Going Deeper with the Message:
The Rewards of God
by: Ben Biles
On Sunday, Pastor Tim’s takeaway for the day “Give, and it will be given to you” highlights an interesting promise when it comes to our relationship with God. Giving to the poor leads to God giving to us. We see this truth in Proverbs 19:17, “Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and He will give a reward to the lender.” This might seem counter-intuitive to those that don’t believe in God. Usually, when we give our own resources away, they are lost. We forfeit our ability to use them for ourselves. Yet, Proverbs says that God will reward those who give.
Tim also said that the Lord gives a great ROI (return on investment). Essentially, when we give to the poor, our reward will be of greater value than that which we gave away. However, I doubt many of us have seen a mysterious increase in our bank accounts. So what kind of reward should we expect?
It is possible that God will reward you in any number of ways. 1) By obeying God’s guidance on giving to the poor, you will deepen your relationship with God. 2) Through giving, you further your trust in God’s ability to meet your financial needs. 3) You enrich your own character by developing God’s characteristic of generosity. 4) The joy in giving will outshine the joy in spending on yourself. 5) Perhaps even, God will open new doors for you that weren’t previously available. Yet, God points us to the superiority of eternal rewards given for faithful obedience. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6:19-21, encouraging us to use our earthly resources to store up treasures in heaven. All eternal rewards have infinite value to us because they last forever. In contrast, all of our earthly resources have limited value. After all, we can’t take them to heaven with us.
Wise people understand the superiority of eternal rewards, use their financial resources to bless others, and thereby, store up these eternal rewards. You can be sure that giving to the poor in faithful obedience to God will store up heavenly treasures and that these will benefit you to a far greater degree than any amount of money ever could.
Living out the Message:
God Blesses Us to Bless Others
By Ben Biles
God has given to us in extraordinary ways. First and foremost, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sins. Through him, we are given a life-changing relationship with God where we can experience his love and peace continually and eternally. We can also see how much God has given us with the friends and family he has used to impact and shape our lives. He has provided us with meaningful purpose through our jobs and life-callings. He has given us passions, abilities, and skills, shaping our competencies and character. Truly, God has blessed us in many ways.
Yet, we must also understand that God gives to us so that we can give to others. As believers, we live as reflections of his love and grace and are placed in unique positions to share God with other people. When we give to others, we advance God’s purposes in this world as he uses us to bless others. Yet, many of us feel like we don’t have much to give to others, especially when it comes to money.
Personally, my dream in college was to be a successful businessman who was able to donate substantially to the church and nonprofits carrying out God’s mission. God had a different plan that has been an incredible blessing, but I’m not able to give money in huge sums like I thought. Thankfully, I’ve found that giving in small ways, consistently and frequently, has a huge impact over time. For example, I’ve noticed that paying for a friend’s meal, helping a friend move houses, or even just inviting a family over for dinner can have an incredible effect.
This week, I encourage you to think of ways to consistently and frequently give back in small ways. When you do, you can use your resources as God desires and be a blessing to others. One small way for you to give back to our community is by participating in our Change the Community event. Simply by collecting spare change in a jar, you are able to give financially and help the needs of our ministry partners. When we all join together in doing this, our impact can be extraordinary.