November 28 I Thursday
1 Peter 5
“…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” —2 Corinthians 9:6
There is an insidious but popular teaching based on the opening verses of this devotion that says, “God wants us to be rich.” By using the verse out of context, it argues if we give financially to God, He will give financially to us in abundance. There are some television preachers who teach that if we are a Christian, we can ask God for new cars, bigger houses and nicer clothes with one catch: send them your money.
It is not within the scope of this devotion to address how this prosperity teaching is fundamentally flawed biblically. Simply answered, the appeal that says we give and we get so we give to get goes right against New Testament teachings. Jesus warned us, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15).
If we define prosperity by the abundance of possessions and we want to give to God because we are going to get a better return than if we give to our bank, for instance, then we have opened up this wicked spirit of greed that is corrupting.
What is true though is that no one is in poverty because they gave away too much, unless they made a vow of poverty that is intentional. In our giving to God, we find we are sufficient, as Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” The motivation behind the giving is generosity and not greed. In other words, the person doing the giving is not looking for a return.
The love of money in itself is a dangerous moral force as Paul cautions Timothy, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). The desire to be rich becomes an end in itself.
Which is why Paul says, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12). He reminds us that our giving is not driven by our selfish gain but a selfless giving that leads to an overflowing expression of thanksgiving to God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, convict my heart when I give out of a selfish motivation. Remind me that my giving is an expression of thanksgiving to what You have done in my life. Thank You, Lord.