Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Truth About New Covenant Giving Part 3

S. Michael Durham

In our last article we examined how the grace of giving works in the believer. We stated it works irrespective of economic class. From the wealthiest to the poorest the grace of giving can work. Second, we saw this grace work beyond human ability. It can empower you to give beyond what you think.

Let’s continue with a third way the grace of giving works in Christians: it works in the heart first, then the pocketbook. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the grace of giving in the Macedonian church and said, “And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:5). They did not just give money; they gave themselves. God doesn’t need nor want money; He wants you. Giving money without giving yourself does not work. I think this is the reason God gave mankind the concept of money.

Let me explain. There are two things that reveal a man’s heart: relationships and money. Usually money is deemed the most important since many relationships end over money. It has been stated the average American spends six hours shopping a week but only 40 minutes playing with his or her child. Money can consume the heart so quickly and do it in a way that seems harmless. The Bible warns of this again and again. Richard Halverson said, “All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles money.” Therefore, I believe God gave the concept of money to man to tell a man’s heart. It always reveals what a man loves most. Did not Jesus say, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21)?

Not only did the Lord give money to tell a man’s heart but also to test it. Your use of money tells how much authority God has over your heart. If money has any grip on your heart, it will be there you will find the end of God’s authority over your heart.

Lastly, God also gave money to train a man’s heart. It is a constant challenge for most believers to keep selfishness at bay. Money and possessions is a constant tool the Lord uses to teach us to be like Him. We are never more like Christ than when we are giving. He will repeatedly come to us and ask us to give something away, perhaps things we consider dear, in order to develop Christ-likeness.

So, in the end, God’s grace works in you to give yourself. Once He has you, He will have your wallet.

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