In the late 1800’s and 1900s, there lived a man who had a dream of opening a clothing business. When he started in the business, the business was performing poorly, his health was declining and he experienced a physical collapse. Poverty was no stranger to this man throughout his business career. As he was gradually regaining his health in a rehabilitation center, he heard someone play hymns on the organ and it was there where he bowed down and proclaimed: “Lord, I’m giving my life to You.”
He made a decision to follow the Lord and honor Him in his finances, whether in poverty or wealth. It is said that he regularly gave onto the Lord upwards to 90% of his income. At the end of his life in 1971, he left behind a 1,660-store empire that he built on the foundation of God’s principles, including finances.
You may have walked into one of his many clothing stores on Black Friday or casual occasion. This individual’s name was James Cash Penney, better known as the founder of the J.C. Penney stores.
Giving for Eternity
There are countless stories of people like James Cash Penny, who reap the benefits of practicing generosity. Please note that this is not endorsing the prosperity Gospel. God never promised that you will be wealthy if you give financially, let alone own a multi-billion dollar enterprise. However, the Bible does contain promises to those who give joyfully and generously.
God was not surprised that finances would be one of the most challenging struggles for humankind. This is why the most popular and most mentioned topic in the Bible is money and finances. There are over 2000 verses on money alone.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21
To know what people value in their lives, take a look at the ways they spend their time and money.
Finances can imprison, trap, and steal joy if you allow it. As a result, we function from a state of lack rather than gratitude. We believe that accumulation leads to prosperity, but not always prosperity in the mind and soul. Instead, we fool ourselves into the world’s ways of managing finances. We are taught to save, invest, and accumulate for retirement, which are all great principles of finance, but they do not keep eternity in mind.
Imagine your last day on Planet Earth and you finally meet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords face-to-face. He asks you: “What have you done with what you were given? What have you done in my name?” You respond with “I saved and invested for retirement. I was able to go on nice vacations with my family, raise my kids to graduate college, and enjoyed life after 65.” Again, these are all wonderful pleasures from God but He called us to a higher calling than earthly gains and pleasures.
So, why should we give and what do I get out of this? Here are two promises from God when you give in His name:
1) IT’S NOT ALL YOURS, AND HE WILL GIVE YOU MORE.
“God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8
As a child, I was a huge fanatic for McDonald’s chicken nuggets and my Dad would buy them for me because he loves me. When my dad asked for a chicken nugget, I would selfishly say no because I wanted all of the chicken nuggets to myself. When I would feel guilty for saying no, I begrudgingly allowed him to have one nugget maximum out of six nuggets. Looking back, I honestly admit I was very naive and ungrateful at that time. As a 25-year-old now, I knew my dad could have taken the nuggets away from me. My dad didn’t need my nuggets; he could easily have bought the nuggets with his own money. He could have stopped paying for my nuggets altogether. My dad was the sole source of my chicken nuggets and without him, I would not have enjoyed the pleasures of McDonald’s chicken nuggets as a child.
This seems like a silly illustration but the point is everything we have are gifts from God. Your car is a blessing, your home is a gift, and your money is no exception. God the Father can easily take away your possessions if He willed it. He doesn’t need our money. He just wants us to learn to be unselfish and generous.
According to 2 Corinthians 9:8, God says if we practice generosity, He will give us everything we need and exceedingly more, so we’ll have enough to bless others.
We are stewards, not owners of wealth, and God is looking for people who are willing to be used as a blessing to others.
If you will learn to be generous, God will bless you more than you can imagine!
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2) EARTHLY PLEASURES, HEAVENLY REWARDS
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
You will not take your career, 401(k), investments, and material possessions with you to heaven. We live on earth for at most 100 years but we spend forever in eternity in heaven. The world’s values teach us to live for today (YOLO) and enjoy the pleasures of life while we still can. God teaches us to invest in Heaven, where you will be spending eternity. When you use your money for good in Jesus’ name, you are investing in Heaven.
When your time is up, God is not going to ask how far you achieved your career or how much money is in your bank account.
He will ask you what you did with the money you have been entrusted with, and the best investment you can make is in the Eternity Fund.
The Bible says that wherever your treasure is, your heart will be there also. If the things on this earth are most important to you, then you are moving farther away from your treasure with each passing day.
If you are investing in God’s funds and using your money to serve God’s purposes, then you are storing up treasure in Heaven and getting closer to your treasure. Practically speaking, using your money for God can look like tithing, buying a homeless man food, or advancing His kingdom. Investing in God’s kingdom is the only guaranteed return on investment, much more than Amazon’s 60,000%+ return.
Questions to Reflect On: How am I using my money for God’s kingdom? Am I being a steward rather than an owner of my money? Is my heart pointed towards eternity or earth?