It is important for us to remember that everything we have here on earth is a gift from God. It doesn’t matter who signs the paycheck, God is ultimately our resource. We are to be good stewards of all of the resources God gives us. This includes our time as well as our finances. Just as He has the authority to raise up leaders and put people in positions of authority, He can raise us up financially or He can bring us down if we trust only in our finances. Any gift that God gives to us is to be used not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of those He puts in our paths each day. The ultimate use of the resources God has put under our authority is to expand the Kingdom of God. It isn’t that God “needs” us or our finances, He has chosen to use us in His work. That requires us to be obedient to His precepts. Unless you are using more than 10% of your time and money for God, you haven’t started giving yet. Give generously and cheerfully and be prepared for a great blessing from the Lord.
38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. – Luke 6:38 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
This passage from Isaiah is one of the many prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. It gives us several of the characteristics of Jesus; wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Notice that not only did He have the “fear of the Lord”, but He delighted in that fear. Though, He was God, He came to us as all man. As a man, His access to divine knowledge was limited. He did this voluntarily so that He might live as all man so that He might be an example to us.
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.– Phil 2:6, 7 ESV
We, as humans, have access to that same Spirit. In fact, that Spirit lives inside each of us. He gave us this Spirit as a gift. So, our lives should exhibit those same characteristics, at least to some degree. To what degree depends completely on our commitment to spend time in His presence praying, meditating on His Word, and listening to His voice. The reason we need to do this is that there is so much more Jesus wants to give us but He will not force it upon us, we have to ask Him for it and delight in receiving it. How can we know that He will give us more?
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:32 NIV
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
After all the trials and the persecutions that Jesus went through on Thursday night, early Friday morning, He had to take up his Cross and carry it out of the city. Along the way, Simon of Cyrene was ordered to help carry the Cross for Jesus. While we can’t carry the actual wooden cross that Simon bore for Jesus, we each have a path that God has laid out for us. Somewhere along that path, we will meet Jesus. Then we will either accept Him or reject Him. If we accept Him, there will be a cross for us to bear. The cross may be financial, it may be physical, it may include rejection and persecution, but whatever cross we are called to bear, we can be sure that if we have listened to the whispers of the Holy Spirit and we have been obedient, we will be prepared for it. If the cross seems more than we can bear, it may be because we have not yet decided to die to our own desires. The only way to save our lives is to lose them for Jesus.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
This is one of those verses that just about everyone knows even if they have very limited familiarity with the Bible. We need to ask ourselves if we truly believe this verse. How many of us have ever really experienced an unfulfilled need in our lives? If we don’t count the days that we fast or the times we missed a meal because we chose to, have we ever had a day when we didn’t have three meals or at least have the opportunity to have three meals? Most of us could probably go ten days or more without wearing any of our clothes twice. If we are honest, the large majority of those reading this have never experienced a true “need” in our lives. The truth is that we in the United States could probably clothe most of the needy in our land by giving away the clothes we don’t need or wear. We could feed families on the food we throw away. When we pray that God will feed the hungry and clothe the needy, do we ever consider that He might be saying to us, “I have but you haven’t passed it on to them yet”? Maybe God has chosen not to give us any more until we use what we have got for His honor and glory by helping others.
The disciples knew that Jesus had been tired and weary because of the journey from Judea, so they were encouraging Him to eat physical food. Jesus tells them that He has a food that they know nothing about. They don’t understand that He is referring to a Spiritual food that refreshes Him more than physical or natural food ever could. It was hard for them and it is hard for us to understand that Jesus could become so involved in doing God’s work that nothing else matters. The work of the Father was His very life and His sustenance. Natural food has to be taken and eaten to give us refreshment and life, but Spiritual food must be given away to have the same effect on the giver and the receiver. In the natural order of things, we have to plow, sow and wait to reap and eat the food and the fields can only be harvested at certain times of the year. In the Kingdom of God, the spiritual food is always available with us doing no work to receive it. The fields are always white and ready for harvest. Let each of us pray that the work of God becomes more important than food and water in our lives. What good is there in sustaining the natural if the spiritual dies? We can eat all the Spiritual food we can get. It will fill us with Life but we should never be satisfied.
3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. — Galatians 4: 3-7 NIV
Unlike humans, God is not concerned with the segments of time, such as minutes. hours, days, months, etc. He sees things throughout eternity. There is a “set time” for all of the events in His plan to take place. God is never surprised by any event or action by any being. God did not see man sin and then quickly devise a plan to redeem him from that sin. The plan had been put into place “before the creation of the world”.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. — Eph. 1:3, 4 NIV
As the Divine Trinity, He could not shed blood, but He had ordained that without the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness of sin.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. — Hebrews 9:22 NIV
To fulfill the law, He, Himself, became human so that He might shed His blood for our sins.
But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. — Hebrews 9:26a-28 NIV
He came that we might be redeemed, forgiven, and made sons of the only true and living God. He placed HIs Spirit inside of us that we might call out to HIm, “Abba, Father”. We, who were once slaves to sin, have now been made sons and heirs of the Father. And He is coming again to complete our salvation and take us home to live with Him for eternity. There is no better gift to be given and no better reason to celebrate a birth! From slaves to sons, from heathens to heirs! Celebrate! Give gifts!
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” — Luke 3:10, 11 NIV
13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.–Romans 12:13 NIV
God has appointed each of us to be stewards of certain resources. We should always remember that those resources originated from and belong to Him. We, as His children, are the distribution system He has chosen to use. How well we do that can have a direct result on how much of His resources we are allowed to manage.
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’–Matt. 25:21 NIV
Our love and charity should begin at home.
8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.–1 Tim. 5:8 NIV
Then, each church congregation should take care of it’s members.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.–Gal. 6:9,10 NIV
Then, we are instructed to love our neighbors, which, in Biblical context, is everybody. We show this love by practicing hospitality to everyone.
It behooves each of us to ask the Holy Spirit to show us how to be better stewards of the resources God has given us.