Kingdom Principle: A life marked by giving is a product of truly receiving.
Favor is not about what you can “get” from God – rather it is being able to give everything away – even your own rights, security and well-being.
Over the last three weeks we have looked at different aspects and outcomes of our faith, which is a foothold of the Kingdom of God in our lives… The Kingdom of God is within us, (Luke 17:21) as well as far beyond us, in that it is still yet to come. (Luke 17:22) Our Faith is within us and yields a great favor from God who gives perfect gifts (James 1:17)…yet we are called to have an impact far beyond us, because giving is far better than receiving. (Acts 20:35) And yet, Faith and Favor are non-transferable gifts from God to you… However when you live your life in faith and enjoy the favor of God, there are plenty of other things you can give away.
The call this week is to give away – Forgiveness, Finances and Freedom – for in this you are trusting your faith and favor to never run dry. You cannot give away what you do not have… therefore some will say… I don’t have any Finances to give away…. this is more like an issue of stewardship, but Okay – then start with Freedom & Forgiveness… giving away our freedom is to give away yourself for the benefits of others… this often looks like service, but it need not be manual labor… it can be emotional labor… Think of the child that makes a card for their parent, taking the time to color and write something from their heart. This gift cost them time, energy and the freedom to play outside or more likely some form of electronics… regardless you can give money and time as you choose to steward. If you have no finances nor freedom to give, you may be benefited getting some guidance from a “good teacher” as is found in Luke 18:18-30. A good teacher will be able to coaching you and look at your current predicaments to see where you time and talents may be used more productively for the Kingdom.
Beyond Finances and Freedom, all who enter the Kingdom must be well versed in forgiveness. And further it is forgiveness when given away, leads other to understand your faith as being different and set apart from the ways of the world. You can give money and time, with or without faith… To give forgiveness is to practice a lifestyle of 2LAF…. In short, those who have been forgiven much, forgive others much more easily… again you can’t give what you have not received. – Therefore give Forgiveness, Finances and Freedom because you trust that God can and will meet every need of yours this is because you have a wealth of faith and favor.
David gives Saul; finances, forgiveness and freedom. Saul used him, denied him, and tried to kill him repeatedly. David has served with all his talent, given his best unto Saul and now delays his time to begin ruling as King; commanding the people to lament and grief for Saul. This act of forgiveness is a demonstration of the love of God which so filled David.
Paul calls the church to give Finances… this is to be the joy-filled expression of being filled up in faith and favor of God. We are called to give what we have, so that those who lack, will have something to give. Our God moves in abundance not lack or scarcity, this is not simple a redistribution of wealth, that is sacristy thinking, this is the fact that God has given to you once, and he will do it again, therefore – give to others who lack so that they might experience the same joy of being restored. The abundance is in God giving to both parties… Paul declares to the church in Corinth, that favor in finances is nothing if it is not accompanied by conviction – to give it away when others are in need.
Jesus gives forgiveness and freedom. The narrative is filled with rich truths that transform lives, at the core is the self-less living of Christ. Jesus disregarded his own rights and personal space to be violated so that others might find life. Jesus according to the law was made unclean by being touched by the woman or by touching the dead girl. Yet He is full, and power goes out from him… this is the act of giving… he gave himself, his life, his time, his freedom.
Psalm 130, captures all of this.. Giving such things does not increase your favor – rather it is an indicator that you are not in need of more favor, rather you trust that you can give this all away and the Lord can replace it in a moment of time. THEREFORE:
Give Forgiveness: Favor is not earned, therefore don’t expect others to earn your forgiveness. Give it away freely. (A stewardship of suffering applies here) In forgiveness you surrender your right to get even, and allow God the place of authority over relationships. When forgiveness is hard for you– don’t start here – start is disciplining your own body and developing your own soul.
Give Finances: Being wealth is not bad or a prohibiting factor to enter the Kingdom. However the greater your wealth, the greater faith in the King must be. This reality is taught through tithing…. A tithe is a first-fruit, it is to be given not as a payment, but as a thank you and acknowledgement that everything I have has been given to me. An Offering is given beyond the first 10% for various reasons, but the foundation of it all is are acknowledging the very favor that God bestows on you…Teach your children to given when they have little – then the principle will be in place when the Lord’s favor blesses them later. Beyond the personal principle of giving, we give because people are in need. The hard part here is not for us to determine the need, but to follow the Spirit – allowing the Lord to prompt our hearts to give beyond our measure.
Give Freedom: My life is not my own, I was bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:19-20) How do you measure your time – What is free time to you? When you have a gift of healing, (if you’ve never prayed for another’s healing, how can you know if you have the gift or not… start trying) yet chose not to use it, who loses more – you or the broken? I will argue it is you…. For we are to use/give what we have willingly (2 Cor. 8 :10-12) and if we do not use it, the Lord can call out another healer for the broken person. (Matt 25:14-30) In our culture (western/American/consumer driven) we value our choices and our freedom over most other things. Acts 17:28 states, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” This declaration is from one who allows God to rule over their purpose and time of life…. You cannot declare Acts 17:28 part time, or only when it’s convenient.
Further Questions to spur you on:
Is there anyone you would rather avoid, due to your unwillingness/inability to forgive them? Where do you still hold pain or personal disappointment from your own mistakes – Where has forgiveness not intersected your faith? Do you ask others to forgive you on a regular basis?
Does giving of finances seem to be impossibility? If you had more money, do you would think you would give more? If so, what indicator in your past demonstrates that truth? Where have finances replaced your foothold of faith in the Kingdom?
Do people come to you when they have a need? Do you feel guilty when you take time for yourself? (time to discipline your body, develop your soul or to let God direct your spirit is essential) What would you do if you had more time?