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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Being Faithful Will Help Me Be Generous

In review of Luke 16:11-13 it says, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (NIV).

Today’s passages come from the first part of Luke 16, where Jesus tells us the parable of the shrewd manager. After being notified of his impending termination, the corrupt manager invited those who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He had each of the adjust down their debt, so that they would be favorable to him after he was let go. The rich employer had to admire the dishonest manager for being so shrewd. The children of this world are more shred in dealing with the world around them than the children of the light. Here's the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when you possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

Jesus then tells me that If I am faithful in little things, I'll be faithful in large ones. But if I am dishonest in little things, I won't be honest with greater responsibilities. And if I am untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust me with the true riches of heaven? And if I am not faithful with other people's things, why should I be trusted with things of my own?

No one can serve two masters. For I will hate one and love the other; I’ll will be devoted to one and despise the other. I cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

It turns out that the use of money is a good test of my lordship to Christ. I must remember (1) Money belongs to God, not me; therefore let me use my resources wisely. (2) Money can be used for good or evil; so I should use mine for good. (3) Money has a lot of power; I should use it carefully and thoughtfully. I must use my material goods in a way that will foster faith and obedience.

I am to make wise use of the financial opportunities I have, not to earn heaven but to help people find Christ. If I use my money to help those in need or to help others find Christ, my earthly investment will bring eternal benefit. When I obey God's will, the unselfish use of possession will follow.

My integrity is often put on the line in money matters. God calls me to be honest even in small details I could easily ignore. Heaven's riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth. But If I am not trustworthy with my money here (no matter how much or little I have), I will be unfit to handle the vast riches of God's Kingdom. I should be sure that I maintain my integrity in all matters, whether big or small.

Money can easily take God's pace in my life. It can become my master. How can I tell if I'm a slave to money? Ask: Do I think and worry about it frequently? Do I give up doing what I should do or would like to do in order to make more money? Do I spend a great deal of my time caring for my possessions? Is it hard for me to give money away? Am I in debt?

Money is a hard and deceptive master. Wealth promises power and control, but often it cannot deliver. Great fortunes can be made and lost overnight, and no amount of money can provide health, happiness, or eternal life. How much better it is to let God be my master. His servants have peace of mind and security, bot now and forever.

Faithful people are generous when they don’t have anything to give. Anybody can be generous when they have a surplus. I can be generous with my time when I’ve got a lot of extra time. I can be generous with my money when I’ve got a lot of extra money. I can be generous with my energy when I’ve got extra energy to spend. It’s when I don’t have enough time for me, enough energy for me, enough money for me, enough talent for me that God says, “This is a test. I’m watching you to see if you are faithful. Will you be faithful, and will you trust me?”

Here are five principles in which God will test and then bless me:

1. God gives to generous people. Why does God want me to be generous? Because he wants me to be like him.
2. Obeying God’s vision will bring God’s provision. If you do what God tells you to do, God will bring along the resources you need at the right time. What he’s given me the vision for, he will give me the provision for.
3. When I do all that God tells me to do, he does what I can’t do. God often asks me to do the impossible to stretch my faith. When I give what little I have, God multiples it and makes up for it.
4. When I have a need, I sow a seed. Whatever I need in my life, sow that as a seed, and it will come back to me.
5. There’s always a delay between sowing and reaping. There is a season between planting and harvesting. What’s going on during that delay? It’s a test of your faith.

So the question for me is will I be faithful to give when I have little? Will I keep on doing the right thing? Will I do what God wants me to do, no matter the cost, and then see what God does?

Bottom Line:
How we handle worldly wealth, things or responsibilities will show where our hearts are. Be careful what you love and put your devotion in.

What this means to me:
I need to handle well what I have been entrusted with. If I can’t be trusted with it, how can I be trusted with more? I need to be careful who I love and give my devotion to.

In summary, I need to use my resources to benefit others. My life should be characterized by Integrity, faithfulness and in honesty in all matters, big or small. Daily I will need to choose who I serve. I need to use what I have been given carefully and thoughtfully and in a way that will help people find Christ. While, it’s easy to be generous when there is an abundance, testing will also come I don't have time, energy or resources. I’m reminded this morning that God gives to those who are generous. Obeying his vision will provide provision. When I have a need, I should sow a seed. And that there will always be a delay between sowing and reaping.

Father, this morning I pray: “That you’ll guide my heart today in all that I do. Help me to use my resources to benefit others in all matters, big or small. Give me the patience to endure. Allow me to do the right things regardless of how I feel. But most of all, allow me and what I do to be a benefit to others. In Jesus name, amen!”