In the Christmas carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, there’s a line that says, “God and sinners reconciled.” In a materialistic society the question becomes, “Can gold and sinners be reconciled?” Money is a tricky subject. Someone quipped, “It’s funny how a dollar looks so big when you take it to church, and so small when you take it to the store.” Henrik Ibsen said, “Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food but not appetite, medicine but not health, acquaintances but not friends, servants but not faithfulness, days of joy but not peace or happiness.”
Money has a way of slipping through our fingers. Proverbs 23:5 warns, “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” Here’s how I say it:
By and by,
Everything we buy and buy
However, Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Money serves a positive purpose when we are “generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18).
That’s why Paul wrote a thank-you letter expressing his appreciation to the Philippians for their financial support. We don’t know the amount these believers sent to support Paul while he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, but whether it was large or small, Paul considered their gift significant. The Philippian epistle overflows with joy and thanksgiving, shedding light on what happens when we practice wise stewardship.
Gifts That Make a Difference
Do you ever wonder if your financial support really makes a difference? Whether you hand someone cash, write a check, or donate online, when you give to the Lord with faith as your motivation, you might be surprised to see the difference your generosity has made.
Because you give, God’s work progresses. By giving to the Lord, you don’t just invest in budgets, buildings, and bricks. You invest in priceless souls. Children are fed and students are educated. The lonely are loved and the sick are restored to health. Lost sheep are brought back to the fold, and prodigal sons and daughters are welcomed back home where they belong. God uses your tithes and offerings to fuel the church’s mission. Supported by the Philippians’ generosity, Paul preached Christ from his prison cell and the gospel penetrated so far into the Roman empire that even members of Caesar’s household became Christians (Philippians 4:22).
Because you give, God’s leaders are encouraged. Faithful, hard-working missionaries, church planters, Bible college personnel, and leaders of other non-profit ministries need our prayers and financial support. Let’s bless them so they can say with Paul, “I am amply supplied, now that I have received . . . the gifts you sent” (v. 18).
Because you give, God’s name is exalted. Money given in the right spirit is “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (v. 18). He alone deserves “glory for ever and ever” (v. 20). We give, not to make a name for ourselves, but to glorify the Lord.
From earth’s limited perspective, you may never see all the impact of your service and generosity, but you can be sure of this. God’s work advances, others are encouraged, and Christ is honored because you give.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.