“There is the one who [generously] scatters [abroad], and yet increases all the more; And there is the one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want and poverty. The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown]. The people curse him who holds back grain [when the public needs it], But a blessing [from God and man] is upon the head of him who sells it.”
Proverbs 11:24-26 AMP
Reba Rambo-McGuire wrote a song in 1993 titled Backwards Kingdom. Here are a few lines: If we really want to live we’ve got to learn how to die. The road to resurrection starts when we are crucified. Only faithful servants will wear the greatest crown. In this backwards Kingdom the one way up is down.
Everything about our walk with The Lord seems backwards to the world. In order to receive you must first give, to truly live we must first die. Believing is seeing. Salvation is by grace alone. We serve a God we cannot see, believe in a heaven we’ve never been to. Jesus was born of a virgin and had to die on a cross for mankind to be saved. Success comes purely through acknowledging and trusting in Jesus. Someone reading this list without the knowledge of Christ, would probably scoff and call us foolish or even naive.
But our success in life is wrapped up in all those seemingly backwards things. The world measures success by how much money they get to keep. God measures success by how much we give away. The liberal soul, or generous soul or man is made fat or successful by being hilarious in his giving. Let’s explore Biblical success.
“And He sat down opposite the [temple] treasury, and began watching how the people were putting money into the treasury. And many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a mite. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this poor widow put in [proportionally] more than all the contributors to the treasury. For they all contributed from their surplus, but she, from her poverty, put in all she had, all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44 AMP
Did you catch that? She gave more than they did because of the attitude of her heart in giving. Her sacrificial giving made a greater impression on Jesus than the rich people. Success isn’t measured by how much you have left over after you’ve given. But what it costs you to give. If you have a lot then no matter how much you gave away, you’re still in great shape. But when in obedience you tithe even when you don’t have much left over, you’re considered a success by the One who owns it all. On November 19, 2019 I wrote this on the inside of my Bible: Success isn’t measured by dollars and cents, but by conviction and character. Giving has less to do with being generous and more to do with your heart towards giving. The rich gave much, that doesn’t imply generosity, it could’ve been more for appearance or status in the temple. They gave because they had it, she gave even though she didn’t.
Why you give us just as important as how you give. As a matter of fact sowing and reaping was a major topic during Jesus’ ministry. He said this:”Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 AMP
Hoarders are never successful. They may have wealth, but that doesn’t mean success. When you’re a giver, it doesn’t matter if you have a lot left over or not, it doesn’t matter if it’s your last dollar or hundred dollars, it doesn’t matter if your cupboard is empty. When you’re successful God’s way you’ll, like the widow, give all you have. That’s how you measure success, putting others’ needs above your own. You don’t lay awake at night worrying about the stock market, you’re secure in your Banker. He has promised this:
“The blessing of the LORD brings [true] riches, And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God].”
Proverbs 10:22 AMP
When He makes you rich, you sleep peacefully every night. I wrote in an earlier message, that I’m rich, very rich! Why? Because I’ve entrusted my finances to Him. He blesses me and then tells me what to do with it. After all, it all belongs to Him. Haggai 2:8; Psalm 24. Successful people following godly principles prosper. The principle for success was written by Him. He told Joshua the main way to success is meditating on His Word. Wisdom, knowledge and understanding are key principles found in God’s Word, to not only build wealth but to learn how to give it away and still have more than enough. (Proverbs 8 & 1 Kings 17:13) He allows us to do more with ninety percent than we can with a hundred. And I guarantee if He had said give ninety percent, we’d still make it with ten percent. I told you- it was backwards.
The principles in God’s Word work in every situation and for every generation. His Word never grows obsolete. As a matter of fact, He guarantees it will never return void. Isaiah 55:11. He watches over His Word to bring it to pass. Jeremiah 1:12. He perfects His Word it will never fail. Luke 1:37 ; Joshua 21:45
Whatever God can get through us He will get to us. Hold loosely every blessing, because He blesses you with someone else in mind. Remember what I shared about sand? The tighter you hold on to it the less you have. God wants us to measure success by trusting in Him. When people cling to us we call them leeches. Why? We’re not their sustainer or supplier. We become overwhelmed when we step into God’s role. Philippians 4:13 and Hebrews 13:5-6. We are blessed to be a blessing but not be the source. Sounds backwards? We are never the source, we are a conduit through which His blessings flow, if you’re willing to be used. Never become the source.
Your success is also measured, as I said earlier by how and why you give. If you’re stressed out every time the offering plate passes you, you haven’t discovered the joy of giving. If you’re giving the leftovers after you’ve seen to your needs, you haven’t discovered the joy of giving, you’re a tipper.(Haggai 1:3-7) Why did Jesus position Himself where He could observe how people gave? To teach His disciples motive giving. A principle they eventually learned, when Peter spoke up about forsaking all to follow Him. Matthew 19:21-22. Jesus addressed the rich young ruler, he loved money so much he wouldn’t even consider blessing the poor. He spoke of the man who built a bigger barn to store his excess, in opposed to sharing, and ended up dying without enjoying his wealth. Luke 12. Jesus didn’t have a problem with wealth, He was all for it; Deuteronomy 8:18. He had a problem however, if the love of money controlled us. Or if the lack of it made us fearful. Both scenarios are killers in their own way.
Having God’s perspective on success-period-is the healthiest way to go. We cannot fail trusting His Word. We don’t need to be whoever Forbes magazine claims has the most wealth. When the Creator of the universe is your Daddy, and you have been granted access, you are wealthy. Our problem is, we haven’t discovered who we are in Him. We are serving the God who owns it all, yet continuing to live beneath our privileges. You’ll never know what He has for you if you don’t read His Word. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. You won’t know what is revealed unless you read the Bible. We don’t give to get, but we sow to reap. He’s the Lord of the harvest. When Ananias and his wife conspired to lie to the Holy Spirit and to Peter in Acts 5, it was all about motive and the attitude of their hearts in giving. I repeat, why you give us as important as how you give.
Peter asked Ananias a poignant question. He asked; “ wasn’t the property yours before you sold it?” Let’s read.
“Now a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s full knowledge [and complicity] he kept back some of the proceeds, bringing only a portion of it, and set it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and [secretly] keep back for yourself some of the proceeds [from the sale] of the land? As long as it remained [unsold], did it not remain your own [to do with as you pleased]? And after it was sold, was the money not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this act [of hypocrisy and deceit] in your heart? You have not [simply] lied to people, but to God.”
Acts 5:1-4 AMP
Godly success is measured by giving to the Lord what you have purposed in your heart to give. Again, back to Jesus watching how people gave. What are you doing with what belongs to God? Have you been holding back on giving in these uncertain times? Let me make a backwards statement; this is the best time to sow into God’s work.(Genesis 26) Everything you have comes from Him.
Paul wrote: “For who regards you as superior or what sets you apart as special? What do you have that you did not receive [from another]? And if in fact you received it [from God or someone else], why do you boast as if you had not received it [but had gained it by yourself]?”
1 Corinthians 4:7 AMP
God said: “Thus says the LORD, “Let not the one who is wise and skillful boast in his insight; let not the one who is mighty and powerful boast in his strength; let not the one who is rich boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] abundance; but let the one who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me [and acknowledges Me and honors Me as God and recognizes without any doubt], that I am the LORD who practices lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight,” says the LORD.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24 AMP
Motive, motive, motive. Our giving and measure of success is intricately linked together. We can’t enjoy success without God. I know you can point me to very wealthy people who have everything money can buy, but is that success? Most would trade places for peace of mind, a healthy marriage, and a good night’s sleep. Success, good success as the Lord told Joshua, comes from doing life His way. Learning to trust the Lord with your finances is another way. If you can trust Him for salvation, why wouldn’t you trust Him with everything else? Let’s close with the following scripture. Paul was addressing Christians who had promised to give an offering of support.
“That is why I thought it necessary to urge these brothers to go to you [before I come] and make arrangements in advance for this generous, previously promised gift of yours, so that it would be ready, not as something extorted [or wrung out of you], but as a [voluntary and] generous gift. Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed]. Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift]. And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. As it is written and forever remains written, “HE [the benevolent and generous person] SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER!” Now He who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed for sowing [that is, your resources] and increase the harvest of your righteousness [which shows itself in active goodness, kindness, and love]. You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous, and this [generosity, administered] through us is producing thanksgiving to God [from those who benefit]. For the ministry of this service (offering) is not only supplying the needs of the saints (God’s people), but is also overflowing through many expressions of thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:5-12 AMP
Do you see the benefits of cheerful giving? God wants His children to enjoy good success in every area of our lives. You’ll never be successful if you’re stingy. When was the last time Jesus used your giving as an example of generous giving? Prayerfully, you’re not one who holds like sand what is intended to be a blessing. You cannot out give The One Who Owns it ALL. Trust Him with your finances. Remember, if He can get it through you, He will get it to you.
Heavenly Father in the Name of Jesus,
Thank you first of all for demonstrating to us what it means to truly give everything. You so loved You gave. You gave us Heaven’s best. Teach us to be generous in our giving and to trust You as our Source. Every good and every perfect gift comes from You. We are blessed to be a blessing. May we honor you with the first fruits of all that you get to us. In Jesus Name. Amen
The measure or worth of a man is not marked by how much he possesses but by how much he gives away. WT
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit