by Ben Hoersch…
God has been faithful to grow our church family and we are running out of elbow room in our current facility. If you are not yet aware of our Stretch Campaign, please first read this. While we will likely talk more than usual about sacrificial giving over the next few weeks, right now I want to refer to our giving instead as sacrificial investing. Words matter, and I purposefully am making this emphasis to ensure we understand and remember the investing principles that Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:19–21. In this passage Jesus cautions us to not store up treasures on earth where it can wear out or be stolen. He then issues a command to instead store up treasures in heaven where they will never wear out, be stolen or lost. Jesus finishes the statement by informing us that our hearts get caught up where we put our money. He wants our hearts, for our good.
You may be thinking, “I want to invest sacrificially, but I am not sure how to, or if I even can?” I want to encourage you that God’s word has a lot to say about stewarding His money, and we can trust Him. Here are some biblical principles to guide our decisions:
- Sacrificial Investing with Joy and Thanksgiving (2 Chronicles 24:8-14 & 2 Corinthians 9:6-7)—While no one expects you to break out in your own version of a touchdown dance, there should be rejoicing and a joyful stirring in your heart when you give. Giving should not be fueled by guilt, nor done purely from a sense of duty, but rather with gratitude, joy, and thanksgiving. This is part of God’s plan for His people to teach us many things.
- Sacrificial Investing with Peace and Prayer (Psalms 139:23-24 & Colossians 4:2)—When we don’t submit our plans to God through prayer, acknowledging that God is the supplier of all our needs, we forget who is in charge and fool ourselves into thinking we are rulers of our own kingdoms. Prayer brings us to the throne and humbles us, creates a heart of gratitude, and guides us. Prayer is ordained by God. David prayed that God would search him, know his heart, and lead him in the way everlasting. Pray about it.
- Sacrificial Investing with Wisdom and Counsel (Isaiah 55:8-9 & 1 Corinthians 16:2)—As a kid, I competed in athletics and thought I was pretty good. However, after middle school, I learned I was not the most skilled athlete around. This was not an experience I embraced. God tells us that He is flat out better at everything AND that this is good news. He invites us to join His team, gives us His play book and surrounds us with teammates who can help. God has provided His authoritative word, His church, and Christian brothers and sisters that can speak the truth with love. Accepting this counsel is not just a good idea, it is critical. Do you know how to establish financial goals, create budgets, and adjust spending? Seek wisdom and counsel.
- Sacrificial Investing with Sacrifice (2 Corinthians 8:1-18 & 1 Peter 1:6-7)—God does not call us to asceticism nor to materialism but to full dependence on Him for our every need. In our post-recession American culture it has become slightly more popular to pop tags from our thrift store finds, or explore the world according to Groupon, but what is our ultimate goal? I personally don’t enjoy sacrifice for no good reason and I suspect you don’t either. We give something up because we believe that what we wait for is a more prized possession. This truth is a hard sell in our culture of instant everything, but God’s plan is best. Sometimes our plenty is not a blessing, but robs us of the chance to have our faith tested for genuineness. What do we prize most, and what are we willing to sacrifice to see it happen?
As we prayerfully consider how to faithfully steward what God has graciously given, let us remember the ultimate example of sacrifice. You are not your own. You were bought with a price. The debt that we could never repay has been generously stamped “paid in full” through the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus who left His throne to claim us as His own.