Tag Archives: Randy Alcorn

The secret to being blessed financially

Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And thereby put Me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you, and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.  Malachi 3:8-10

 This isn’t one of those speeches that you’ll get when you turn on a church channel where you see a guy with all kinds of diamond and gold rings and watches on. He says, “Send me money and you’ll be blessed. God will double your income.” No, it isn’t. But here God says that His people, the Jews, the keepers of the Temple and the words of the prophets and Moses, were robbing Him.

Robbing Him? Yes. They were supposed to give God a tenth of their bounty and they money bags.jpgweren’t. They were keeping it for themselves, and they were under a curse from God. God told them to test Him and see—if they would start to give a tenth of everything they had, He would open the windows of Heaven and pour down blessings on them.

Now some people look at this and say, “Now that’s the Old Testament. That’s not for today. There are enough things in the New Testament about giving to indicate the very same thing. A tenth of what you have, or a tithe, is just a good place to start. Listen to Luke 6:38: Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. In 2 Corinthians 9:10 Paul wrote, He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

If you are generous with your money, God will multiply your spiritual seed for sowing. In other words, there is a link between how generous you are and your harvest of righteousness. If you don’t see any spiritual fruit being reproduced in your life, maybe it is because you have never learned the discipline of giving. So I get to be the one to tell you this very important secret!

I can tell you from my own experience, the more generous I am with the money that God has blessed me with, the more money He blesses me with. And, the more opportunities He blesses me with to share Jesus with others. If you are struggling to make ends meet, maybe it is because you are under the Malachi 3 curse. Start giving God a tenth of what you have and trust Him to multiply it. He said to test Him and see. Do it.

Give to God off of the top, not with what’s left. Matthew 6:33 tells us to Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added onto us. He means it.

There is this neat little book by Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving.  It is by Multnomah Press, 2001.  He has a lot more to say in his bigger book, Money, Possessions and Eternity.  That is by Tyndale House Publishing and it was done in 1989 and 2003.  Both open up a whole new perspective on storing up eternal treasures.  Alcorn tells how to do develop a treasure mentality, not only because earth’s currency will become worthless when Christ returns, but because Jesus commands it.

In fact, in his first page in Money, Possessions and Eternity Alcorn sites that the Bible devotes twice as many verses to money (about 2350 of them) than to faith and prayer combined.  Boom.  It’s a big deal.  So stop and think about how you view money, how much you give to God, and whether you are storing up treasures on earth or for Heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal, as Matthew 6:19 states.  And be blessed!

*Image from ‘The Sacred Path’ Blogger


Roadblocks to ‘Living For the Dash’

Randy Alcorn, in his book The Treasure Principle talks about an eternal perspective that lives like this isn’t all there is.  He coaches us to have our eyes on what’s ahead, not on what is here.  One of his examples in his 4th chapter includes pretending that we are in France and staying in a hotel.  We aren’t going to stay, but are going to head back to the United States.  We can’t take the things we accumulate with us, but the money we earn can be sent back to the States.  If that were the case, we wouldn’t spend money and time on decorating the hotel room.  We would send most of our money ahead of our departure.

That’s just how it is with storing up our treasures in the eternal coffers, not the earthly ones.  We get it, but we don’t.  We want to be used by God, but we just have so much to do here.  That includes earning a living, raising a family and having time for rest and refreshing.  And that takes most of our time and money.  So how can we possibly think about living a different way?  Part of it has to do with our mindset related to Heaven and eternity.

Our lives are a finite dot and eternity is an infinite dash of time.  I believe at least the 1000 year reign of Jesus will include us living as citizens in the Kingdom of God with resurrected bodies and what we do here impacts what we do there.  We just won’t be strumming harps but fully utilizing the gifts that God imparted us with.  How much we store up in eternal treasures will go with us in that Kingdom.  Even a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name will be rewarded, let alone a life sold out to Jesus with many such acts.

What we do here matters and one day we will be thankful for every Bible study we attended, every act of service we attempted in the name of Jesus, and every Bible verse memorized.  Alcorn calls this “Living for the Dash.”

 

But there are roadblocks to living this way, otherwise we’d all be accomplishing much more in the name of Jesus and His Kingdom.  Alcorn lists things like unbelief, insecurity, pride, idolatry and a desire for power and control that keeps us from giving more and from living for the dash.  Unbelief has a lot of siblings.  Let’s name some of them:  worry, fear, doubt, and lack of trust.  Those things lead to self pity, despair and spiritual inactivity.  We’re too busy spinning in circles to move ahead.  We’re also too busy thinking about ourselves to think about serving the King.  In Jeremiah 2:13 God scolds the Israelites by telling them that they have rejected Him, the fountain of living water and have made leaky containers instead that hold no water.  That’s idolatry–turning to things other than Jesus to fill the holes in our heart that only Jesus is intended to fill.  We can’t fill it with shopping, food, kids or friends.

When the Bible says in Psalm 23 that “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (need anything)” it is true.  God leads us beside still waters, He holds us in the palm of His hand, and He takes care of  our tomorrow.  He even writes the script of our lives.  If we are really in charge of our lives and not God, then when things don’t go the way we think they should go we spin.  We worry, fret and control.  We use money to provide a facade of security even though it’s a house of straw.  We certainly wouldn’t want to give money to things that don’t benefit us, we have to hold on to it to take care of ourselves.  That’s if self is on the throne of our hearts.  The issue of money hits at who is Lord of our lives.  If Jesus is Lord and sits on our heart’s throne, then we realize what we have is His, not ours.

The anecdote?  Take God at His word.  Trust Him.  Find your joy in Him, not in anything else.  When the disciples worried about where they were going to get bread, Jesus rebuked them for having hard hearts and called them “O ye of little faith.”  He didn’t say “Oh, poor dear.”  He said to Peter “Get thee behind me Satan, you are setting your interests on yourself not on God’s interests,” in Matthew 16:23.  And He called Peter a hinderance.  Ouch.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.  When we worry, don’t trust and take things into our own hands, it is sin.  It is a tug of war, but the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the power available to us to overcome.  Our goal isn’t just to overcome, it is to move ahead in Jesus name.  It is to obey God and to let Him take care of the consequences of our obedience.  

And when we do?  We will have stored up treasure in Heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt.  The Dow Jones average won’t impact it, nor will our aging bodies and minds.


Materialism and Narcissism

A friend became a Christian early on in college.  He had lived a life of partying previously and left that to follow Jesus.  He had some up’s and down’s over the years, so when I saw him several years after college, I asked him how he was doing spiritually.  Bruce was making plenty of money in his career, and he paused and then said that he wasn’t where he should be with the Lord.   He said, “I get the same feeling from money that I used to get from pot.  Materialism is my drug, but no one at church judges me for it like they would if I was smoking pot again.  But my attitude is the same.”

Wow.  I’ve never heard it said like that, but it’s true.  In the Old Testament we read how the Israelites had Asherah poles and altars to Baal in their back yards and it took a radical prophet to pull them down.  Would you suppose that materialism is our Asherah poles, or as Bruce so aptly said: our pot?

In Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, he quotes statistics that 17% of American Christians claim to tithe, but only 6% actually do and 23% gave nothing.  What we do with our money reflects what we do with God and our relationship with Him.  In Luke 12:20-21 there is the story about the guy who filled his barns and then died without being able to enjoy his stored wealth.  Jesus called him a fool and said “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”  Tithing is one way to be rich toward God, and to ensure that we’ve giving God the first fruits of our bounty.  But it’s not the only way.  We could put money in the plate and still be selfish with  our time, self centered in our pursuits and cold hearted to God.

Our stewardship when it comes to being rich toward God becomes the story of our lives.  I don’t think we intend to be short sighted as Christians, but if we don’t intend not to be, the pull of the culture takes over.  We live in a materialistic and narcissistic culture.  Randy Alcorn writes that Satan is the lord of materialism. Our world is currently ruled by Satan until Jesus comes back and takes over.

Materialism is money-centered and thing-centered rather than being God-centered.  Narcissism is being me-centered.  Combine the two and we’re in trouble.  Our culture seems to be getting more and more narcissistic by the minute.

The cell phone commercial where the parents trample each other to get a better picture of their kids on stage plays out reality, where we’ve put our kids and ourselves on stage–trampling each other to get a close up shot.  Facebook is the adult version of a kid’s music program all too often, where we think that everyone needs to know things like “I’m sitting on the porch.”  I know someone who posted 800 pictures of her sister’s wedding.  Really?

We might not intend to be thing and me centered, but if we’re not about the Kingdom and being rich toward God, then we are. Jesus just might call us fools too.  If I think that the Christian life is about me and my dreams, my happiness, my pursuits, how my week went, then I’ve fallen into a trap that makes me not rich toward God.  It’s easy to just want to think about those things and not about bigger things.

Colossians 3:1-3 commands us to set our hearts and minds on things above.  John the Baptist told the Pharisees to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance,” in Luke 3 and then told them what to do with their greedy hearts.  I want a generous heart and that would involve not just my money, but my time and the things I have, whether it’s a lot or a little.  And I want a kingdom centered heart, an other’s centered heart and one that is rich toward God.

How do I get there?  Set my affections on things above, as Colossians 3 urges.  I do that by making sure that I spend time with Jesus each day, meditating on His call to be my treasure.  Then with His strength I resist the pull to love gadgets and shopping and me time over and above what benefits others and the Kingdom.  If I ask God how to do that each day, I trust He’ll tell me.

Randy Alcorn writes “I, for one, hate to live with that nagging feeling deep inside that when Jesus called people to follow Him, He had more in mind than I am experiencing.”

God, may you take me to what You do have in mind for me, to a life that is rich toward you and rejects the pull of the world.  Take me away from the love of stuff and comfort at the expense of what You really want.  Answer the stirrings of my heart, to show me how to balance work, home.  I don’t know how to get there from here, but I trust that You will show me.