#ipromise devotion 2/10/2016

Today’s #ipromise principle: Faithfulness in giving is not found through percentages. Percentages are found in faithful giving.

Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 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. 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)

Suppose God gives you a child. You may now be thinking, “I’m not married.” Or maybe you think, “I can’t have children.” Or, “I’m not even old enough to have children.” Kudos to the later for reading this devotion. Nonetheless, imagine God gives you a child. Along with that child comes all of the smiles, tears, experiences, achievements, disappointments and, most of all, love. As a follower of Jesus, would you imagine that God wants you to honor Him with a percentage of your parenting? Maybe you could go to church and pray 1/7 of the week and then devote the rest to entertainment, sports, labor, education, sleep, and eating. Could you be so pious as to devote 1/2 of your week to Godly pursuits?

 As Christian parents hopefully realize and strive to live out, honoring God with your child means devoting 100% of your efforts to God. That doesn’t mean church 7 days a week. That means that you demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in your sports, entertainment, labor, and education. It means that you take rest seriously. It means that you honor God with whatever you eat, or drink, or whatever you do (1 Cor. 10:31). Yes, some percentage of your parenting will be directly spent in church, Bible studies, prayer, and even mission efforts. But that is just a portion of the 100% faithfulness that gives glory to God.

Now, as this pertains to money – it’s no different. Too many Christians have carelessly or intentionally bought into a false dichotomy of God’s money and my money. It is all God’s money (Hag. 2:8). He has given it to you in order that you might demonstrate your faithfulness. You might say, “But this is my money. I earned it. I worked for it. I used my talents to obtain it.” Again, like becoming a parent, there is a physical achievement that is necessary – but that certainly doesn’t make you the creator of life. God equips us with talents, opportunities, and health to earn a living. We work in the sphere of grace that God provides to obtain money to glorify God. When that circle of grace and worship response is broken, we commit idolatry.

Like the parent who has been given a child, the steward of money should not give 100% to the church. But you should also not give 10% to the church and “keep 90% for myself.” It’s all God’s money. So, in whatever you eat with that money, drink with that money, or whatever you do with that money, do it all for the glory of God. Of course this will result in some percentage – a percentage that will likely grow, to your own astonishment, over the course of Christian maturity – which is given directly to your local church for Jesus’ larger kingdom work. This kingdom giving is commanded in Scripture and is beneficial to the advancement of the gospel and the glorification of Jesus’ name throughout the earth. But that percentage is not the indicator of your financial faithfulness. 100%. That’s what God wants. He doesn’t need it; He gave it to you in the first place. He wants you to understand the goodness of His ways and His decrees. He wants you to live free from the love of money so that you might love Him supremely. God wants to see what you will do with the gracious gift you have been given.

 What will you do?

  • Have you considered how you are using 100% of your finances to honor God?
  • On what expenses do you currently spend money that does not honor God’s commands of who we should be?
  • How much money will you give back to the church to advance the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ throughout the world?

Faithfulness in giving is not found through percentages. Percentages are found in thoughtful, worshipful, faithful giving.

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