His CV didn’t look particularly well. He had only one item to list under Prior Occupation, the exact same item under Experience and to make the matters worse – it did take him a while to pick up any new training material and apply it. See, he was just a simple man – a nobody. An anybody. You couldn’t find them more ordinary than him. I bet if we sat down and compared ourselves against him, you and I would have far more to boast about. Our CVs would most definitely beat his (by far). How could a raw and potentially rude, uneducated fisherman trump us?
Apostle Peter was extremely underqualified. Many of the other disciples were too and that’s exactly the point. By any standards, today’s or during their time they were supposed to pathetically fail. But they didn’t. Peter was extremely impulsive, very quick to speak and a massive risk taker. Stuff you wouldn’t want to appear on your job application nowadays. Yet he got the job, the promotion, the bonuses and the retirement.
So, you have managed to see yourself as blessed. Moreover, you now see yourself as rich, too. You went ahead and also invested your riches and multiplied them. What’s the next step? What does the Bible teach about the third step which completes the cycle?
Give. As simple as that. But give like you mean it. Not a bit here and a bit there to suit and maintain clear your own conscience.
Happily, there’s a starting point set for us already – 10%. This is what God instructed his people to give in the Old Testament and Jesus confirmed in the New. It’s important also to realize that this is not a piece of advice given to us which we can decide to follow only when we wish to. Tithe, the 10% – it’s not optional.
Before we move on to the really difficult part, however, let’s have a look at Malachi 3:10. It’s one of the many verses which by their misinterpretations a lot of people have turned into walking on a fine line, but in spite of this it remains a promise of God. He says:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
– Malachi 3:10, NIV
As He often does, when it comes to giving God also attaches a promise to his command. Twisted desires throughout time have led many to believe in giving for the sake of receiving. This, however, is a concept foreign to the Bible. This is not some ages old metaphor of what is today recognized as a vending machine. God doesn’t work on this principle. A true and honest believer knows and recognizes this.
You got the cash. What do you do now? Opposite to what many people today do – invest. The principle of wasteful ownership is simply not present in the Bible, yet it’s not hard to find signs of it in our lives today. I suppose it has to do with the influence of the world around and the wrong belief that Christians should not get rich. I’m going to take you on a walk on the edge for a bit, so bear with me.
God blesses us with various things in life and with not a single one of them does he expect us to selfishly go on and selfishly keep to ourselves. Or in other words – own wastefully. There are plenty of examples of this from the Word, one of the clearest of which is found in Matthew 25:14-30. It’s a story about money but I see it also as a story of trust. The master entrusted his servants with his wealth. Two of them picked up on that and went ahead to multiply it. The third one played it safe.
Today, you and I are entrusted with more wealth than we could count. But what do we do with it? Yes, many complain that they’re poor and can’t do much to help it… But read the previous part of the series for more on resolving this. Am I doing enough today to multiply the wealth I have been given? Am I going to dig out the one buck from the back yard or will I have a whole bag to carry back to my master? In other words – do you invest your blessings or you simply enjoy them?
Let’s talk a bit about wealth. The wealth which is given to us by God. It is mostly non-material, but I’d argue that there is quite a bit of “stuff” that God gives us gladly – and we receive in a similar fashion. It’s so often that we pray for God to give us this or that… and He does. But the first question to ask ourselves is: How long does it usually last us? That excitement, that recognition, that fulfillment.
So, let me ask you another one: When was the last time you looked at yourself, your life and the life around you and you said “I’m rich!“?
I honestly don’t meet too many people who share about such experiences with me. Up until recently I myself had issues recognizing everything which has been given to me. Then in a series of unfortunate events I actually was awaken and realized that, if I claim that I’m blessed by God, I ought to also consider myself as such. Put next to that the fact that when God gives, HE GIVES. It’s not like He’s joking around – He always gives exactly what is needed. This is how I came to the thought that recognizing God’s blessings should define my status as rich.
Today, with the immense growth of consumerism, gadget possession and whatever else there is that money can buy and which (we believe) defines us, it’s increasingly more difficult to count oneself as rich. There’s always going to be someone above us. Someone who went on the next i-Thing cue first, someone who managed to go up in the pre-order list… Someone who’s making a six-digit salary in EUR per year. I find it very interesting that so many people tend to compare ourselves with those who are better, have more, etc. Why is it that for once we can’t compare with the poorer, the needy, the hungry? I think I know part of the answer, and it fits in one word only: responsibility.
You know I’ve been thinking about the role and future of this blog for a while now. Well, the good news is – I have a verdict: it’s here and it will remain here. The other news – it will be different (well, it already is). Here’s a summary of the changes:
Why the change? Ever since I registered the domain back in 2004 I wanted it to be this – a useful source about Christian content. Well, with time I totally lost track. I see these changes more as a going back to the origins, so I’m quite happy with it.
About the removed content – two things:
1) The photo talk has moved to http://blog.petarneychev.com. It will mainly be of interest to photographers, but there’s goodies for others, too. Feel free (not to say highly encouraged) to share the address with people you think might either find it useful or make use of the 2011 freebies.
2) The personal stuff has gone to /dev/null (here, if you’re at a loss on the topic). I/we might send quarterly/half a year updates per email… or not. It really depends on how much time and energy we have.
I hope that the revised wideandhigh.com will be a source of inspiration and encouragement for you.