Open the Eyes of Understanding

I recently read an article that appeared online around the end of December of 2007, written by the Associated Press entitled “’Gospel of Wealth’ Facing Scrutiny”.  They opened the article by telling about a woman who was angry and bitter because she had given money to certain ministries and expected the blessings to show up.  When they didn’t, she believed it was because her faith wasn’t strong enough.  Then things got worse and she ended up borrowing money just to buy groceries.  I truly felt for this woman which has prompted me to include this section in this writing.  There are several things that were not mentioned in this article that I would like to address.

1) God’s word says in John 10:3-5 that we are His sheep and His sheep hear His voice.  Even for those not yet trained to hear His voice, God is able to lead.  God will confirm to us what we’re to give, when we’re to give and to whom we’re to give.  We need to confirm that it is God leading us, prompting us and directing us to give.  When not specifically directed by God, we can decide what we want to give, but we are not to give just because there’s a need.  According to 2 Cor. 9:7.

7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (NKJV)

2) When God does confirm what, when and to whom we are to give, we do it out of love for and obedience to Him, not because we get something back.  Any child who loves his father wants to please Him.  The ability to give is a privilege that we can use to love the Lord with all our might.  Giving is also a blessing that we can activate for ourselves.  Because God is good and gracious, He has promised us a return on our giving.  But that should not be our primary motivation for giving, as revealed in the scriptures below.  
Deuteronomy 6:5 - 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. (NASB)

Matthew 22:37-40 -  37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (NKJV)

Acts 20:35 -  35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " (NKJV)

3) When we give as the Lord directs, it is not our business how or when the return comes.  That’s the Lord’s business.  What the recipient does with our gift is also not our responsibility; that’s between them and the Lord.  Our business is to stay in a position to hear the Lord, to obey Him, to believe and stand on His word, to name our seed and to expect the return.  Of course we want to sow into good soil, into ministries that are obedient to God.  But first and foremost, we must obey the Lord.

4) Sometimes the return on our giving is delayed for many different reasons, such as our disobedience or the disobedience of others, unforgiveness, immaturity, lack of wisdom, attacks from the devil, witchcraft, or not knowing God’s timing, set times, cycles or seasons.  The key is to ask God, who will reveal to us those things that are hindering or hampering our blessings.  He will direct us and give us the wisdom we need to overcome.

James 1:5 - 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (NKJV) 

5) There are some scriptures that few people claim, but they are never-the-less promises of God. 

John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (NKJV)

Mark 10:29 - So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life. (NKJV)

The Lord promised us that in the world, we will have tribulation and our hundredfold blessing will be accompanied by persecutions.  These promises belong to us as well as the others.  The devil doesn’t want to see wealth in the hands of God’s people because he knows what we’ll do with it; we’ll use it to get the gospel preached all over the earth and to destroy the works of darkness.  Sometimes we must do as Paul recommended to Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:3:

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (NKJV)