Joy of Generosity - page 8

 

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From the Summer 2017 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Joy of Generosity

by Todd Harper
Author of Abundant, Experiencing the Incredible Journey of Generosity

 
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God Owns It All

The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it. Psalm 24:1

 Imagine working for a large foundation with near-unlimited resources. Your job is to give your foundation’s money away to causes that it has decided to support. One day you might deliver a $10 million dollar check to a university. Another day you hand a $2.5 million check to a neighborhood center that provides job training for teenagers. What a great job! You get to give to all these wonderful causes and institutions, spending someone else’s money.
 If you’re a Christian, you’ve probably heard “God owns it all” hundreds of times, usually when the pastor preaches about stewardship. You may have even said it a few times yourself when a fellow believer alludes to your wealth: “Well, God owns it all. I’m just a steward.” But what does that really mean?
 It means when you are generous, you’re really giving away someone else’s money. That’s what makes it fun. Truly generous people understand that they are God’s money managers. Their wealth is not really theirs. Instead, they know that God has entrusted us with his resources so that we can use them as he directs. When we understand this biblical message, we become like that guy who hands out checks for the foundation. What a great job! I don’t have to worry about sharing “my” money, because it really isn’t mine. It all belongs to God.

Heaven Is My Home

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20

 You’ve likely seen the illustration that Randy Alcorn and others have used to remind us our time on earth is brief, yet life in heaven continues forever. Draw a line across a piece of paper, then go back and make a dot with the tip of your pen or pencil just above the beginning of the line. The dot represents your time here on earth. Seventy, eighty, maybe ninety years. Seems like a long time, especially when you’re in your thirties or forties. But compared to the line—eternity—it’s barely a nanosecond. As Randy directs so succinctly and poignantly, “Live for the line, not for the dot.”
 Living for the line means that our primary focus is on what we can take with us, not on what will be left behind. All the money and the things that we buy stay. Who we truly are as children of God is all that we take with us so that we can enjoy a relationship with God forever. So why spend so much time on things that are temporary? Why not spend more time on drawing closer to God, becoming who he created and blessed with gifts and financial resources? Or to put it another way, if heaven is our true home, why worry about the furniture, appliances, and landscaping that we can’t take with us?
 Generosity keeps us focused on what really matters, what really is important to God. When we are generous in Christ’s name, we are furnishing our eternal home with treasures far greater than anything we can buy on earth. That doesn’t mean spending money on nice things is wrong. It just might not be the best option, and certainly not the only option. Because in our heart’s true home none of that will matter.

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