I recently learned that in 2015 if your annual income was over $32,000 annually you are in the top 1% of the world in income. I need you to stop and think about that for a moment. My and my wife’s income is over this amount. It means from a world perspective I am considered rich. If the world’s population is 7.125 billion people, this means I am wealthier than 7.05 billion people!
I have been preaching a series on giving based on the excellent book, “The Eternity Portfolio.” My goal has been to challenge myself and our people to grasp the blessing God has given those of us living in the great United States of America. It is easy for us to get sucked into a culture that is built around consumption and to miss the opportunity to influence others for Jesus Christ! What we often fail to grasp is that the God given privilege of our position comes with a responsibility. Jesus said it best,
“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48)
Our faithfulness in using our wealth for God’s purposes also comes with many promises of blessing. While the Bible does not guarantee blessing in this world, my experience has been, those that honor God with their wealth normally do enjoy earthly blessing. Proverbs reminds us, “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” (Proverbs 3:9–10) Jesus said it this way, “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) These blessing can be financial, but they have often been in physical health, relationships, circumstances and even opportunities. How can I know if something is a blessing from God? I was thinking about this the other day. Then it hit me, every good gift, no matter what it is, comes from God.
The Scriptures also remind us that our giving is the equivalent of investing in heaven. Read these next verses mindful of the opening quote about our status as the 1%. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17–19 The Bible is filled with reminders that our activities now will correlate to rewards in Heaven. The Bible speaks of four types of eternal rewards: Verbal Recognition, Crowns, Treasure and Positions of Authority. The Bible reminds us of these rewards are to motivate us to live for Jesus now.
Some might feel that serving for rewards in some way compromises our service for Jesus. This sounds like the more spiritual way on the surface, yet Jesus was the one that actually encouraged us to pursue these rewards. I am inclined to believe that they actually motivate us to do more knowing what we have to look forward too.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson