval days, lordship and stewardship were understood very well. The lord of the land owned everything, but allowed the villagers to use the land to both live in and enjoy life. In return, these peasants would give the lord of the land some of the produce they grew as a payment of gratitude. Their homes, their gardens, their shops and so on all belonged to the lord of the land, and he would keep all those who lived in his land, as well as all they used, safe, protected from foreign invaders. Fast forward to today, do we get this, my Friends? God is the Lord of lords…forget about only the Lord of the lands! He owns everything (see Ps 24:1), yet He allows us to both live on this earth and to enjoy life. Our homes, gardens, shops and so on are only granted to us by His generosity and Grace. He keeps us safe…if not in this land, then certainly in the next…from the real invaders. Do we ever think of giving our Lord a payment in gratitude for all He has given us? Listen, God doesn’t need our money. Again, He owns it all! (check out Ps 50:7-15) But our gratitude? This is the heart He desires more than anything else. He is our Lord, who not only made and granted us all we have, from time and talents to treasures and beyond, but He is also the Lord Who died for us, so we can live forever. My Friends, next time we are tempted to claim ownership of anything God has gifted us, let’s pause and remember who is Lord and who is steward.
We are stewards. It is an honor and privilege to have all things come to us, then through us. They come to us as a blessing, so we can enjoy, but then they should go through us, so others may enjoy also. I have found that God always provides for my needs, and He even grants me a lot of wants too. And the more I imitate Him out of a cheerful and grateful heart, the more of the Abundant Life I experience. (2Co 9:7) Do you want more of it too? Then won’t you join me?
Until we meet again, keep lifting your eyes to God, He’s closer than you think.
<>< Peace, Diane