Friday, July 18, 2014

Kingdom First

Another biography that has influenced my life is that of Hudson Taylor, the missionary to China. Taylor was on his knees before God, asking Him to provide for the work of the gospel in China. And God answered Taylor’s prayers by touching the hearts of Christians who had the wealth to give. Remarkably, God even touched George Mueller’s heart to become a prayer partner with Hudson Taylor. That’s another example of how one person’s obedience can affect many others.

The Scripture teaches that your giving has kingdom-sized implications. It affects not only you and the people around you, but the whole worldwide kingdom of God. When you see your giving from God’s perspective, what a grand vision it is! I have always believed that as long as God knows where I am, He can cause anybody in the world to know where I am. That is the only way that people I have never met could feel compelled to give to my ministry. There is a much bigger picture than we are able to see. It is not just that you give your little gift and hope God will be pleased with it. No, when you give, even if you cannot see it, you send ripples out through the whole kingdom of God. You contribute to process by which people see the faithfulness of God and come to trust in Him.

If you have great wealth, it is important that you have a deep sensitivity to God. You are a co-worker with God in a much bigger picture than you can see. Consider what would happen if you simply decided to do as you like with your money. You would be completely outside the will of God, using your wealth to work at cross purposes with His kingdom, which is a frightening prospect. Many times I hear people say, “I would really like to do this or that with my money.” And my immediate response is, “That’s all fine and good, but how does it square with what God wants to do with your money?” Ask yourself that question. How do your goals square with God’s goals? How are you responding to His leading? God has many servants who are stepping out in faith, trusting Him to provide for their needs. And the apostle Paul tells us that those people will praise God because they know that He will move the hearts of those who have the resources to give.

God says His Kingdom is like seed time and harvest. Do what the farmer does. Plant good seed (not corrupt money from illegal gain) and plant it into good soil. (ministries that are well grounded in the Word, have reasonable administration costs, are not corrupt, have abundant fruit from their charitable efforts etc.). Then the farmer waters, fertilizes and weeds his crop. (Give praise to God, pray over your seed, bless it, call it forth into a harvest, use faith i.e. call things that be not as though they were, (Romans 4:17), do not speak any kind of negatively over your seed, etc.) Finally, the farmer goes out and gets his harvest. (Be prepared to receive. Just as you would prepare for the birth of a child by getting his/her room ready, buying clothes etc., keep standing in faith and believe for your harvest. Do what you would do as if the harvest had already been received) (References: Gen. 8:22, Gal. 6:7, 2 Cor. 9:6, 2 Cor 9:10)

“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces.” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT) To honor God is to show our regard, esteem, value, respect, and prizing of him. When we give to the Lord, we demonstrate to him, to others, and to ourselves that he is supreme in our lives.  When we give, we attest that he is our most valued treasure. Giving shows that our hearts are set on him and not on our money or belongings. Giving honors God as supreme. Giving to him is an act of worship.

But there is both a non-giving and a giving that dishonors God. Not giving simply fails to honor God. Not giving demonstrates that our wealth and possessions and not God are truly what we treasure most. Not giving to God withholds honor from him and hoards that honor for us. By not giving, we elevate our wealth and possessions above him.  So, not giving dishonors God.

“The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say thanks to God.  They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ’s sake and call it gain.” – John Piper

Kingdom work is similar. Building the Kingdom requires financial investment. It requires effort, commitment, good decision making and sacrifice. One of the main differences, however, is that until Christ returns, our job as Kingdom Builders is never finished. Therefore, giving to God’s Kingdom is an ongoing effort, an ongoing commitment, and ongoing sacrifice.

How well you build the kingdom by investing your time, talent and treasure will be determined by who or what rules your heart.

“God wants your heart. He isn’t looking just for donors for His kingdom, those who stand outside the cause and dispassionately consider acts of philanthropy. He’s looking for disciples immersed in the causes they give to. He wants people so filled with a vision for eternity that they wouldn’t dream of not investing their money, time and prayers where they will matter most.” Randy Alcorn.


Raj Kosaraju

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