Dealing With The Spirit of Poverty, Part 5
May 25, 2018
We wrapped up last week with the statement that Jesus wasn’t
poor. In fact, Jesus had to be among the
wealthiest individuals of that era.
Consider how he began his life.
At age two, when the magi came to visit him and pay honor and tribute to
the “King of Kings,” they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. Contrary to popular belief, the gold wasn’t
just a few coins.
These were Magi! They came representing the kings of the
east. When you stop and think about the
Queen of Sheba coming to visit Solomon with a camel train laden with gold, and
you realize that the equivalent value of the gold she brought amounted to $119
Million, do you think for a moment that the Magi’s camel train carried any less
for the King of Kings?
Getting back to what
started all this last week, let me retrace some of what I said then.
made what Jesus shared different than how many folks have interpreted his
statements was the fact that He neither had the time nor the inclination to
waste what few years He had on living in the lap of luxury, going home and
sleeping in a nice bed, satisfying his creature comforts. He could have, you know.
wasn’t poor. He had enormous wealth at
His disposal. He chose, instead, to take
every available moment investing Himself in the eternal investment that would
ultimately pay the dividends that would bring Him a yield of folks with whom he
could fellowship as His co-equals.
was sacrificing the ease of His flesh for a spiritual return that would last
for eternity. Thus, as He began his
three and a half years of ministry, He said, “Lay not up
for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where
thieves break through and steal, But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through and steal. For where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
I can hear the arguments coming!
See! Jesus said you’re not
supposed to try to get rich! That’s a
“…that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of
heaven. And again I say unto you, that
it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man
to enter into the kingdom of God.”
preaching against prosperity? No He
didn’t! He’s talking about “where your
treasure is.” He’s not preaching against
prosperity, against wealth: He’s preaching against laying up wealth for
yourself that disintegrates with time.
It sounds like double talk, so let me explain.
spelled out a principle that literally affects every single thing we do in
and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together,
and running over shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure ye mete withal, it
shall be measured to you again.”
where the focus is? On giving! Not on getting! That doesn’t equate to not having. What some folks forget is that if you don’t
have, you don’t give. It gets wilder
than that, too. If you give what you
don’t have – not because you make some arbitrary decision to, but because the
Lord asks it of you – the Lord multiplies it back to you so many times over you
can’t even begin to count it. The
poverty mindset says you need to get — and keep for yourself. Giving flies in the face of the poverty
businessman Dad used to know was a fellow by the name of R.G. Letourneau. This was a guy responsible for the
development and invention of much of the earth-moving equipment we see in the
construction industry. I never got to
know Letourneau — I was too young when Dad visited with him to remember
anything — but he practiced a principle that lots of folks have come to
was a struggling designer, machinist, businessman – whatever label you want to
apply to him – who began practicing the principle of tithing – then
giving. Now before you all go screaming
at me, shouting me down and saying that tithing is Old Testament only and not
New Testament, just hang on for a second.
what the Lord said to Moses about tithing?
(Most folks don’t seem to realize the importance of this.) “And all the tithe
…….is holy unto the LORD.” See that word,
all? That means every bit of it – no
matter what you are tithing on. Money,
land, the fruit of your labors, the growth of your herds – everything!
tell me something, folks! If the tithe
was holy unto the Lord before Jesus came, where, pray tell me, did we get this
screwed-up idea that Jesus made it less holy…or unholy?”
Bob! What Jesus demonstrated – with the
widow’s mite – was that everything we have belongs to the Lord. His praise of the widow was that she gave
more with her mite than those rich Scribes and Pharisees gave out of their
wealth. The amount wasn’t
important. It was the principle. She was giving all that she had, knowing that
she couldn’t out-give the Lord.
never changed the principle of the tithe.
He just expanded it. The tithe
was still intended to promote and support those whom God calls into the
ministry so that they can continue to give themselves to sharing the life that
we need to grow in our maturing relationship.
Jesus did criticize some tithers, but not for the tithe: for limiting
themselves to the tithe.
happens when you become legalistic about tithing and only give ten percent of
your increase? It’s your attitude about
it. You are giving what is absolutely
demanded by Law. You are living
according to the Law instead of incorporating the Grace and Liberty that comes
in giving liberally and abundantly. If
your giving is legalistic, you reap the curse of the Law. If your giving is free and abundant and
cheerful, you soon find out that you can’t out-give the Lord.
was the lesson R.G. Letourneau learned.
He was tithing, and doing OK, but not really getting anywhere
financially. So he set down one day and
said to the Lord, “Lord, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give you 20% of my increase if you’ll go
into business with me.” That
worked! Letourneau began to prosper.
he increased his giving to 30%. Then
40%. Then 50%. Before it was over, he was giving the Lord
90% of his income and living better off the 10% than most folks would live off
their 90 or 100%. He built his
earth-moving equipment business into one of the world’s largest. He became one of the world’s richest men
before his death.
See! Letourneau never forgot the 10% and where it
belonged. But he added another 10%, and
then another, and then another, etc.
Letourneau spread his giving so that he supported missions and various
ministries; and ultimately, he built what still operates today as a thriving
and prosperous college in North Texas, LeTourneau Bible College. The folks that come out that school have
those fundamentals taught to them. They
are taught how to give.
of God’s businessmen was J.C. Penney.
Operating a five and dime store and struggling to make ends meet, Penney
decided he was going to begin tithing from the proceeds of his dime store. He began to prosper as few people have,
growing his little store into a nationwide department store chain that nearly
every single American buys from at some time or another.
question isn’t tithing? The question
isn’t even giving. The question is
whether you have giving incorporated into your spirit. Giving becomes your mindset. Giving becomes the way you live.
many years, Della and I have given.
There have been times when the Lord asked us to give our last red cent –
even with bills unpaid and house payment coming due. We have never failed to obey.
and I were talking about an experience we had several years back when I was
teaching broadcast engineering as an adjunct to the University of Alaska. I was making pretty good money, but we also
had some pretty steep living expenses at the time. One of my students came to me one day and
told me about another student in the class that was about to be evicted from
his apartment. That student had missed
several days of classes, and I wondered out loud in class where he had been.
into the student’s circumstances, we found out that his wife was pregnant, that
she had complications, and their medical coverage was falling way short to
cover their expenses. He couldn’t afford
to keep up with the medical expenses and make his rent payment at the same
and I felt specifically prompted by the Holy Spirit to pay all of this
student’s back rent so that he wouldn’t be evicted, and so that he could
complete the engineering course and get a job I knew was waiting for him. In order to help that young man, however, it
took every bit of money we had in our bank account. I got a cashier’s check made payable to the
student’s landlord in the total amount of his past due and current rent, and it
left us with something like seventeen cents in the bank.
ironic was the fact that our house payment was due in five days. We both had peace about it and knew that the
Lord would make good on our needs. He
did. I received an unexpected legal
settlement over an all-but-forgotten issue a couple days later that more than
covered our needs.
wasn’t the first time we gave everything we had, and it certainly wasn’t the
last time. The student? Oh, yes.
He finished the course and almost immediately went to work for a local
network radio station making more money than he’d ever made in his life.
were doing more than just taking care of a financial need, however. We were investing ourselves – sowing seed, if
you will – into that young man and his wife.
We saw the return on our investment in him in the years that followed as
he became a recognized radio personality, using his position to influence his
listeners for good – and more specifically, for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
and I don’t just give money. We don’t
just tithe. Giving is our occupation. I used to tell folks that I was a minister of
the gospel and a broadcaster (among other things). Now, when folks ask me what I do for a
living, I tell them that I’m a giver.
You ought to see the looks on their faces.
do what for a living? Give? What kind of occupation is that?”
may seem unorthodox, but the principles incorporated into tithing and giving
and sowing all yield prosperity when we do it in obedience to God’s word. We don’t just give. We sow.
It literally flies in the face of the Spirit of Poverty.
the sharing I did some weeks back on sowing?
This is what I was talking about.
Everything we do has a “seed sowing and harvest” component to it. We give because it is the heart of the
Lord. We give because we can sow into
people’s lives and expect a harvest. We
give because it is the way to receive.
We give because it is the principal road to prosperity. God has prospered us in ways that transcend
you have seen from my Sunday sharing, as well as the weekly Coffee Break
articles, Della and I have enjoyed the presence of the Lord and adventures in
and with Him in a way that no words can possible describe. We prosper continuously – not because we are
trying to get rich, and not because we are trying to make as much money as we
can. We prosper because we continue to
sow seed. We plant, and we harvest. We plant some more, and we harvest some more.
sharing is a kind of planting and sowing.
In the nearly 14 years that I’ve been writing these coffee break
articles, we have received emails and phone calls from people who have accepted
Jesus Christ as their personal savior as a direct result of reading them. We have heard from others who have
rededicated their lives to the Lord.
others have called us on the phone to report miraculous healings as a result of
having faith sparked in their spirits and responding to the Spirit of the Lord.
and I also sow into other ministries, looking to participate in the harvest
that comes forth in those ministries. We
give to several missions abroad. We
participate as partners with Neville Johnson, Paul Keith Davis, and other
prophetic ministries. I’m not saying all
this to toot our horns. If the Lord
didn’t provide the seed for us to sow, we’d be just as dead in the water as
come to understand – with complete revelation – just exactly what Paul meant
when he wrote, “Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread
for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your
sense to you? How about it, folks? Want to do a little experiment? Want to try and out-give God?
you know why I always start with or end my conversations with folks with the
phrase, ‘Blessings on you!’ If I bless
others, I get blessed. If I get blessed,
I have more to bless with.
the Law of Sowing and Reaping. More to
the point, it’s the Law of Prosperity — the absolute antithesis of the Spirit
need to shift gears at this point and talk about the intricacies of the poverty
mindset, so let’s call a time out for this week and pick it up here next week.
For those of you
who’ve participated during the past three years in our Monday night Healing
Prayer Conference Call, this is just a reminder that the calls have resumed on
a once-a-month basis, the first Monday of each month. If you have a need for healing, or you have
friends in need of healing, here is the number to call: (712) 775-7035.
The Access Code is: 323859#.
At the same time, in
case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our
Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about
10:45AM Pacific. That conference number
is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these
gatherings available by Skype. If you
wish to participate by video on Skype, my Skype ID is regner.capener. If you miss the live voice call, you can dial
(712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded –
not yet, anyway.
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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