Your Very Life

Living where Life is

Month: December 2016

Will it be worth it?

imgresAt Grace, we are just coming through a season where we’ve made 3-year commitments to give over and above our regular giving. God has given us a “Vision 2020”, and he’s moved us to be part of it.  Planting churches, bigger missionary footprint, stronger discipleship, multi-ethnicity.

One of the questions people have (whether they verbalize it or not) about giving radically and sacrificially, is this: “will it be worth it? How do I know this is a good thing?”

Let me give you 6 reasons it is always worth it to make more of our resources available to God’s work

1) You are making an investment, not a gift. God never asks for charity. He asks for clear-minded investment: “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven,” Jesus tells us (Mt 6:20).  This is investment advice.  He’s not saying, “you’ve been given so much, can’t you spare some?” He’s saying, “I’ve got an investment tip for you… you can lay up some treasure…” Giving to the Kingdom is investing.  What you and I won’t know until the next life is ‘what kind of return is it?’ We can be reasonably sure that God won’t be paying us back with USD or British pounds.  But what? I don’t know.  I just know what Jesus says: invest in treasure that will last.

2) “He who sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor 9:6). This seems more direct & ‘this life’ than the previous point. One thing I’ve noticed: I’ve never seen someone (high or low income) who lives generously ever go without anything they need (and many things they want). Without drifting into prosperity gospel garbage, I’ve seen God bring generous harvests on those who have sowed generously.  And, I’m amazed at people who struggle financially… almost all of them have been sparing in their giving.

3) “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  is this really true? Well, it has to be because Jesus said it.  So, how is it true? As a kid, I didn’t believe it! But, as I’ve gotten older (and hopefully less selfish!), I’ve had the joy of giving special things to special folks: an engagement ring to my wife; the long-talked-about, longed-for Christmas gift to my boys; a surprise party here, an afternoon of company there. God fills and blesses the one who pours out on his behalf.  The one who keeps things has little blessing from them, if they’re not being used. The one who makes them available to others has the blessing of providing in need.

4) “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). It’s just fun to be able to know that God loves it when I do something! This is concrete, and specific.  Every time I give with joy and good cheer, God loves it.

5) Jesus tells a difficult parable about he “dishonest manager” in Luke 16. He makes the point afterward of saying, “if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” The point is clear: the stuff we have now is a practice or a proving ground for the stuff we will receive.  If earthly wealth has such a hold on us, why would we be trusted with that which is even more valuable.

6) God is always worth it. He just is. He is so much more gracious and generous, powerful and purposeful, loving and caring, good and guiding than we’ll ever know! So, to give to this God is always and eternally a good thing.

Six quick reasons why it’s always worth it to give to God’s work.  Even apart from sheer obedience or heartfelt gratitude. May God grant that every person who calls themselves a Christian would grow in this grace of giving, with the full confidence that it IS worth it.

Peace with our Past & Future

urlRomans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

We talked on Sunday about the 5 directions in which we need Peace:  Peace with God, Peace with ourselves, Peace with our past, our future, and with others. You can watch it here (click the “archive” tab in the middle of the screen)

For Peace with our past and future, we considered how Romans 8:28 brings great courage – because God is at work in us.  I quoted the following from Charles Spurgeon, and several of you have asked for it.

“Everything that happens to you is for your own good. If the waves roll against you, it only speeds your ship toward the port. if lightning and thunder come, it clears the atmosphere and promotes your soul’s health. You gain by loss, you grow healthy in sickness, you live by dying…

“Could you ask for a better promise (than Rom 8:28)? It is better that all things should work for my good than all things should be as i would wish to have them. All things might work for my pleasure and yet might all work my ruin. If all things do not always please me, they will always benefit me. This is the best promise of this life.”

Amen and amen.

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