29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then. — Mark 10:29-31 NLT
God has nothing against rich people or people that are successful from a worldly viewpoint. Riches, power and position are neutral and can be used for good or for evil. It is the misuse of these things that causes our issues with God. He allows us to have those things for His honor and His glory. We are to use whatever we have, be it little or be it much, as a means to an end, not the end itself. We should use those things for His glory here and now and be ready to give them up completely, if necessary. Any good thing that we have now comes from God and belongs to God. When properly used, it will bring glory to God now. If it is necessary for us to give it up to bring glory and honor to the Father, we will receive a return now and rewards in eternity. It is not about the amount we give, it is about the sacfrifice we make in giving to God. The poor widow put in two small coins, others gave much more, but only she recevied praise from Jesus. She gave her grocery money, they gave from their surplus. When we have the heart of the widow and give like she gave, then the blessings will come. Not because we gave a lot, but because we gave sacrifically, trusting God to meet our every need. Don’t be concerned about the amount or the percentage, don’t quit giving when it hurts, just keep giving until it feels good.
The purpose of every human is to glorify God. On an earlier occasion, Martha had complained about Mary setting at the feet of Jesus while she cooked and served the people. Now, Judas is complaining about Mary “wasting” the expensive perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus. God has gifted each of us with different talents to achieve His glory. Martha was a worker and a helper. She knew how to get things done. Mary had the gifts of giving and encouraging. Some of us are vessels of gold and silver while others are vessels of wood and earth. Sometimes we try to do things outside of our gifting and calling. Those are the times that cause problems in the body of Christ. If you haven’t already, ask God to show you the gift He has given you to glorify Him. The body of Christ needs each of us to fulfill our calling, God needs each of us to exercise our gift so that the body will be complete. Once you discover “what is right” for you, you will find the joy and peace that God wants to give each of His children every day.
1 My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another. 2 For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. 3 Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, “Please have a seat.” But you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor at my feet.” 4 Aren’t you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments?
—James 2:1-4 (GW)
We must be careful not to make quick judgments and choices based on how someone looks or the price of the clothes they wear. God created each of us in His image and has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We must learn to look at people as God sees them.
7 But the Lord told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart.”
–1 Samuel 16:7 (GW)
Of course, we can’t actually see into their hearts. So, what we must learn to do is withhold our opinions of them until we get to know them. Until then, we should not show favoritism to one person over another. We must also remember that whatever standards we use to judge and form our opinions of others are the same standards that will be used to judge us.
1 “Stop judging so that you will not be judged. 2 Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.–Matt. 7:1,2 (GW)
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
–James 1:9-12 (NKJV)
God lifts up those that are humble and lowly, so they should be thankful. God brings down the rich, so that they realize they can’t help themselves. They need God just as much as those that are poor. When we go to the grave, we can take nothing with us. Rich or poor, when we meet Jesus face to face, the thing that matters is that we have accepted Him as our Savior. All the material things that we have on earth are meaningless when we reach heaven. We shall all be tested and made to endure temptations. If we endure those temptations and stand before God approved, we will be given the Crown of Life. Do not confuse the Crown of Life with salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God, the Crown of Life is something we earn while we are on earth and it is given to us in heaven. That is why we are admonished to lay up our rewards in heaven and not material things here on earth. Earthly rewards fade away, but heavenly rewards are eternal. The Crown of Life is one of 5 crowns that we can earn. These crowns are not for us to wear and strut around heaven showing them to everyone. The purpose of the crowns is for us to cast them at the feet of Jesus to give Him glory and Honor.
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”–Revelation 4:9-11 (NKJV)
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.–2 Corinthians 9:6-9 (NLT)
We have just gone through the Christmas season. A season well known for giving gifts. How many of those gifts were given to family and friends who had no need for anything more than they already had? It is a good tradition to continue to show appreciation for those close to us. But, as Christians, we should feel a deep desire to help those around us that are less fortunate. It is an extension of God’s love that He showed to us when He sent Jesus as our Savior. We were poor, wretched, and blind, but He gave His all for us. We should not limit our giving to a season. Those around us need more than 2 meals a year. In God’s mathematics, giving does not subtract from our supply, in the end it actually increases our abundance.
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)