Monday, January 24, 2011

First Things First

I've been reading The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Essentially, the book is a simple, straightforward guide to "unlocking the secret to joyful giving."

I'm not quite halfway through the book, but I have to admit that I am really enjoying it. Alcorn explains things in such a way that Biblical truths do not come across as "high and mighty" or "holier than thou." He doesn't lay a guilt trip on the reader who doesn't give. Instead, he explains not only why we should give, but also the many benefits that go along with it.

But, first things are first. Before we ever think about GIVING, we must recognize who is the one true owner of all the "stuff" in the world.

Treasure Principle Key #1 - God owns everything. I am His money manager.

God created everything. By everything, I mean EVERY thing. He loved us so much that He even created a bunch of stuff to give us pleasure. But, we must be responsible stewards of the stuff He's allowed us to use during our time here on earth.

King David agreed. When he was leading the mother of all stewardship campaigns for the Temple that his son, Solomon, would ultimately build, he was overwhelmed with God's love. He expressed gratitude to God for allowing him to be just a small part of His overall plan:

11 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. 12 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.
13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.
16 “O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! 17 I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously. (1 Chronicles 29:11-17 NLT)

So, before we spend, save, or squander, let's make sure we understand that it all belongs to God. That car. That house. That iPhone. That iPad. That chair. That laptop. That child. That spouse. All of it. Then, thank Him for allowing you to enjoy these things, if even for just a short while.

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