- A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD (2)
- BELIEVER'S AUTHORITY (35)
- BIBLICAL PROSPERITY-a Balanced Approach (36)
- BOOK OF ACTS OF THE APOSTLE (45)
- BOOK OF HEBREWS (41)
- BOOK OF REVELATION (35)
- FAITH (23)
- FIRST AND SECOND CORINTHIANS (45)
- FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE (42)
- HOLY SPIRIT (22)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF EPHESIANS (19)
- IN-DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS (21)
- IN DEPTH STUDY OF THE BOOK OF ROMANS (38)
- PROSPERITY (18)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE (5)
- PROVERBS CHALLENGE 2024 (4)
- STUDY OF ISAIAH (39)
- THE GREAT SHEPHERD (20)
Friday, August 17 2018
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In last week’s study we asked ourselves a very important question: “Is Financial Prosperity a Sign of Spirituality?” And in answering the question we learnt how thinking, teaching and believing that this is true is erroneous. Today’s study attempts to address another error. A popular teaching in recent years; that giving should be mechanically linked to getting. On other words, if you need something, give something. Sow a car to get a car. Sow a suit to receive a suit. Although this is not out rightly wrong, it is another example of taking a basic truth and carrying it to the extreme. Like any other biblical truth, there is a ditch of error on both sides of the road; and thus, balance is required.
Genesis 8:22 says: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
Luke 6:38 says: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
PLACING THE TRUTH IN VIEW – STRIKING THE BALANCE
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 says:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
On one side of the road, there are some people who do not seem to realize that God wants to bless them as we see in verse 8. They have no understanding at all of the practical application of the law of sowing and reaping in their personal lives. As a result, giving for them is strictly a matter of duty. They may give, but they have no faith or expectation whatsoever about receiving anything from God. This is unfortunate because they undoubtedly miss out on some of the blessings that God has for them.
On the other side of the road are the greedy folks who are attempting to use their giving to manipulate God. They try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine—put in your offering, pull the handle, and get your blessing back! This is certainly the wrong motive for giving.
Some people go so far with this kind of thinking that they get into foolishness, giving away their car in the hope of getting another, presumably better, car. These people sometimes end up walking for a long time!
It is a natural, God-given phenomenon that we usually reap more than we sow! (See Luke 6:38, Prov.11:24); but there is a thin line between the exercise of faith in sowing and covetousness! This thin line is called “motive”.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD
Romans 8:14-17 says:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
There are several instances when God would deal with an individual about giving his/her car to some person or ministry. And the person obeyed the Lord out of their love for Him, God blessed them in return, with another vehicle; and sometimes better ones. But God's specific, personal direction for one individual does not become an across-the-board doctrine for the whole Church. There is no spiritual formula to sow a Nissan and reap a Mercedes.
Many preachers have used the story of the widow of Zarephath as an example of a person giving out of her need and being prospered in return as a doctrine for giving. According to First Kings 17, there was a famine in the land, and this poor widow was down to her last handful of flour and few drops of oil. She was about to prepare one last meal for herself and her son and then starve to death. Elijah, the prophet, asked her to prepare a cake of bread for him first and then cook for herself and her son. He told her that the Lord said, "The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land"(see First Kings 17:14 NIV). When she obeyed by giving bread to Elijah, her supply was miraculously multiplied; she received bread. Jesus referred specifically to this event in the very beginning of His earthly ministry. He said in Luke 4:25-27 NIV:
"I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian"
GOD OPERATES ON PRICIPLES, BUT HE IS NOT STEREO-TYPED
The Bible clearly teaches that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). His love and blessings are available to all. But there is no absolute spiritual law that says every individual will experience the love and blessings of God in exactly the same way.
Jesus has made healing available for all. But we see from His dealings that not all lepers will be healed in the way that Naaman the leper was.
He also made prosperity available for all, but again, not all people are going to be prospered the way the widow of Zarephath was. God did not tell every leprous person to dip seven times in the Jordan River, and He didn't tell every needy person to give their last bit of food to Elijah. There are no one-size-fits-all rules for healing and prosperity.
If the Lord speaks to you in a clear and compelling way to give your coat to someone, then do it. But give it out of love and obedience to God. In that case, I believe God will reward you and not leave you shivering in your shirt sleeves. But be sure of your motives in giving your coat. Don't do it just because you heard the testimony of some other person who gave away a coat and was blessed with a new leather jacket. Don't say, "I want a leather jacket, too, so I'll give away my coat."
Our motives are crucially important. We need to be willing to give in obedience to God even if we never receive one thing in return. We must keep our hearts right and guard against covetousness. At the same time, we need to realize that God does want us to have faith, expecting Him to meet our needs.
Parts of this study was culled from the Midas Touch by Kenneth E Hagin