Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” At the beginning of the year, I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” I also told you that if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. So, to lay a strong foundation for the year, for the past four months, I taught you about “Leveling Up” in five areas:
As I am bringing the series to an end, I am providing a brief recap of each topic. Today we will go back and glean some nuggets about Leveling Up financially.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Jesus’ answer to poverty.
The real answer to poverty is NOT money. The answer to poverty is the Word of God. It is developing a prosperous soul!
In Luke 7 John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, found himself in jail and he was upset that Jesus was not coming to get him. He sent his disciples to go and ask His cousin this question: “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” This question was obviously birthed out of frustration because John knew who Jesus was. But let’s look at Jesus’ response. Jesus said, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” Did you see it? Look again.
Jesus always ministered the answers to life’s problems. What did Jesus minister to the blind? The ability to see.
What did Jesus minister to the lame? The ability to walk.
What did Jesus minister to lepers? Clean skin.
What did Jesus minister to the deaf? The ability to hear.
What did Jesus minister to the dead? Resurrection/life.
Lastly, what did Jesus minister to the poor? Your first response is probably to think it was money. But Jesus never gave the poor any money. He ministered to their needs, but He did not give them money. Jesus gave them the WORD! He said, “The Good News is being preached to the poor,” not money!
You see, you can give a poor person money or meet their immediate need, but if you don’t change their heart and mind, they will need the same hand out the next day. Jesus’ answer to poverty is the Word. If we can get the Word down inside a person, then they will find their divine purpose, and their purpose will lead them out of poverty.
Level UP your commitment to the Word of God, and you will overcome the stranglehold of poverty!
2. Leveling UP your giving: the Tithe.
a) Tithing is about honoring God.
First of all, I will say that to me, after having studied the Bible for 26 solid years. It is my conviction that tithing is not actually part of your “giving” per se. Tithing is simply honoring God in the area of your finances. After you tithe, and after you bring your money in covenant with God, then whatever you sow above and beyond the tithe is what I consider to be giving, because what you give beyond the first 10% is a matter of your free will.
b) Tithing involves God in your finances.
Most believers have areas of their lives that are not fully submitted to God. Some people don’t involve God in their work. Others leave God out of their business. Some don’t welcome God into their decision-making process. Others leave God out of their marriage. Whatever the case, if you have an area of your life where you have not actively invited God IN, then He will remain OUT. God will not force Himself upon you. God’s involvement in your life, in whatever area, must be an act of your free will. If God ever forced you to do something, then you would not be doing it out of your free will, and it would therefore NOT be an act of submission. Understanding that point, I can tell you that many believers leave God out of their finances.
I know many good people with good hearts and good intentions who ask me to pray for them about a financial situation they find themselves in. They want God to bless them financially. They want God to “come through” for them. But when I ask them if they are tithers, they go silent. They don’t like the question because it is putting a spotlight on them and their decisions. Whether they like the question or not, God has set up the earth to function on a system of sowing and reaping, cause and effect, and the free will of humans. In this system, our decisions and actions matter. God will allow whatever we allow. God will permit whatever we permit. If we don’t get God involved in our finances, He won’t get involved.
c) Tithing is about giving God FIRST PLACE.
(Proverbs 3:8,9 ERV)
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first part of your harvest.
10 Then your barns will be full of grain, and your barrels will be overflowing with wine.
— Tithing is not just about giving 10% of whatever comes into your hands, but it is about giving God the FIRST 10%.
— You give God the FIRST! You give God the BEST! Because you are doing it to HONOR HIM!
d) Everything you have came from God anyway!
(1 Chronicles 29:14 ERV)
All these things didn’t come from me and my people. All these things come from you. We are only giving back to you things that came from you.
In 1 Chronicles 29, King David collected the resources required to build God’s temple. The Lord had already told him that he would bring the resources together, and his son, Solomon, would oversee the building project. While David was looking at everything the people gave as an offering to the Lord for the building project, he saw gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, precious stones in many colors, marble, and many other offerings. David was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the offering. But the king also knew that God Himself had blessed the people to be able to give. This caused David to say to the Lord, “All these things didn’t come from me and my people. All these things come from you. We are only giving back to you things that came from you.” This is the essence of our giving. God blesses us richly and we then get to participate in the blessing of giving back to God from the things He freely gave to us.
3. Leveling UP your giving: the Offering.
Giving Offering Beyond the Tithe (10%)
Let’s learn from the widow’s offering.
(Mark 12:41-44 NIV)
41 Jesus sat near the Temple collection box and watched as people put money into it. Many rich people put in a lot of money.
42 Then a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth less than a penny.
43 Jesus called his followers to him and said, “This poor widow put in only two small coins. But the truth is, she gave more than all those rich people.
44 They have plenty, and they gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had. It was money she needed to live on.”
Let’s think about this situation. Here are a few things to consider:
a) Jesus paid attention to what people gave. Think about that for a moment. Let that sink in.
b) Jesus was not happy with the people who ONLY GAVE what they DID NOT NEED! If it does not mean much to you, it will not mean much to God.
c) This woman did not give 10%. She gave 100%. She gave what she needed to LIVE ON.
— Notice that Jesus DID NOT give her the money back.
— Notice that Jesus DID NOT tell her that she did not need to give because she did not have much.
*** She could not afford to give… so, from Jesus’ perspective, SHE COULD NOT AFFORD NOT TO!
Since the earth operates on a system of sowing and reaping, cause and effect, and the free will of humans, Jesus knew that this woman needed “seed in the ground” in order to get out of her financial situation. Some people today would say that the church was taking advantage of her, by receiving her money when she obviously did not have much. But people who think this way don’t understand God’s Kingdom. Jesus applauded what this lady did because He knew that her harvest would be greater than her seed!
*** This woman trusted God. She believed God was her source. And Jesus knew that The Father, who is the Lord of the Harvest, would not let her down!
The difference between a harvest and an inheritance:
(Romans 8:16, 17 TPT)
16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”
17 And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has.
- Inheritance comes because of WHO I AM!
- Harvest comes because of what I do.
Our spiritual inheritance:
a) Jesus qualified you.
— Because of Jesus, you are qualified! You are declared righteous!
— You are an heir of God and a joint-heirs with Jesus Himself.
— You are qualified… not because of what you do or what you fail to do… you are qualified because of what Jesus did for us!
— Some things come as a result of what we do (sowing and reaping, seedtime and harvest, cause and effect), but many things come to us simply because of what Jesus did FOR US! That is our inheritance!!!!
— Inheritance is not based on SEED; it is based on IDENTITY!
b) Our spiritual inheritance is equal for all believers, but our harvest is not.
— The Blood of Jesus applies to all believers equally.
— Forgiveness of sin applies to all believers equally.
— Eternal life is made available to all believers.
— We all get the same salvation, Holy Spirit, and eternal life.
— But there is a difference between your harvest and your inheritance. Your inheritance has NOTHING to do what you do. Your harvest has EVERYTHING to do with what you SOW!
— If you SOW little, you wil REAP little. If you sow NOTHING, you will reap NOTHING!
— You will still be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and going to heaven, but down here, in the earth, you reap what you sow.
c) The size of your seed determines the size of your harvest.
(Read 2 Cor 9:6-10)
— Paul makes it clear that the size of your seed can and will impact the size of your harvest!
— You get to decide the size of the harvest you receive from God by the size of the seed YOU SOW!
— This is NOT equal for everyone because everyone does NOT sow the same size of seed.
— Paul’s message is simple: Sow little… reap little. Sow much… reap much!
— God supplies you what you need… for every need… PLUS MORE!
— He is the one who ensures you have SEED TO SOW!
— He is the one who will multiply your SEED as your SOW IT!
— But YOU ARE THE ONE WHO HAS TO SOW!
— God puts the SEED in your hands, and YOU have to make the decision to SOW IT!
— But some people are foolish enough to EAT THEIR SEED and not sow it!
It’s time to Level Up in this area!
4. Leveling UP your giving: Giving to the Poor (less fortunate).
Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you always.” (Matthew 26:11).
There are many reasons why some people seem less fortunate than others.
What the Bible has to say about giving to the poor:
The richest man to ever live said the following:
(Proverbs 18:27 ERV)
Whoever gives to the poor will have plenty.
(Proverbs 19:17 ERV)
Giving help to the poor is like loaning money to the Lord. He will pay you back for your kindness.
(Proverbs 22:9 ERV)
Generous people will be blessed, because they share their food with the poor.
Solomon was obviously in support of being a blessing to the poor. What the Holy Spirit said through Solomon should make it clear that a portion of your giving should be dedicated to this category. Honoring God with the tithe, giving offerings beyond that, and financially supporting ministries that are advancing God’s Kingdom all over this planet are all great. But please do not forget to give to the less fortunate directly, or to partner with ministries that are doing so.
This is an area where many need to Level UP in as well!
*** Giving to the less fortunate comes down to empathy, compassion, and becoming a conduit of God’s love.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I know it is Your will that I prosper in every area of my life. I was not born to fail. I was born to succeed. However, I now realize that I can only find true success in my divine purpose. To complete my purpose, I must make the most of my time on the earth. On this planet, You said, “money answers all things.” Therefore, I have the right relationship with money. Money is my servant and not my master. I don’t pursue money or things. I pursue You, and when I do, You see to it that everything I need pursues me! I honor You with the first 10% of all of my income, I give free will offerings beyond that, I financially support ministries that are accomplishing doing Your will all over the planet, and I freely give to the less fortunate. I am a conduit of Kingdom finance. You fund Kingdom projects through me. I Level Up financially in 2021 and beyond! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!