Greetings and Solutions!
OK, Salutations, too. You WOULD like some solutions today, though, wouldn't you?
One solution for Della and me is the fact that I have her back in the office with me at least two or three days a week after a very long period of busyness with family and business activities. That means that I can actually see daylight in my office for the first time in months. Whaddaya think? I might actually get caught up with things and be able to get more than one or two of these Coffee Breaks out in a week's time. Hurray!
We went to Winco Foods in Richland yesterday and picked up some more of that double-roasted French Roast coffee. Potent stuff! That's what's steeping today in the French Press, so pour yourself a cup. Last time I looked, there were even a few "vitamins" in the kitchen.
This principle we've been discussing about "selling your reasoning" in order to follow the Lord is perhaps one of the most important foundations in Kingdom Economics. I've already shared with you the story of David Dorsett (again, that's not his real name) but let me explain this foundation from a different perspective.
Earlier in this series, I said that faith is the currency of the Kingdom. It's what we spend in order to receive everything -- whether it be salvation, healing, deliverance, provision or whatever -- we get from God. "Without faith," Paul wrote in his epistle to the Hebrews, "it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (see Hebrews 11:6)
It requires faith to set aside your own reasoning in any situation. Believe me, your reasoning is very logical, too -- especially when it comes to money matters.
Della was reminding me the other day of an event that happened a couple years ago when the Lord spoke to us and told us to pay off a certain minister's home mortgage, and free him and his family of that monthly payment. In a situation like this, you want to be sure that the instruction you are receiving isn't just coming out of some place of superheated emotions because of compassion for someone, or maybe because you had some chocolate-covered dill pickles before you went to bed.
Let's be clear, too. We aren't talking about a million dollars or anything like that. Still, it was a chunk of change!
The first time I heard the instruction of the Holy Spirit to pay off this particular mortgage, I kind of shook my head and said to myself, That's nuts! I'd have to borrow the money myself to do it because we don't have that much cash on hand or in our bank account!
Nevertheless, the instruction of the Holy Spirit in me was clear and unmistakable. Because this was a major financial decision, I decided not to do anything unless Della also heard the same thing in her spirit. This is something where both husband and wife had better be in total agreement.
Two days later, we were sitting in the living room, talking about the often unusual things the Lord has instructed us to do throughout the years and Della suddenly said, "I don't know what you think about this, but the Holy Spirit told me that we need to pay off Don and Marie's (not their real names) mortgage." I started laughing and told her that the Lord had said the same thing to me two days earlier.
She asked me how much cash we had on hand, and whether we needed to borrow any funds in order to do it. I gave her our financial picture and told her I'd have to know what the exact payoff was to answer the question. We contacted Don and Marie and told them what instruction we'd received from the Lord, and they were naturally speechless. They contacted their mortgage company and got an exact dollar figure for the payoff, then sent that information to us.
I had to borrow almost half the money needed, and did so without any second thoughts, misgivings or qualms of any kind. Della and I have learned throughout the years that when God instructs you to do something, regardless of how rational or irrational, logical or illogical it may be, you don't second-guess God. You don't sit there and try to figure it out. You just obey and trust God to make things work.
We've also learned to apply another principle -- and I'll share more on this principle in the days to come -- and that's the principle of seed-sowing.
For us, we treated this as sowing seed. When you sow seed of any kind, you expect to reap a harvest. We were sowing into the Kingdom of God. We were also sowing into the lives of people who had given their lives in the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We declared our seed and named it. That may seem strange to some of you, but this is a Kingdom principle. It is part of Kingdom Economics.
I've said this already on several occasions, but I'll say it again. The societies of today -- the kingdoms of this world, if you please -- all exist on the "get" principle. They revolve around "getting" whatever they can for themselves. It's part of the curse that came upon mankind following Adam and Eve's eviction from the Garden of Eden.
I'll never forget the day a couple years ago or so when an investment broker called me on the phone to see if I might be interested in investing in certain stocks and bonds. We engaged in a casual conversation to begin with, and he asked me what I did for a living. I told him that "I give for a living."
There was this momentary silence on the other end of the phone, and then he asked, "You do what?"
I repeated myself, and then explained that Della and I do
not live off the world's system. I told him that we do not work for a living, that we give. That prompted some more
curiosity on the part of the investment broker, so I explained the difference
between the Kingdom of God with its economy, and the economy of this world.
I talked to him about "sweatless living."
We talked about working and sweating and wearing oneself out trying to eke out
a decent living, and how the world lives this way. Then
we talked about the rest that comes in one's whole being when you live life
according to the principles of the
Funny thing. He forgot to talk about the investments he had originally called me about. Before he hung up, he said, "I sure wish I had your job."
The end of the story about Don and Marie, and paying off their mortgage goes like this. I got a cashier's check for the amount they needed and sent it directly to the mortgage company with a cover letter, and a copy to Don and Marie. Not long thereafter, they received the clear title to their home.
Della says it was about three months later, but we received a financial gift from someone that was something on the order of five times what we'd given to pay off that mortgage. Think seed sowing doesn't work? Think again.
One thing, though, to remember. Seed sowing doesn't work when it is sowed in greed, sowed in strife, sowed in fear, or sowed in anything other than love-driven faith.Â Actually, check that! Seed sowing will always bring a harvest, but if you sow in fear, you're going to reap a whirlwind of agony. If you sow in strife, you'll reap division, separation and a whole lot of other things you don't even want to think about.
We've been sharing the story of the rich man who came to Jesus, having kept the Law all his life but who was unfulfilled. Remember Jesus' instruction to him? "If thou wilt be perfect [the Greek text uses the word, teleios, for "complete and fulfilled"] sell [all] that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow me."
For someone whose entire frame of reference is the Law, the societies of this world, and money (or Mammon) as the means of living it stretches the imagination beyond any natural reference point. For someone whose trust has been in the world system -- the world's economic system, and the way it operates -- this is a command that is totally illogical.
I've heard very few folks who seem to really grasp what Jesus was saying to the rich man. He wasn't demeaning money, the use of it, or even having lots of it. What He WAS saying was, "Dump your trust in the world's way of doing things. Give it away! Invest yourself in the Kingdom of Heaven. When you're instructed to give, give, and do it with joy. It will give you access to the treasures of Heaven -- and those treasures are limitless. You'll never have need for another thing in your life. Follow me. Let me guide and direct the affairs of your life, and I'll give you a life that will totally fulfill you!"
Let's come back for a second to the story of Don and Marie. Here was a couple who had invested themselves in the Kingdom of God. And incidentally, their home was not a two-bedroom shack: it was a six- or seven-bedroom, 5600 square-foot house that Don had built with his sons. It was a place used for ministry, caring for folks, taking care of the needy, ministering to others.
Sure, it was a large, comfortable place they could have retired in, sat back on their laurels and thanked God for their blessings, but that just wasn't Don and Marie! Retirement wasn't even in their thinking! The fact that they had hit a rough spot financially and were struggling to make ends meet did not go unnoticed by the Lord. And the Lord brought their need to our attention. He instructed us to mitigate their need by paying off their mortgage.
For us, the opportunity to do this was spectacular! It was an awesome honor to be asked by the Lord to sow seed in this way. Particularly because we didn't have the money to do it. That meant that we were going to see the intervention and provision of the Lord. I was more than glad to borrow the money because I knew the Lord always makes good on things -- in abundance!
We got to give with great joy and excitement. Although we knew that the Lord always returns a harvest of not less than 30-fold (30X), that wasn't our motive in giving. We were giving because the Lord entrusted us with that responsibility.
It's a funny thing. The Lord doesn't trust everyone to give. That may sound strange, so let me explain. There are people whose hearts are generous, loving and overflowing with His presence, who -- out of a heart of love and communion with the Lord Jesus Christ -- revel in giving because it becomes an act of worship.
You remember what the apostle Paul wrote, don't you? (Notice, also, that Paul's statement comes within the framework of seed sowing.) "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
That word, "cheerful," is translated from the Greek word, hilaros (from which we get our English word, "hilarious.") We can also translate this word: prompt to do anything, willing, cheerful, joyous.
THAT is precisely what the Lord is looking for in His people: folks who love Him and trust Him to the place where He can ask anything of them, and they do it joyfully out of that place of love -- no matter how ridiculous or impossible it may seem at the moment.
Remember what we said in Monday's Coffee Break?
Society's focus today is how to get enough money to pay the bills, make the car payment, pay the house mortgage, keep up with one's credit card payments, pay the utility bills, buy gasoline, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.
People who are in love with the Lord and have a relationship of trust in Him are not focused at all on keeping up with their payments. That doesn't mean they don't discipline themselves financially and keep a good name business-wise. It just means that they won't allow the need to make a house payment, a car payment, a credit card payment -- or whatever -- get in the way of responding to and obeying the Lord.
This goes back a few years, but Della and I had an occasion when the Lord instructed us to pay the rent for a college student who was in one of the engineering classes I taught. In order to pay his rent, it meant I wouldn't have enough to pay ours, but Della and I didn't give it a second thought. For us, it was an adventure in watching the Lord meet our need -- and He DID in a timely manner with extra besides!
In Don and Marie's case, hearing the Lord instruct us to pay off their mortgage even at the cost of borrowing the money ourselves meant we were going to experience a different realm of adventure. We'd never had the Lord instruct us to give that much money before, and we were excited to see what God was going to do.
This, my friends, is one of the fundamental differences between the economy of the Kingdom of God and the economies of this world. Borrowing in order to give because the Lord has asked you may not be logical in today's world, but then again we've gladly sold all we have -- spiritually and practically speaking -- in order to follow the Lord.
There is a picture of this in II Corinthians 8 where the apostle Paul speaks of the believers in Macedonia, "How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints."
That wording in the KJV may be a bit obscure, so let me re-phrase it for you from the Greek text. "For in the midst of an ordeal of severe stress and personal pressure, their abundance of joy, and their depth of poverty and place of personal need have overflowed in a wealth of lavish generosity on their part. For I can bear witness, that they gave according to their ability -- yes, and beyond their ability -- and they did it voluntarily, even to their own hurt..."
The picture goes beyond this, however, as we see in the Amplified Version: (II Corinthians 8:5)Â "Nor was this gift of theirs merely the contribution that we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us as His agents by the will of God -- that is, entirely disregarding their personal interests, they gave as much as they possibly could, having put themselves at our disposal to be directed by the will of God."
Now THAT's giving! That is the attitude and spirit the Lord looks for in His people. And THAT, folks, is about as opposite of society's attitude as you can possibly get. When you meet people who know how to give like that, you meet folks who are living demonstrations of an economy foreign to this world.
Let's wrap up today's Coffee Break with something that Jesus said to His disciples. This is where the rubber meets the road.
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (we're going to come back to this next week) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!Â No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?Â Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
That's from Matthew 6:19-34, and that's where we'll continue on Monday.
Kingdom Economics is a system under which we return to the priorities of life established by God in the Garden. Our assignment from God is our priority. Our provision is His priority.
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you.
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