Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Become a visionary in your giving

If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed (Proverbs 29:18, MSG).

Photo by Jinx!
Catch The Vision

People that capture a vision for anything in their life tend to move toward that vision. For example, when a child really desires a certain toy, they are going to start saving their money in order to buy it, or at the very least, bug their parents to get it for them! When women get a vision for having a family and raising children, they (usually) start dating responsible men with decent jobs, get married, and start having babies. Men get out of college, catch a vision of a career field they would like to pursue, and begin moving toward fulfilling that vision.

As Christians, God has already given us a vision for what we should be accomplishing for His Kingdom: going out and making disciples. In Matthew 28:18-20, we read our Lord's vision in His own words for His disciples:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Once we have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives, we have already been given a spiritual vision to move toward for the remaining days of our lives here on earth. Because of the way we have been shaped individually by Almighty God, the methods of accomplishing this vision may vary in each believer. But, the overall goal is to tell others about Him and teach new believers how to grow in their faith.

Photo by NewtonFreeLibrary
Give The Vision

Whether Christians may like it or not, money is included in this vision. Financial and material resources are necessary to fuel the vision of your church, missions work, and other important para-church ministries that are moving toward the vision of making disciples.

My pastor has a wonderful saying, "The gospel is free, but ministry is expensive." It takes a great deal of money to provide ministry resources, staff, and buildings for our local churches to reach out into their communities. It can be expensive to provide the resources necessary to send missionaries overseas.

If we truly believe in God's vision that He has given to His followers, then that belief in God's Kingdom work here on earth needs to be met with money. Our money should follow our faith in that vision of going out and making disciples. Many of us have been blessed by God with an excess of wealth, not for the latest and greatest "thingy" out there today, but in order for us to give back to God through the ministries of our churches and others in order to accomplish the vision.

Photo by micah.e

Live The Vision

Living the vision requires action. We must step out in faith, using all available resources at our disposal, in order to live out God's vision for the lives of His followers. We must put "feet to our faith" and do the hard work it requires to go out and make disciples. A part of that hard work is giving money back to God through our local church and other ministries.

We need to be bold in our faith to tell others about Him. We need to use our natural talents and spiritual gifts within the context of a local, Bible-believing church in order to accomplish His mission for us. And, we need to be great managers of His wealth and give back to Him as much money as we possibly can in order to fulfill the vision. When we are acting on these things, then we are living His vision for us.

Have you caught His vision for your life? Are you living out that vision through giving back to Him of your time, energy, talents, spiritual gifts, and financial resources? What can you do, today, in order to move in the direction of that vision?

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