Thursday, July 26, 2007

God Doesn't Need Your Money (July 2007 Article)

I imagine when you read the headline to this article, your immediate reaction fell into one of two responses: (1) “What in the world!!?? or (2) “That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!” But before you get a little too polarized in your beliefs, let me state this plainly once more - and I’ll ask that you take a moment to really think about this statement before reading on: God doesn’t need your money.

Those who know me are probably thinking, “He works for a church. How in God’s green earth can the boy have the audacity to make such a controversial statement about God and money?” Well, that’s a perfect segue for me to jump right in.

Before I state my case, I think we can all agree that because God is God – all-knowing and all-powerful – He doesn’t really ever need anything from us. Sure, He loves when we bring stuff to Him – physically and emotionally – but He is never in need.

And keeping this in mind, the first thing we’ve all got to realize is that “it ain’t our money” - despite our seagull mentality (remember the scene from Finding Nemo pictured above?). I know, them is fightin’ words…but when you take a stroll back to Genesis and creation, we see that God created everything. And, even though it never says, “And on the third day, God created the printing press and the federal mint,” what it does say quite plainly is that He made everything in the heavens and the earth. And, even though He created everything we can see and touch, it wasn’t until the sixth day that He molded His most prized creation: mankind.

Which brings me to my next point. While God did give us the means to print money and mint coins, He made one thing very clear when He made you and me: that we are given dominion over the things of this earth. In plain English, that means we’re supposed to take care and manage the stuff He has given to us.

Two of my favorite verses in the Bible can be found in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12:

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. (NLT)

You see, as much as I’d like to take credit for what I’m writing, these ideas really stem from my man David, who as King of Israel, made this statement to the entire nation as they were preparing to build the temple to the Lord. Here is a man who had experienced unsurpassed wealth, power, and honor in his lifetime making a bold declaration to his nation that everything belongs to God, and that God alone determines our status or position. That’s a big deal.

You may ask, “So, why should I tithe” or “Why do I need to give to a church building campaign” or “Why should I write a check to little Johnny for his mission trip?” if God is in control of it all. Well, in short, it’s because He has chosen us to do His work. God wasn’t completely satisfied with His creation until He created man. And, man became His chosen vessel for His work.

I, for one, am actually pretty relieved that the tithe (which literally means “a tenth”) was what God asked us to bring to Him. After all, most of Jesus’ first disciples gave up virtually everything – family, home, and everything they owned – to follow God’s Son. Living off 90 percent sounds like a pretty fair shake to me!

But even when God asked us to “bring the whole tithe” to Him, He didn’t just leave it there. Being a kind, compassionate, and graceful God, He delivered a challenge and a promise along with it. “Test me in this," He said, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

A few years ago, my wife and I tested Him – and He delivered on that promise. I urge you to put God to the “tithe test” – then sit back and watch Him work as He shows you what His version of a blessing really looks like!

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