Are You Just Looking On?

Today’s Reading — Ecclesiastes 5:11 — When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?

Derek Tidball once wrote — Money ….increases your appetite but not your satisfaction.

Selwyn Hughes wrote — There is nothing wrong with possessing money, of course; it is when money is allowed to possess you that trouble comes. My father wrote on the flyleaf of my Bible the day after I was converted: Money is a universal provider for everything but happiness and a passport everywhere but to heaven.

Hughes nailed our dilemma. If money can provide neither happiness nor a passport to heaven, it is significantly useless for Christians, except for the extent to which it enables ministry for Christ. John Wesley understood this and walked it out as he gave 80% of his income to the Lord’s work, and lived on 20%. Just as an exercise, consider what you would have to change in your life if you began immediately to give only 20% of your gross income to the Lord’s work. We know we should be living on less and giving more, but we allow our appetites to increase while our satisfaction languishes. Radical happiness comes from radical living. If you claim to be a follower of the most radical revolutionary who ever walked in the dust of the earth, Jesus Christ, where is the shadow of radicalism in your life?

Jesus hasn’t called us to drudgery. His call to walk from the gold standard to the God standard is a walk from worry to radical Peace, condemnation to radical Grace, self serving to radical generosity, and self worship to radical Love. His teachings are full of the call to radical living and radical giving, yet most of us trickle a little toward the work of the Lord, then hope secretly to be recognized for our faux generosity. John wrote — For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Solomon poses a great question for us today — So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? What is the advantage of financial increase to you? Do you need what you want? Have you become a benign worldly accumulator, always proudly looking on at what you have and rarely looking out at what others need? Have you become a spiritual bystander, saddened by the spiritually lost in your world, but unwilling to do much about it but look on as wickedness increases?

Let’s examine ours giving through the lens of just a single commandment of our Lord — Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. Christ wants to give you an abundant life, but to receive it and keep the gift, you must give it away. It takes great generosity to make disciples. Begin your generosity in the Kingdom by pouring out all God has poured into you. Who are you teaching? Who are you praying with? Who is following Christ by following you to Him? If you are observed and followed will your path lead to Christ? If you are the temple of the Living God, be a temple builder for the Kingdom of God. Give from your spirit first and your money will follow.

Break away from spiritual stinginess. Quit looking on at what you have. Start looking out at what you have to give.

Copyright 2008 © Stephen Faulkner and Mission of the Master Ministries, Inc.


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