Friday, March 6

Lewis - Giving

I’ve often heard the statement, “Show me your bank statement and I will show you what you value.” Imagine what that would look like. Imagine handing your financial transactions for someone else to review. That’d be pretty rough.

If someone could look what would they see? How much did you spend on your mortgage? Food? Utilities? Some of these things are innocent enough but let’s dig deeper. How much did you spend eating out? How much entertaining yourself? Movies? Ball games? Concerts? Video rentals?

Now there is nothing wrong with all these things. We all enjoy a good movie. The rub comes when we compare our giving vs. our entertainment.

“Charity – giving to others – is an essential part of Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

CS Lewis
How much do we really give to others?

Read: Luke 12:15-21
15He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.”
16He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. 17He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ 18He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’
20“But God said to him, ‘You fool, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ 21So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

How do you view this “certain rich man”? Some might say he is a wise business man that grew an opportunity.

How does God view this “certain rich man”? See verse 20.

What’s the problem? Where’s the disconnect? Clearly this certain rich man had reduced his life to the pleasure he got from things and had little regard for others. Somewhere in the pursuit of money and ease (v.19) he lost his heart. Please note:
1. He fails to recognize that all things come from God (v.16). Yes, he probably worked hard but that did not make the ground bring forth abundantly! We must do our part but God must do his as well. Who gives you the ability to speak, to walk, to think, to sell, to work?
2. He fails to recognize that God gives so we might give to others (v.18-19). He only thinks of himself and his pleasure. Martin Luther said, “God gave us fingers so the money would fall through.”
3. He fails to recognize that life was not in his control (v.20).
4. He fails to recognize that only what is done for Christ and others will last (v.21). He forgets to “pay it forward” as it were.

Go Deeper: The word “covetousness” is not one we use anymore - even though it is listed as the10th Commandment. The Greek word Luke uses (pleonexia) means “a desire to have more” (pleon = more & exia = to have). Jesus commands His listeners to “keep yourselves from” a desire to have more. The word means to “set up a guard post”; to guard your heart from this desire for more. It is a command not a suggestion.

How are you feeling about this topic? If you will examine yourself with honesty you will recognize the “certain rich man”. He is in all of us at some level. Have you failed to recognize that God wants you to share what you have? Have you forgotten to pay it forward? Maybe take time to confess that and ask God to give you opportunities to give.

Identify 2 places that you can give money to this week and give. Maybe a homeless shelter? Women’s shelter? A ministry? Your church? The guy at McDonalds?

Honestly, how is your giving vs. your entertainment? How can you bring this in line? Is God speaking to you on this?

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.