Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.”
Give and you get pressed down, shaken and running over
There is one who holds everything in his hand and it results in want. If you don’t throw it out it doesn’t bring a return. That’s the principle. Jesus said it in Luke 6:38, “Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over.”
That’s a vivid illustration that we can even identify with. You give and God will give it back to you pressed down, shaken together and running over.
You know how when you buy the box of crackers at the market and you shake it, it all ends up down in the bottom and you’ve got about that much? That’s not how God gives. When you shake everything and He gives, it’s still coming out the top…pressed down, shaken together and running over.
God just packs it and packs it and shakes it and packs it and packs it and shakes it and packs it and shakes it and finally it’s flowing over the top. That’s how He gives when you give to Him. So maybe some people don’t have enough because they don’t give enough. You have been too stingy with your money and in your selfishness you have failed to trust in God and to allow Him to multiply it.
Sowing and reaping
And remember this, regarding whatever you sow, verse 8, God is able to make all grace abound to you that always having all sufficiency in everything you may have an abundance for every good deed
You know what happens when you sow seed? You get a crop. And out of that crop comes multiplied seed which you take and sow again and it keeps expanding. That’s the principle.
Verse 11, “You will be enriched in everything.” The principle of giving then is simply this, you sow and you reap, and whatever you sow God multiplies and gives you back.
You say, “Even materially?” Sure. God is going to make bread for your food as well as spiritual fruit of righteousness. God is going to pour out blessing on you.
The World Separates us from Money
Do you think television is for programs? Television isn’t, it’s for commercials, programs are simply to get you there to watch the commercial. The commercials aren’t there to get you to watch the program, you certainly can figure that out.
…But you understand that the world…the world is coming after you and it comes after you to separate you from your money, it comes after you to get you to indulge yourself in every conceivable kind of thing. And that puts people in a very difficult position.
Financial problems are a major cause of divorce in eighty percent of couples who are divorced before the age of thirty. Before they can even start to get a life together, it’s torn apart by financial problems.
Money as barometer to your faith
Money is so central to our everyday living. As a medium of exchange it defines how we live. I can take your checkbook, if you write checks, and I can go through the register of your checks for a period of time and I can discern your priorities. I can see where your money goes and where your money goes is where your heart is. That’s obvious.
Money in itself is amoral, but money also is a barometer, it is a measure by which I can know what I need to know about the priorities of your life.
Some people say money corrupts. Well there are corrupt people and certainly money is a way in which they manifest their corruption. But there are also people with money who are not corrupt and money is a way in which they manifest their righteousness. And there are corrupt people who have no money, and there are people who have no money and are godly people.
Money doesn’t necessarily corrupt, it just shows up more visibly the corruption of the heart that possesses it. You take a corrupt person, give him a lot of money and he’ll be able to spread his corruption further. It’s not money that is the problem, it’s the heart that is the problem, but money measures that out.
The Bible doesn’t forbid us from possessing money. Let me tell you what the Bible says about it. First of all, in Haggai, the prophet said in chapter 2 verse 8, “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of hosts.” In other words, God says it’s all Mine anyway. The earth is Mine, and all that is in it is Mine.
Gold comes out of My earth, and so does silver, and so do trees that make paper that make bills and so does every other metal, whether it’s nickel, or whether it’s aluminum or whatever it is they make coins out of, it’s all Mine, it all comes out of My earth and My creation.
I own it all.
And God, by the way, in Haggai 2, was talking about all the nations of the world. He wasn’t just talking about Israel. In Deuteronomy 8:18 it says, “But you shall remember the Lord your God for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth.”
What do you have that you did not receive?
In 1 Corinthians 4:7 the question is asked, “And what do you have that you did not receive?” And the answer is nothing. It’s all God’s. God distributes it. And God distributes it to whomever He will, however He desires.
Faithful in much and little
So it isn’t a question of if you had more you’d give more. No, that’s not the issue. Jesus said it this way, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” The issue is simply that.
People in the bible who loved money
For money Achan brought defeat on Israel’s army and death to himself and his family. For money Balaam sinned and tried to curse God’s own people. For money Delilah betrayed Samson, and caused the slaughter of thousands. For money Ananias and Sapphira became the first hypocrites in the church and God executed them there. And for money Judas sold Jesus. Not very good company, is it? Money lovers aren’t a very nice crowd. And when you start to pursue money, you’re going to forget God.
Solomon’s love of money
Solomon was the author of most of the Proverbs. I’ll close with this. But chapter 30 was written by a different person. It was written by Agur, A-g-u-r, and Agur wrote it when he was watching Solomon. Proverbs 30 is very interesting.
Solomon was really, really rich…I mean, rich beyond description, rich beyond belief.
But he got trapped in his riches and he wanted more and he wanted more and he wanted more and he kept marrying foreign wives. Did you ever wonder why?
You say, “You know, this is ridiculous…nine hundred women? I mean, really most of us have one wife and it’s plenty for us to cope with. And even if a guy had a major lust problem, thirty or forty might do. What in the world? Hundreds upon hundreds upon…”
Look, you missed the whole point. It had nothing to do with some physical desire. He married them because they brought with them a portion of their national treasuries. It was the money, not the girl. I bet it got to the point where he never even checked out what she looked like, when you start getting up in the multiples of hundreds…who cares? She’s bringing part of the country’s treasury. He was building a political empire. And what he wanted was not the women, he wanted more and more treasury. And when you look at hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of wives, you get a little idea of how greedy the man was.
And so, in his greed he brought all these wives in with all their treasure and they brought something else besides their money. What else did they bring? They brought their gods and they led Israel into idolatry and Solomon fouled up his own life and split the Kingdom.
So what God chooses to give you, you become a steward of. But you don’t love it. In either case, you love God, serve God, honor God, glorify God and let Him give you what He chooses and you use it to express your love for Him.
Agurs’ Prayer for his portion only
Now Agur was watching that happen and as he was watching that happen he prayed the prayer in Proverbs 30 verse 8, this was his prayer. He saw what riches did to Solomon, so he said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food that is my portion.”
God, I don’t want anymore than You want me to have. You determine it and You give me what You want me to have. I don’t want to love money, I don’t want to become greedy.
Why? Says Agur, “Lest I be full and deny Thee and say, Who is the Lord? Or, lest I be in want and steal and profane the name of my God.”
If I have too much, I won’t need You. If I don’t have enough, I’ll steal.
So, God, You give me my portion. Don’t give me too much so that I worship my wealth instead of You and become self-sufficient. And don’t give me too little so I steal and dishonor Your name. In either case, love of money can set God aside.