Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Prayer God Will Always Say Yes To (eighth in a series of ten)

It is God’s nature to bless whenever He can. God is generous, and He is delighted when you and I want to be generous – in fact, it is God’s intention to make us like Him in generosity, so He will always answer the prayer “God, please outdo me in generosity.”

There has been a lot of debate about material blessing among Christians. On the one side are those who view money and wealth as something very bad, even evil. This view holds that God does not like rich people at all, and that money is something the Bible condemns.

On the other hand, there are those who say that money is a wonderful thing, that God loves rich people and wants everyone to be rich.

Who’s right? What does the Bible say?

It doesn’t take long to find out that God is pretty tough on the rich. “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10) “Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth, where moth and rust corrupts and where thieves break in and steal, but rather store up for yourselves treasure in heaven.”

But did you notice that none of those verses condemn money itself. It’s not a sin to have money. But having money can be dangerous.

Money can
1) ... make us feel like we have everything we need to be happy and fulfilled, so we don’t really need God.
2) ... make us spiritually complacent, secure in our wealth. That’s a false security
3) ... makes us feel superior to other people because we have it, that must mean there’s something better about us

For some people being rich is probably the worst thing that could happen to them, spiritually, if they are prone to these areas of temptation.

But God entrusted His Son into the hands of a very wealthy man: Joseph of Arimathea. He was so rich he had influence with both the Sanhedrin and with Herod. He was the only one who could have gotten them to give up Jesus’ body. He had enough money to bury Jesus with dignity, and put Him in a new tomb, in fulfillment of Scripture.

King David was another famous rich person. His willingness to give out of his personal wealth provided the downpayment on building the temple

The key to understanding the relationship between God and being rich is that money will be a blessing only if you view it as a gift from God to be shared.

What God wants is for you and me to be like Him, to have a spontaneously pure and giving heart, to share without hesitation.

The Bible also talks about being good stewards, being responsible as well as generous, you and I can’t spend what isn’t ours, what is supposed to cover our obligations. But we should try to do both, be responsible and generous, just as God is.

God will never be outdone in generosity. In fact this is the only area in which God invites us to test Him. In Malachi 3:8-10 God challenges us to give of our material wealth and “Test Me in this...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.” If you are generous, you will be blessed by God. Maybe not always in terms of cold, hard cash, but you will always know God’s generosity to you.

Proverbs 19:17, Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed

Luke 6:38, Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Matthew 10:42, And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

Psalm 41:1-3, Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land


These thoughts on prayer are taken from the Catholic author Anthony DeStefano's delightful book, "Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers To Life's Most Difficult Problems."

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