4/13/2006

Stewardship Week Four: Because I'm Greedy

Fourth, I give because I'm greedy. Is it really true that church is not about what we can get, but rather what we can give? Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life" (Lk 18:29-30). I have found it liberating that Jesus himself expressed in this blood earnest exhortation that God's will for us is to "receive" in abundance.

In this passage, I interpret Jesus to be assuming that whatever spiritual reward we get from our obedience will be "many times" the value of whatever we lose for the sake of the kingdom. I also take this to be the meaning Jesus had in mind when he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Thus, even in this present life, I can expect a great spiritual reward for my giving. In addition to my immediate reward I will receive in this life, there remains the promise of eternal reward in the next.

Jesus gives us this exhortation, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Mt 6:19-21). The shocking thing to notice about this verse is that Jesus' exhortation ingeniously appeals to our desire for treasure.

Trusting that God Himself is our treasure and that there will be different levels of reward in heaven, I am therefore greedy to store up as much of this treasure Jesus speaks of as I can (1 Cor 3:13-14, cf. 2 Cor 9:6). Along with my time, energy, mind, heart, talent, I also give of my finances—all because I'm greedy for more of God in my life now, as well as an even greater portion of Him in the age to come.