Money has always had meaning for people beyond its purchasing power. for many, money means success, power, and even moral worth. The giving of money has always established the giver as a valued member of a community.
Jesus saw this as a private act of love to be seen by God, not as public act for show and honor. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:3, 4
Usually one is more important than the other. Wealth is the chief rival of our day to God. It is said that money is a good servant but a bad master. Personally we must master money or money masters you. Are we being choked by the wealth and riches of the world so that our faith cannot grow to maturity and bring a bountiful harvest?
“The seed sown among thorns is the one, who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.” Matthew 13:1-23.
Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamor and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.
The enjoyments in themselves may be innocent, which worldly prosperity enables one to indulge. These “choke” or “smother” the word; drawing off so much of one’s attention, absorbing so much of one’s interest, and using up so much of one’s time, that only the dregs of these remain for spiritual things.”They bring no fruit to perfection” Luke 8:14: a possible promise of fruit—which never ripens. You may realize the truth too late: God expects and requires fruit.
It’s easy to think that we’ve carved our own way, worked hard, proven ourselves, and been blessed by God as a result. There’s some truth to here, but these realities need not obscure the fact that we are all in the positions of influence that God has us as a result of the generosity of others.
We’ve all had help and we know it.
Generosity is not only primarily about money. We see a need around us and we seek to do something about it.
It often seems like this type of generosity is far more common for believers in the fourth-quarter of their lives. They know that their legacy hinges on the investment they make in others. But it’s often a rare trait for Christians in the prime of their lives.
How generous are you with your valuables; the stuff the costs money or money itself? We are not talking about your time or talent. “Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” St. Ignatius of Loyola
THREE REASONS TO BE GENEROUS WITH GRACE (MONEY)
- Grace (money) is entirely about God and His love. We give grace (money) to show love. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”. 1 John 4:11
- We give grace (money) to prevent conflict. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:15
- We give grace (money) because are called to serve one another. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10
Are we saying this will be easy? Nope! It won’t. In fact, giving grace (money) is hard. Giving grace requires laying down self and giving priority to others. Giving grace necessitates that we let go of our expectations and focus instead on encouraging others.
We demand grace (money) be given according to our need and yet we resist offering that same grace to others.
We cannot tell what may happen to us in this strange medley of life. But we can decide what we do with our talents and money. That is the real test of living: taking your gifts and making it a thing of worth and beauty. SAY: THE GREATEST GIFT TO GOD IS MYSELF!
“The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirty-fold.” Matthew 13:23
The shock element of this parable is in the math. The few seeds that find their way to good soil produce a super-abundant harvest. Jesus delighted his audience by pronouncing boldly that this small amount of seed would produce a crop thirty, sixty, or even a hundredfold greater than what was sown! Agricultural historians estimate that this farming method never yielded more than ten to fifteen percent gain.
Real Christian generosity seems hard to come by, but when you do see it in action it can be life changing.
Unfortunately, old habits die hard. Over time we tend to hear what we want to hear and to see what we want to see. No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people and money ultimately tells all. People should use their talents to make money but money should not take away people’s attention from God, your Creator.
Lord, open my eyes so that I can see again. Open my ears so that I can hear your voice. Lift my heart to you so that I can experience a grace that will produce in my life an abundance that I cannot fathom and that I will share. Let my life become good soil, ready to receive the seed and be “one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit.”
A spiritual life is a life in which our security is based not in any created things, good as they may be, but in God, who is everlasting love. We probably will never be completely free from our attachment to the temporal world, but if we want to live in that world in a truly free way, we’d better not belong to it. “You cannot be the slave both of God and of money”. Luke 16:13 HENRI NOUWEN
The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.