Manspeak


Redeem: Your Money by Travis Evans
January 10, 2008, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Roles and Relationships

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By: Travis Evans

How do you spend your money? What is a priority for your money?

“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

[Speaking of tithing]
Of course, God doesn’t expect us all to give the same amount. We’re to give in proportion to how He’s blessed us. Some say, “We’ll take this gradually. We’re starting with 5 percent.” But that’s like saying, “I used to rob six convenience stores a year. This year, by His grace, I’m going to rob only three.” The point is not to rob God less — it’s not to rob God at all. True, some would be sacrificing more by giving 5 percent of their income than others would be by tithing or even giving 50 or 90 percent. Certainly the affluent should never “check off the box,” as if giving 10 percent automatically fulfills their obligation. The 90 percent belongs to God, too. He doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many givers. In the great majority of cases they mention tithing as the practice that first stretched them to give more. They tithed and then watched God provide. They saw their hearts move deeper into His kingdom. Now, years later, they’re giving 60, 80, or even 95 percent of their incomes!! But it was tithing that set them on the road to giving. When God’s people were robbing Him by withholding tithes and offerings, He said, “Test me in this…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10). Ironically, many people can’t afford to give precisely because they’re not giving (Haggai 1:9-11). If we pay our debt to God first, then we will incur His blessing to help us pay our debts to men. But when we rob God to pay men, we rob ourselves of God’s blessing. No wonder we don’t have enough. It’s a vicious cycle, and it takes obedient faith to break out of it. When people tell me they can’t afford to tithe, I ask them, “If your income was reduced by 10 percent would you die?” They say, “No.” And I say, “Then you’ve admitted that you can afford to tithe. It’s just that you don’t want to.” I’m not saying that it’s easy to give. I’m saying, and there are thousands who will agree, that it’s much easier to live on 90 or 50 or 10 percent of your income inside the will of God than it is to live on 100 percent outside it. – Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Pinciple

[Speaking of the rich young ruler and the traveler who found a treasure buried in the field]
This young man wasn’t willing to give up everything for a greater treasure, but our traveler in the field was. Why? Because the traveler understood what it would gain him. Do you feel sorry for the traveler? After all, his discovery cost him everything. But we aren’t to pity this man; we’re to envy him! His sacrifice pales in comparison to his reward. Consider the costs-to-benefits ratio–the benefits far outweigh the costs. The traveler made short-term sacrifices to obtain a long-term reward. “It cost him everything he owned,” you might lament. Yes, but it gained him everything that mattered. It we miss the phrase “in his joy”, we miss everything. The man wasn’t exchanging lesser treasures for greater treasures out of dutiful drudgery but out of joyful exhilaration. He would have been a fool not to do exactly what he did. Christ’s story about treasure in the field is an object lesson concerning heavenly treasure. Of course, no matter how great the value of that earthly fortune, it would be worthless in eternity. In fact, it’s exactly this kind of treasure that people waste their lives pursuing. Jesus is appealing to what we do value–temporary, earthly treasure–in order to make an analogy about what we should value–eternal, heavenly treasure. David spoke of such treasure: “I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil” (Psalm 119:162). God’s promises are eternal treasures, and discovering them brings great joy. In Matthew 6, Jesus fully unveils the foundation of what I call the Treasure Principle. It’s one of His most-neglected teachings: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21) – Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Pinciple


Resources:
The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn
True Riches – Joshua Harris
A Reason to Part With Your Money, pt. 1 – Bill Kittrell
A Reason to Part With Your Money, pt. 2 – Bill Kittrell

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