This morning we continue our series entitled “Leveling Up with the Word!” We have been looking at the parable of the sower. Let’s get back to it today.
Setting the stage:
(Mark 4:13-20 ERV)
“The farmer is like someone who plants God’s teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. That is like some people who hear the teaching of God. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.
Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching, and they quickly and gladly accept it. But they don’t allow it to go deep into their lives. They keep it only for a short time. As soon as trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they give up.
Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want. This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.
And others are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce a good crop—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”
We have been focusing on the phrase “the love of money” for days. Once again, money in and of itself is not evil. The Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim 6:10). The Bible does not teach against believers having money. The Bible is actually full of examples where God caused people to increase financially. But the Bible does teach, in an obvious way, against believers putting their trust or confidence in money.
Later in Paul’s letter to his son, Pastor Timothy, the Apostle said, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Tim 6:17-19 NIV). Let’s glean some golden nuggets from this today as we seek to close out the week.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Remaining humble will help you keep the right perspective.
The Apostle Paul addressed the rich 1 Tim 6:17-19. He said they should:
a) Remain humble. It often seems like earthly riches fuel arrogance. But God can do a great deal through a rich person who is humble and submitted to Him.
b) Never put your hope or confidence in money. The Bible is not against people have money (quite the contrary), but it is against you putting your confidence (or faith) in it.
c) Acknowledge the fact that earthly riches are “uncertain.” If you trust in money (instead of trusting God), you will quickly find out how uncertain money can be. Your life can fall apart in an instant when your confidence is in money.
d) Be generous. Paul said, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” Paul told the rich to not only be rich in money but to be rich in good deeds. When God places abundance in your hands, He wants you to minister to the world out of the overflow. He wants you to fund Kingdom projects all over the world. He will tell you what to do with what He gave you. He will lead you concerning where to sow and how much to give. But you must then be willing to do so. Your obedience will unlock even more abundance.
e) Enjoy everything God places in your hands. God wants you to have and enjoy the ONE LIFE He gave you. Once you acknowledge that everything you have came from Him and are willing to do whatever He tells you to do with the resources, make sure you enjoy the process. God gives you seed for sowing (this is what you are supposed to give away), but God also gives you bread for eating (this what you keep and manage). If you don’t learn to ENJOY the bread, you will have a hard time enjoying the process of sowing the seed.
If you are rich and you do all these things, Paul says, “In this way they you are laying up treasure for yourself as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that you may take hold of the life that is truly life.” Notice that Paul did not say money was bad. He did not say that you have to get rid of it. He told you what to do with it and how to keep your heart pure by remaining humble. If you remain humble and generous, there is no limit to what God can do through your life.
2. The purpose of prosperity.
I just made this point at the end of the first point, but I will drive this home further. Paul commanded the rich in this world to “do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
a) The Bible does vilify money, as many have done today. If you read the Bible, you will see that: 1) God made many people rich, and 2) God gives clear instructions as to what to do with earthly resources. God wants us to use whatever He puts in our hands as a means TO BE a blessing to others.
b) In Deuteronomy 8:10-20, the Lord gave clear instructions to Moses for the nation of Israel. God wanted His people never to forget that it was Him who made them rich. They were once slaves, but God was preparing them to have houses and land. The Lord got them out of slavery. The Lord saw to it that the Egyptians gave the Israelites all their gold, silver, and precious stones before they left. The Lord made them rich and He was getting them ready to have even more as they laid hold of the Promised Land. So the Lord told Moses to say, “Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” If the Lord were against wealth, why would He give you the power to produce it? The answer is simple. God is not against money or the accumulation of earthly wealth. He is against people falling in love with money. Don’t let that be you! If you fall in love with money, it will ruin you from the inside out, and it will stop the Word from working in your heart.
c) Accept the grace and the responsibility to walk in earthly prosperity. Some say, “Oh, I only want enough for me and my family,” or “All I need is enough to get by.” While statements like these seem ‘holy’ or ‘spiritual’ on the surface, they are actually selfish. You should want everything God wants to give you so you can do what He birthed you to do. You cannot feed the poor if you don’t have enough food for yourself. You can’t help pay someone else’s bills if you can’t pay your own. You can’t help put a roof over someone’s head if you don’t have a place to stay. Our God is a God of overflow and abundance because He wants us to bless others out of our overflow. But this abundance comes with responsibility. The more you have, the more you have to manage, and the more demands there will be from others. However, the same God who gave you the grace to increase will provide you with the grace to manage the overflow.
d) I will close with a point I make over and over again because I want you to get this down in your heart. The purpose of prosperity is evangelism. God can give you money with a mission and power with a purpose. God wants you to use what He places in your hands to bring glory to His name and to reach the world for Jesus. Never forget it. If you keep this perspective, God will be able to trust you with overflow, and more importantly, you will become a conduit through which God advances His Kingdom on this planet!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I LEVEL UP by making You my #1 priority in every area, including my finances. You give me the power to get wealth. You favor the work of my hands. You grace me to succeed in every area of my life. You cause me to increase supernaturally and naturally. And as You give me excess, as I have “more than enough,” as I am walking in overflow, I am in a position to bless others out of my abundance. I declare that I have an overflow of love, peace, mercy, patience, and money. I am blessed to BE a blessing. I am rich in good deeds. I tithe, give offerings, fund ministry projects, and give to the poor, as Your Spirit leads me. Therefore, Your Word teaches me that I am laying up treasure in heaven. And for that, I am thankful! This is one of the reasons why I keep declaring: GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.