I am convicted by my previous post “The True Giver”. The thoughts in my mind about poverty and wealth are wrestling against each other. Is poverty and wealth individually what we understand them to be? Is poverty bad according to the wealthy? Is wealth good according to those in poverty? As we all know, wealth has its downsides as well as its benefits. Jesus says in Mark 10:25,
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Can we take these words literally? I think we have to. But also I believe it is deeper than what is literal. Again, as shown in my previous post, value is not put on an amount given, but it is the heart behind the giving that determines the valuation.
I still struggle with wanting certain things that I don’t need, such as a motorcycle. I want to be able to buy the house my beautiful wife deserves. I want my son to be blessed with things that I wasn’t able to have growing up because I was raised by a single mother who had to work hard to raise two boys essentially by herself, and couldn’t afford to get us what we wanted all the time. (That is by no means a complaint on my upbringing. My mother gave me the most valuable thing a parent can give their children… prayer.) I’m sure most other people can connect with what I’m saying on a personal level.
However, though I want these things for me and my family, I can’t lie and say that my heart does not have conviction and want to do as Jesus has commanded, sell everything and give to the poor. Some may look down on that. I don’t believe it is the action of doing such things that they look down on. I believe being convicted about it is what they look down on. “Can one shrug off a command from Jesus as “not for them” and continue on a separate path?”, is something I have asked myself frequently. Like when He tells the man in Mark 10, “One thing you lack. Go, sell as much as you have, and give to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN come, follow Me.”, the man turns away in sorrow and grieved as he left because he had a lot of property. A few verses further, Peter tries to tell Jesus something he wants Jesus to be sure of about he and the other disciples, “Look, we’ve left everything to follow You!”(verse 28). Jesus proceeds to debunk what Peter says, “Amen, I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property for My sake, and for the sake of the Good News.” …Wait, what? Our graceful Savior basically made Peter eat his words probably in front of a large group of people? No. It cant be! He’s too kind! …This, of course, was Jesus’ way of proving the hearts of man are deceptive and full of lies.
Jesus is the most graceful rebuker. If it weren’t for His rebukes and corrections we would have zero hope of ever changing to become more like Him!
So here is where the conviction of my heart comes in. I must first disclose that I am not against prosperity, nor am I against choosing to give everything away and give to the poor, but I am not on the fence about any of it either. I do not intend to sell everything but I am not pursuing “prosperity”, either. I often tell myself that I need to pray to be directed by The Holy Spirit on how much, who, when, where and what to give. This, I’ve grown to believe, is a degrading way to treat the principle of giving from the heart. I am guilty of it. I am convicted in the reason that if God gives us a heart to give, a heart that pleases Him and truly glorifies His goodness and mercy to the poor, it should not matter at all how much, who, when, where, and what to give, because He will honor it. That of course is not to say that He wont give us specific amounts to give occasionally, but that is so far beside the point. Having a heart to let go of it all and hold fast to my savior is where God wants me at all times. This produces an attitude of giving selflessly, and also, I am finding, the ability to not desire things for myself as I once did. How is this so? Because I already have everything… Jesus. I am thankful to my Lord that He has worked such gratitude into my heart!
When Jesus tells the man with a lot of property what he must do, He already knew the man would not do as He stated. Nonetheless, Jesus still told Him. So much grace! Also, just to clarify, what Jesus is telling this man is not a legalistic gesture for the man to do in order for him to obtain eternal life. He is merely proving a point that you can not and must not love anything or anyone more than Jesus. Only through this appropriated love and devotion to Jesus will the seed of salvation be planted in your heart.
There are amazing people who give continuously that will have riches beyond measure in heaven, but that is not why they give. They ultimately could not care less about what they will attain for there good works. They only want Jesus. They desire the Holy of Holies. That is their treasure and riches. In that, a million dollars can be disregarded quickly as petty worthless cash, and two pennies can be accounted as the most valuable donation given, noteworthy of the attention of Messiah, and documented for millions of souls to read throughout two millennia. That is where they give from. I want to give from that place.
I truly have lost any desire to be wealthy, for the desire to be wealthy is a distraction and a lie. No matter how much we pray to God to help us win the lottery so we can build churches and pay off houses, and this and that, He will always know our true motives and also what is best for us. Do not deceive yourself. Focus on what holds true value to our Father. Souls, love, faith, etc. Seek first the kingdom of God, but do not do it to get things added to you. The addition of the things will take care of itself. Do it because you love Jesus and want to expand His kingdom. God is not to be worshipped and pursued for the benefits of doing so. He wants to be the object of our affection, as we are His. If you do not feel the love and truth behind this message, I strongly urge you to get before God and pray for Him to reveal His heart to you. You have to truly want that though. You also truly have to want to be able to let go of all of your wants and false needs. God knows your true needs. Again, don’t deceive yourself. True blessing and freedom comes from truly and deeply loving Jesus.
With love and shalom
From Death To Life