Traci and I just attended a weekend seminar on the topic of generosity. We enjoyed an awesome time with old friends, made some new friends and were challenged by the biblical teaching and practical lessons on generosity. I’m sure there will be some future blogs coming from this amazing weekend.
One of the take-a-ways for me came from a group discussion about how God’s Word emphasizes our lack of ownership in this world. The concept is so backwards because most of the time we are working so hard to own more, to have more and to expand our little piece of earth. We congratulate people who buy more and bigger things and we dream about what owning a bigger house might look like and how we might use it for good.
Of course, ownership isn’t a sin, and having a nice car and big house doesn’t violate any commands in God’s Word. The problem is how we view our possessions, our money and the different resources He has given us. This past weekend we were given the acronym LIFE to categorize all these things: Labor, Influence, Financial resources, Expertise. All of these items are gifts from God, and truthfully, none of them are ours.
You see, God views us as managers, not owners. Jesus told many parables about our relationship to LIFE, and in each one of them we are the workers, the servants and the managers of what the owner possesses. One person in our group described it this way: “We’re like the UPS driver. If he were to take any of the packages home, he would be stealing. His job is just to move them from one location to the other.”
What a perfect description of what the Overboard LIFE should be! We aren’t the owners of the gifts, talents, riches, expertise and skills God has given us, but we are the managers – the delivery men – to oversee how those things are used for God. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Paul reminds us that what God gives us is meant to be given away to someone else. In that passage he specifically states that when God provides comfort for us, He intends for us to give that comfort to others. We aren’t the new owners of comfort, we are just delivery men (and women!) to pass along what God has graciously given to us.
Later, in 2 Corinthians 9, Paul describes our relationship to money the same way: we are managers and middlemen, not owners. God has provided for our needs, and He intends that we maintain an open hand toward generosity, not a closed hand toward scarcity. God rewards generosity in so many ways (I found at least 12 rewards of generosity in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15), so He challenges us to trust Him! Malachi 3:10 states it best, “‘Test me in this [generosity]’ 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 enough room for it.’”
So are you an owner or a delivery man when it comes to what God has given you? I want to handle my possessions and resources like the UPS man, delivering the bounty of God’s blessings to others as He continues to supply all my needs as only He can.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!