Saturday, December 02, 2006

Getting Poorer

Tony says to me while driving him to the mechanic to pick up his truck, "I feel like we just keep getting poorer."

I burst out laughing. He's right. Not that we are going into debt, or in danger of losing our house or cars, but the cost of living keeps going up and the money is not coming in.

I love my job, passionately, but I get paid two, maybe three times a year. Hopefully, we'll see some royalty checks this year, but it's hard to say.

Tony's job is rare to give raises. Sadly, being on staff at a church is not the way to earthly wealthy - unless you're Rick Warren, TD Jakes or Joel Osteen.

But, we're happy, doing fine. Not in lack of food, clothing or shelter. Well, perhaps in lack of new clothing, but that's another story.

So, the next day, we get a letter in the mail. Our gym membership is going up $7. More laughter from me.

How come all the businesses charge more but employees earn the same or less?

Please, I am not advocating big government or intervention. Please, stay away government. The market will correct itself.

Then, I heard a guy on talk radio. Arnold Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University. He was on 20/20 Wednesday talking about "who gives in this country."

It's the working poor, which technically, we might be grouped with since I quit the corp job. And even more than the working poor, the religious community is the most generous. Not just church tithe, but in overall giving. Red Cross, the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas.

And, Brooks claims, those who give are more prosperous and healthy as individuals and as communities. He claims generosity is the overall reason why American is prosperous over our European counterpart. We give more.

I loved that the secular media came to this conclusion. Because it's true.

God's Word works whether you believe in Him or not. He rewards generosity. He rewards those who give. He sees and He repays. You cannot out give God.

Does that mean you have eternal life? Nope. Still have to know the Man. But it does mean you time in this life is a little more blessed, a little more prosperous - maybe a lot more.

This principle is played out big time in the movie, "Facing The Giants." The protagonist doesn't give money directly, but surrenders all his burdens to the Lord. Lives out his convictions.

And God meets him.

I know bad things happen in this life. It rains on the just and unjust alike, but don't get trapped in the idealology that God is not going to protect and reward very much in this life. That we just have to wait for the next.

No! He is interacting with us every day in this life. He wants to heal the sick. Break poverty. Restore families. Set destiny and fulfill dreams. Come on. He's a loving Father!

In Malachi 3:8 - 12 amazes us with this challenge from God:

"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.

"You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

"Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes," says the LORD of hosts.

"All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land," says the LORD of hosts.

Give. Don't be afraid. He can do more with your remaining 80 or 90 percent than you can do by clinging to the 10 or 20 percent.

Grace and peace,


Kristy Dykes said...

Great post, Rachel. Inspiring. Lots of Christians give 10% as a starting point--the tithe. Then, they give offerings and missions money besides that. Thing is, it's all God's anyway. He gives us the strength and capacity to earn it.

Again, great post, Rachel. Thanks for sharing about this important truth.

Robin Caroll said...

Amen, Rachel. And also the giving of time and talents. A lot of people will write a check, but fewer are the ones who get into the nitty gritty to get the work done.

Steve said...