Believers in Jesus do not have to wait for the government to send another stimulus check.
“For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 13:12, ESV)Whether we want to believe it or not, socialism has crept into the mindsets of many Americans. Most often it manifests in an attitude of entitlement, and it's not just the Millennials who are acting this way. The Bible teaches some unpopular truths that don't seem at all fair. For example, those who have will be given more and those who don't will suffer loss. The parable of the talents drives home the point, communicating what happens when someone is lazy and unproductive:
“So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:28–29, ESV)In my part of the world people are coming unglued over a recent controversial remodel of our Walmart Supercenter. Most of the checkout lanes have been removed to make room for their replacements: self-checkout lanes. Gasp! My son witnessed customers complaining, mocking and verbally accosting Walmart employees about the change. Grown, mature adults, not the younger Millennials, were whining about having to scan grocery items themselves. I'm certain those in Haiti and other third-world nations would be grinning ear to ear if they had the opportunity to scan hundreds of dollars worth of comfort food and personal care items each month. Online the primary complaint I saw was guised concern for those who are losing their jobs as a result of the makeover. In come the robots, out goes the workers, so they say. This is where the smell of socialism comes in.
AMERICA WAS BORN ON INNOVATIONA spirit of invention and innovation has driven our nation into strength and prosperity from the very beginning. People like Henry Ford and Elon Musk are examples of American ingenuity that results in making our nation and the entire world a much better place to live. Resistance to innovation, even in the attempt to save jobs, is a crippling maneuver. It cuts our American spirit down at the knees and progress is derailed. We must understand businesses aren't in business to hire employees. They are there to maximize profit. Any businessperson would tell you keeping staffing costs to a minimum is critical. With rare exceptions, simply hiring someone for the sake of providing for them financially is nonsensical. Hiring a whole workforce for this reason would be insanity. If you planned to open a snow cone business, would you hire someone to greet the customers, another to chop and manually shave the ice and another to stand on the street corner shouting to all around that you are open? Or, would you hire just one person, purchase an automatic ice shaver and buy a blinking open sign to announce you are ready for customers to buy your product? One scenario ensures at least three people have a job. The other employs only one. Consider bowling alleys. Is it somehow immoral that human pinsetters from the 1940's were replaced by machines in the 1950's? What about robots on factory floors? Automatic coin collection at toll booths? ATMs? Automatic car washes? The suggestions are endless, and honestly quite obvious. Yet, somehow people are in an uproar over Walmart innovating to save money and to improve the flow in and out of the store. Businesses are under no obligation to staff people beyond their operating needs. In fact, doing so would be both foolish and irresponsible. If people aren't complaining about the loss of jobs, they are upset that they have to get involved in “hard, manual labor.” I suppose scanning candy bars and sticks of deodorant would cause them to break a sweat. I wonder if these same people are also furious that they are expected to pump their own gas as they reminisce about the glory years of full-service attendants allowing them to remain in their vehicles during the fill-up. Entitlement.
WHEN IS THE NEXT STIMULUS CHECK ARRIVING?USA Today reports, “More stimulus checks of up to $1,400 are on the way. The IRS, on Wednesday, announced that it had sent the next batch of the third stimulus checks. This new set marks the eighth batch of payments since Congress approved the $1.9 trillion stimulus package in March.” If the government chooses to send out stimulus checks, that's great. I'm not going to debate the merits and risks of the government dispersing them (well, except that the labor shortage that has been caused by extra unemployment money may be a catalyst for businesses like Walmart to innovate). What I will say that as Born Again Christians, we are part of an entirely different financial system. First, for Christians who are able to work, I submit that it's shameful (if not illegal) to refuse employment in order to stay home as the extended unemployment checks keep rolling in. You are setting yourself up for financial ruin as you shift your trust from God and his timeless protocols found in Scripture to manmade government. Again, this is a spirit of socialism at work. A wicked spirit of Mammon is in play as well.
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12, ESV)If we align with a spirit of Mammon, we will attempt every shortcut we can find to get paid, even if it means violating Biblical mandates. So, when is the next stimulus check arriving? That's actually not the best way to frame the question. It's actually a two-part answer. First, it's when you receive your next paycheck from your place of employment (or your investments or other sources of income). Then, the true catalyst for the stimulus comes next: when you give money to others.
“…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”” (Luke 6:38, ESV)A spirit of Mammon is broken off of our lives when we look to become a financial stimulus for others instead of expecting others to send us money. It really is as simple as that, however a radical shift of thinking about money must take place. Those who work and who handle finances with integrity and ingenuity with a creative and inventive spirit will not only reap financially, but they will continue to prosper in the midst of famine. Understand, this isn't about getting rich. I'm not talking about an unhealthy “name it, claim it” theology. I'm addressing this at the most basic level. Work and you will eat. Give and it will be given. Every paycheck you receive is a potential stimulus check for others whether it's tithe, an extra generous tip at lunch, buying someone a car they desperately need or donating extravagantly to various causes. When we have integrity in regard to work and when we joyfully give to others each pay period, we can't help but to receive the blessings of God. Our prosperity (however you wish to define that) hinges on these two truths: work as hard and as smart as you can and give a bunch of your financial rewards away to other people. You are the next stimulus check that people are waiting for. Originally published by The Stream.
Is it possible we might be disobedient to God by “giving it all away” to Kingdom work?
While probably terrifying, we have to admit it feels extremely spiritual to consider the possibility of selling all we have and giving all of our money away for the sake of the Kingdom. It’s hard to argue with someone who endeavors to bless others in this extravagant manner.
In fact, many years ago I met a family who did just that. They sold everything and traveled the nation by horse and carriage preaching the Gospel. What a sight that was, watching a homemade carriage that contained all of their earthly goods being pulled by two horses right down the highway in front of my house in Omaha, Arkansas. They lived, cooked, ate and slept in that makeshift trailer. My parents invited them to pull over and enjoy dinner with us. Their horses ate the grass in our rural yard while we ate and then sang worship songs together. I’ll admit, I was blown away as a young man by their fervor for Jesus. It was clear materialism didn’t have a hold on them.
Though their devotion was remarkable, and I cannot and will not determine the appropriateness of their individual decision to give it all away, I am going to argue that, for most, such an extreme move just might require disobedience to God.
SELL IT ALL AND FOLLOW JESUS?
22 …Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 (ESV)
It’s clear in Scripture that we must all be radical givers. I believe firmly that we must all respond to the call to give in great measure to the church, to ministry works and to people in need. It’s a joy to do so! Giving large amounts to our local church should be a goal for all of us. Further, financially blessing mission works, the poor, servers in the restaurants we eat at and families in need is a high honor for every Believer.
Many ministers today over-simplify the call to give, however. The scripture most often used might be found in the book of Luke:
38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 (ESV)
The exhortation is clear: give financially and you will receive financially. The more you give, the more you receive.
I believe this. I’ve watched it manifest in my own life, not magically via some simplistic formula, but rather through joyful giving marked by expectant faith and a long-term devotion to bless others. It’s not about me and my bank account. It’s about those I’m serving. The result of that has been a lot of abundant life in Jesus and financial blessing in some truly miraculous ways. God loves to give back.
However, I believe pastors do great disservice to those under their care and the ministries they are leading if they simplify the call to “give more, receive more.” In fact, preachers rebuking the materialism in others to manipulate more extravagant giving to feed their own materialism just might be one of the darkest forms of evil behind the pulpit today. Some pastors have evil intent, but thankfully most don't. The majority who emphasize extravagant giving are simply short sighted or misguided. There’s more to it than continually encouraging more and more giving.
As I stated above, I believe it’s possible for pastors to unwittingly encourage people into a place of disobedience to God by asking them to give large sums while ignoring the call to steward what remains.
Why did Jesus instruct the Rich Ruler to sell everything and give it to the poor? The reason is simple: The Rich Ruler’s heart was surrendered to Mammon, the spiritual force behind the money he so loved and trusted in.
So, I do agree, if our heart is devoted to Mammon, by all means, give it all way, and fast! Jesus was extreme when he called people to separate themselves from anything that would compromise their eternities.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV)
If your eye or your hand or your money causes you to sin, get rid of it!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money (Mammon). Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
However, as long as we can turn from the sin, and truly surrender our heart to Jesus, such extreme measures are not necessary, including the call to give all of our money away. You can keep your eyes in their sockets and your money in your pockets. Your money won’t stay in your pockets for long though. It has work to do.
YOU ARE CALLED TO MULTIPLY
Successful entrepreneurs and business people will understand this principle easily. Their money is simply a tool. It’s used to expand their business, make investments and multiply their resources so they can have greater and greater impact.
Don’t ever look at a wealthy Christian in judgment. Many of them are doing exactly what God wants them to do. They aren't suppose to give everything to the poor or to the church. Their gift is much better used by multiplying resources and giving extravagantly year after year then by simply giving away what they have a single time. The result would be lack of resources and an inability to do what God has called them to do. If you have one million dollars, don’t give it all away. Multiply it and give millions and millions away.
If we give all we have to the church, or more than God has called us to, we won’t have enough to put to work for the sake of multiplication. We must give the correct amount and invest the correct amount to see the greatest Kingdom impact.
In the parable of the talents, we see the other exhortation that pastors should be communicating in addition to simple giving. If they encouraged people to invest their money, to build businesses, to give a little less so they have a little more to leverage greater multiplication, we’d see a lot of money coming into the Kingdom and a lot of lives dramatically touched.
Simply giving and waiting for the money to return is not enough. We are crippling people financially when we don’t add the call to multiply into the equation. In fact, we’ll see in the following passage that God will take what was given to people who failed to multiply and redistribute it to those who have been most successful.
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)
It’s a long passage, so for those of you who tend to skim articles, allow me to sum it up.
God expects us to use money he gives us in strategic ways to ensure it is multiplied. Giving to the church isn’t our primary financial strategy. It’s important, and I believe we should always give at least the tithe. Even those who don’t believe the tithe is required for New Covenant Christians, they all admit that we should give extravagantly. So, start with a little less than extravagance at ten percent. Also, beyond the ten percent, give regularly to missions and to people in need. That’s the foundation.
Then, use what remains to invest, develop businesses, pay for training in a field of work you will enjoy and that will be prosperous or by strategically growing your financial portfolio in other ways so you can faithfully multiply what God has given you. God takes the call go give seriously. Based on what we see in the passage above, he takes the call to multiply finances very seriously.
I’ve met many, many Christians over the years who have been faithful givers, but who are barely making it financially. The missing piece for them is most always the biblical call to invest and multiply. Giving is powerful, but it’s not enough. Ultimately, God wants us to give much more than we currently are. The way it comes is not through more simple giving, but rather through shrewd, Holy-Spirit directed multiplication.
Pastors who only focus on giving will produce a culture of lack. Those who awaken the God-given ability to multiply wealth will see great resource come.
Here’s a powerful passage from Deuteronomy that mirrors the truths of the Rich Ruler and of the talents that we have been looking at:
17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Deuteronomy 8:17-19 (ESV)
God has given us all the power to get wealth, but we must not serve Mammon, the lord of money.
Giving our wealth away, however much that may be, feels like the most spiritual thing to do. On the contrary, it very well may be a major misstep. The Rich Young Ruler was instructed to give it all away because Jesus knew his heart was bound by it. However, Jesus revealed in the parable of the talents that we have a sober mandate to multiply the wealth God resources us with. If mammon is your master, give your money away. If Jesus is your master, use your money to multiply your wealth so the Kingdom can be resourced.
Amy taught this popular and life changing message of financial freedom at IHOP—and now she’s teaching it in Detroit!
You may be blown away at how simple it is to break out of a poverty mindset and into financial breakthrough. This special class takes place TOMORROW, Thursday, November 3rd at 7pm at Revival Church.
Amy has demonstrated financial brilliance both in our ministry and in our home. Both Revival Church and the Burton family are debt free—and she was able to accomplish this through the simplicity of God’s clear biblical principles.
Amy will discuss:
- Recognize and renounce the spirit of Mammon (Mammon is a demonic spirit that influences people to love, serve and trust money. Mammon wants to be your master.)
- How to eliminate worry and anxiety over money
- How to deal with an “I can’t afford it” mentality
- Knowing your channels of provision
- Becoming God’s financial manager
- How to handle the overflow
- Prosperity is the opposite of poverty
This is a special Thursday class at theLab, and we are opening it up to everybody! There is NO COST!
Show up right on time at 7pm at Revival Church which meets at The Tabernacle, 14205 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088.
SEE YOU TOMORROW!