A Generous Heart

God owns it all: from the money in your bank account, to the clothes on your body, to the house you call your home.  As Christians, we are merely stewards of God’s possessions while we are alive on this earth.  One day we will all be held responsible for how we handle the Lord’s possessions, after all, I have never seen a camel pass through the eye of a needle (referencing Matthew 19:24).

Let me first make this abundantly clear: it is ok to be “rich!”  Having a lot of money is in no way a sin; how you choose to utilize the money and resources will dictate whether it is sinful or not. 1 Timothy 6:17-18 (NIV) states “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” Paul’s writing here never mentions anything about rich people being automatically condemned to hell, rather he simply tells the rich to be good stewards of their money and never to put their hope in money, but only in God.

Let me also make this very clear: it is ok to be “poor!”  Being less financially well off does not mean that God trusts you any less than those He entrusts to be financially stable; this merely means He is giving you a different life challenge.  He is testing to see if you will trust in Him to provide for you and your family.  Going back to Timothy 6:17, Paul writes “…but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” if you put your hope in God, he will always, without fail, provide for you.

Regardless of what kind of wealth God has granted you with, there is one thing both rich and poor Christians can do alike: give.  The Old Testament instructs followers of God to give ten percent of their first fruits to the Church, along with giving elsewhere. In the New Testament, the birth of Jesus marked a new covenant with humanity, and anyone who believes He is the Son of God is to follow His teachings.  Jesus demonstrated His view on giving in Mark chapter 12 when watching a crowd of people give their donations to the church and many rich people gave large amounts of money.  Then a poor widow came and donated a few cents. Jesus told his disciples, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44, NIV).  Jesus does not want us to give an arbitrary percentage of our wealth to the Church, rather, He wants us to give to the church out of faith.  For some that may well be ten percent, for others one percent and for others maybe even fifty percent. The wonderful thing is it is not mine or anyone else’s place to tell you how much to give; that is between you and God.

Take a moment to reflect on how you are spending God’s money.  While giving is extremely important, giving is not the only way we honor God through finances.  If you truly believe God owns it all, every penny in your bank account and every asset you own, then does not every financial decision you make represent your love for God?  As you move forward with your day and hopefully consider your own giving history, I leave you with one last message from the Apostle Paul, “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” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV).