Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10 NIV)
This morning as I prayed, read, prayed some more, and read some more of God's Word, I came to a road block in my thoughts. The road block came in the form of the verse in scripture above that I and so many others stumble all over in our daily lives, weekly agendas, bi-weekly decisions and monthly outcome. What am I getting at? Money. Money, is what makes a person's heart beat faster and eyes gleam more. Money, can make it all go away, or bring on some horrific pain.
Today, I will share with you some of my money experiences. I will be open and honest with how terrible I have been with money, and some wonderful things I have been a part of through respecting money.
From as far as I can remember money and I have not gotten along well. Money would come into my hand one moment to leave quickly the next. Sounds familiar? I have misspent money on everything from candy to cars with a lack of responsibility and wisdom. I have bought in great abundance what wasn't greatly needed. I have spent frivolously on so many things, that eventually I grew numb to the things I bought. It wasn't about the material things I had acquired, but simply the act of buying things. You'll get a kick out of this. I actually spent about $200 on an outfit just to go out on a date with a girl. That is NUTS! What was the result of that lack of love and respect? I barely had any money for the date, and afterwards I was broke until I got paid again, which was a painful 2 weeks. Although money and I seemingly have been enemies it's not on the account of money but my general lack of love and respect.
I have experienced great things with money. I have given cheerfully to my church (Potential Church), and ministries that spoke life into me, and in that I have exemplified the joy of obedience. God's Word says two important aspects of living a loving and respectful life in such areas, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7) and again here, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” “The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18). I love how the writer of 1 Timothy brings across the picture words with ox and worker. Both are used to describe those who speak, teach, and live the Word of God out. That being Pastors, teaches of the Word of God alike. But, I desire to continue giving freely and cheerfully. Why!? It's because I desire a life completely consumed with joy.
I'm sure you're wondering why I wrote 'lack of love and respect.' I wrote this intentionally to get your attention, that is, if you're paying attention. If I had love for God I wouldn't have disrespected the money He gave me. He gave you, you ask!? Yes. God is the giver of wealth. This is what His Word says on the subject, 'But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth..' (Deuteronomy 8:18). Of course you're thinking this right now, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” (Deuteronomy 8:17). If that is your thinking as it was my thinking before you would be wrong! Now, I understand how hard it is to just "giveaway," your hard earned money, but it wasn't yours in the first place. Now how's that!? You ask. Well, let us revisit what the Creator God says about wealth once again, ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. (Haggai 2:8). So, what can be gathered alone from the words in this paragraph? Not only does God own all the wealth on this land, but also gives the ability to produce it.
We can start out with something very necessary for our ability to produce wealth...oxygen. We don't produce oxygen, but we certainly use up as much as we possibly can every second we get! You may be asking, now what does money have to do with oxygen and me breathing!? Well, once again, God gave you the ability to produce wealth as it states above, and breathing is production, and oxygen is a wealth to our lively hood, but I won't try to prove my point but let the Word of God stand alone in truth, as is written, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. (Genesis 1: 1-13).
You know what I find amazing which God made clear to me this very moment!? In the first 3 days of creation, God created almost all the wealth for the entire earth (and I say almost all of it, as I didn't include the animals He created but it's all there and you can read the truth in Genesis for yourselves), and the staple for our ability to produce wealth starts with our very lives, and without oxygen in which is created by the sun, water and vegetation working together in perfect harmony we would cease to live. And it just so happens that God created all those things in order for oxygen to be possible. That is absolutely amazing! Praise God!
Now you may wonder what does all this have to do with me!? I wondered that myself. This all came about as I was praying and truly crying out to God to guide my steps, my thoughts and my actions then my pursuits in life aren't aimless. Why? Because, I desire to have the great wealth God speaks of in Malachi 3:10, in order that I simply can have a beautiful relationship with God in which there's an exchange of Love & Respect between the Creator of Wealth and the one receiving the wealth that I may be able to give this wealth to many others as well as provide for my family. Amen.
I don't know about you, but it's my heart's desire that all of us will stand before God, and His response to the lives we lived and what we accomplished with the wealth He gave us; being our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and every other portion of His wealth be, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21).
Amen. God, thank you for the honor to share Your Word with many, knowing it will never return void, as Your Word speaks such an encouragement to me in that You say, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11 NIV). Amen!
Beloved, as always...YOU ARE LOVED.