Are you a flowing River or a Stagnant Puddle?

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV) says:

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

In essence, we should give God a portion of our wealth (from the “firstfruits”).

Then in Luke 6:38 Jesus says:

“Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lapFor with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

(Note that while this section (Luke 6:37-42) is discussing “judging”, verse 38 is clearly discussing giving.  In other words, give instead of always judging.  Have an attitude of “what can I do for you” rather than “what is wrong with you”.  I take these two being put together (that is judging and giving) to mean that if we are to look at others and see their need we should try to fill it with our giving, rather than pointing at them and scoffing.)

By putting those two together (Proverbs and Jesus’ words) we can see that we should be giving to God and the measure we use to give to God will be used also for Him giving to us.

I would like to reveal to you that me and Presten have not been giving any money to God for a while.  There is simply no room in our current budget for tithing.  Of course I am sure some of you are thinking “then make a new budget” and you would be right, but it is never that simple, is it?  In order to make room for God other things must be cut.  And there are things that could be cut like, for example, our internet connection, or our car payment.  If we could cut out our car payment then we could afford to give God the usual 10% that we would like to give.

It makes me wonder, though, if perhaps the reason we have so little money is because we give God so little money.  Our “reason” is “there simply isn’t enough room to give God money", we have other priorities” so I am sure God is using that same measure, “I apologize, Witherspoon Family, but there simply is no money for you right now; I have other priorities like, for example, feeding the hungry.”

While I do not advocate giving to receive, one must wonder why they are not receiving. 

20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

So the problem here is obviously not that God does not have the means to give us more.  The problem is quite obviously that we are not giving to God so He is not giving to us.  As I said, I do not intend to give so that God will give to me.  But if I love the Lord as much as I do then why would I not offer Him a gift back to say, “thank you and I love you”? 

Consider this: there are two holidays (the origin of which I have no idea) that are of particular interest to parents – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  The purpose of these days (aside from boosting greeting card sales etc) is to give back a bit of gratitude to our Mothers and Fathers for all that they give us.  Our parents spend their entire lives caring for us (if you think they only spend 18 years then clearly you have no parents or no kids!) why wouldn’t we want to give back to them more than just these two days?  Someone once postulated that it costs more than $1,000,000 to raise one child.  So how much, then, should we monetarily repay our own parents for such a financial undertaking?

If, then, we dedicate so much love and repayment to our own biological, earthly parents, why would we not desire to repay our Heavenly Father so much more? He not only provided us with those parents, but also with the job we have, the spouse we have, the children we have, and any other good thing that has come into our life.  If you question whether a blessing is from God or not perhaps you need to read your Bible more, starting with James chapter 1!

I speak to myself here, folks!! I do not have a monetary job so I cannot give more than my own time, but I do help with the budget.  I know the need to give to God is there.  However, is it not easy to tell ourselves why we cant give to God during this economic crisis?

A good preacher once delivered a very good sermon: “We are a river, not a reservoir”.  It was about how money should flow through us, not to us and stop.  God blesses us with things and money and we should then give back to God and to others, and the cycle will continue.  But if we do not give then we will not receive.  Do you know what happens to a body of water that does not move?  My parents have a creek down at the bottom of the hill behind their house.  The creek has many twists and turns and when it rains the overflow of water will fill up the creek more than usual.  As the water flows and the rains stop puddles are left on the sides of the creek.  They are too far from the creek for the water to flow through them.  So as the day gets hotter they begin to get stagnate and stink!  Eventually they dry up and are gone until it rains again.

Are we like this sometimes?  God pours out so much blessing on us that we move father from Him (the creek and source of the water) and are on our own.  He stops blessing us because we have moved from Him and we begin to, well, stink!!  It is only when we draw near to Him that His blessings can again flow through us and make us alive again.  We should not hoard.  We should not worry about if the money will “run out”.  (Read Matthew 6:25-34)  God always provides us with what we need, and often what we want, as long as we are “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33).

Keep your eyes focused on Him and allow things to flow through you.  Bless others with the blessings He has given you.  Meanwhile, I am going to work to fix our budget.

How’s your budget??