Sunday, January 30, 2011
"And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Then one of them stood up and showed by the Spirit
that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world...
Then the disciples, each according to his own ability,
determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.
This they also did, and sent it to the elders
by the hands of Barnabas and Saul."
I read this with my kids the other day. This is contrary to the 'wisdom' your financial planner might offer. Being responsible means providing for yourself, you know. Having a retirement. Planning ahead for emergencies, and not ever allowing a famine to interrupt your prosperity. The predicted famine was not only going to affect those in Judea. It was going to affect Antioch. But the response of the Antioch Christians to this news was to give away their own sustenance.
I heard conventional financial wisdom summed up the other day: Get all you can, and can all you get.
But Jesus said, "They will know you are Christians by your love."
"There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
and there is one who withholds more than is right,
but it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich,
and he who waters will also be watered himself."
"He who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like foliage."
Trusting in riches is such a snare. It comes in wearing the clothes of 'wisdom': "It wouldn't be wise to spend money right now. I don't have enough myself." But quite often, it's the soul grasping at an anchor that cannot hold.
My heart and mind fight this battle sometimes every moment. I often have to say to myself:
"Some trust in chariots, and some trust in horses.
But I will trust in the name of the Lord my God."
Sometimes I change the words:
some trust in bank accounts, and some trust in paychecks --
but I will trust in the name of the Lord my God.
And I reason with myself regularly: if God can't save me with less than what I have, He also can't save me with what I have. If He isn't worth trusting, my money is even less worthy of that trust. Sometimes no one knows the battle I just fought. Maybe it's been going on for days, but I feel such a sense of relief when I decide, "I will trust the Lord." And I pray, "Lord, You see the choice I'm making here. You know what I need. Please take care of me."
I have many times heard the believers in Jerusalem faulted because they tried out 'Christian communism', and failed. Did they fail? Or did they make a conscious choice to trust Him with their upkeep? They had many widows among them, and those who had something gave what they had. They cast their bread on the waters, so to speak, and after many days, the Lord sent it back to them by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 'He who waters will be watered himself.'