Friday, February 1, 2013

What You've Got

If you had eight million dollars, how much of it would you give to God?

Ten percent? Twenty-five percent? As much as fifty percent?

Good for you.

Do you have eight million dollars?

I didn't think so.

But... how much are you giving of whatever you do have? That same fifty percent?

Well, how about twenty-five percent? 

Are you at least giving the traditional ten percent?

If you are, you may be shocked at what the average American is giving to good causes of any sort: barely more than two percent of his income. And as usual, the average American Christian tends to be hard to distinguish from his secular counterpart here.  

We can rationalize to the end of the world that ten percent of our income is hardly anything anyway, that we can barely make ends meet as it is, that if God wants more from us He should give us more.

But remember that in the parable of the talents, the servant who failed to invest his money got no leniency on the grounds that he had started with less than the others.

And remember Paul's words from 2 Corinthians 8:1-5: "And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will."

Those Macedonian Christians, who had every human justification for pleading they "couldn't afford" to give, were not only willing to do so; they considered it a privilege not to be missed. The key to that attitude is near the end of the passage: "They gave themselves first to the Lord." Yes, they started by willingly offering the one thing everyone has and no one can fully lose without his consent: their very selves. Once that was done, the willingness to give up lesser things came easily.

How much of yourself are you giving to God? Two percent? Ten percent?

Even ninety-nine percent isn't enough. He can't do everything He wants to do in your life until He has the full one hundred percent.

It's not what you could give in service,
If you had a million or two,
So much as the things you're now doing
With all that's been given to you.

It's not what you could say for Jesus,
If you had the platform of fame,
So much as the things you're now saying
And doing each day in His name.

When called to account for your lifetime,
Will you answer, full of excuse,
"Well, I had the greatest intentions,
But God gave me little to use"?

He's given you all that is needed,
Right now this immediate day,
For whatever work He's assigned you--
Are you walking now in His way?

For if you neglect what He's given,
What sense lies in wishing for more?
The Lord is a generous Giver,
Who holds endless riches in store,

But keeps them reserved for the wisest,
Who realize that small things will grow,
When used in His ways and His service,
To things far more grand than you know!