“The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.”
“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.”
There’s a profound lie in our society today that tells us that if we get more, we will be happier. If we had more friends, we would be happier. If we had a better car, we would be happier. If we got those new shoes everyone else seems to have besides us, we’d be happier. We see it all around us. So many people are wearing themselves out pursuing “things” in a vain effort to make themselves happier.
About those two quotes above, (Actually from Proverbs 11:24-25 Message) God gives us a different perspective here in those verses. Basically, He’s saying that if we are primarily focused on serving only ourselves and keeping us happy and getting more “things” for ourselves that our world will be indescribably small.
When your focus is on yourself, your world will be small. And the reality is, the more you focus on yourself the unhappier you will be. God wants to use you. He wants to do big things through you and use you to bless the people around you.
However, in a worldly economic sense, if your main focus is on yourself, your world will be indescribably, impossibly, intolerably small.
Instead, in a heavenly economic sense, if you choose to invest your time in the people around you, in your “economic sphere of influence,” focusing on others, meeting the needs of those around you, you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll be more fulfilled, more heavenly rich and more earthly and worldly poor. You will know you are blessed being used by God to help those around you in a big way.
Proverbs 11:24-28 Amplified Bible
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.
He who diligently seeks good seeks favor and grace,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.
He who leans on and trusts in and is confident in his riches will fall,
But the righteous [who trust in God’s provision] will flourish like a green leaf.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
In the mindset of this world, our economics is often about quickly making the greatest profit at the expense of others. It is based mainly on selfish greed and an unwholesome “me first, you last” attitude. Though it is sometimes called “the pursuit of happiness,” it will never satisfy our deepest needs and longings.
However, are we also aware that there is also something we might choose to call “heavenly economics.” It gives free rein to investing in generosity, in love, and in goodwill. It turns the selfish, vicious cycle of greed upon its head, and flashes of heavenly sunshine beam through, showers upon showers of blessings on us.
We can hear clear echoes of contrast between worldly economics and heavenly economics from deep within our ancient text from Proverbs 11:24-28 today.
In a Heavenly economic system, Generous people forgive debts, as they have been forgiven, ripples of love and service spread outward. That’s an example of God’s amazing grace amid worldly economics, building up treasure in heaven.
Maybe you have seen the old movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
It’s a story about George Bailey, whose savings and loan business lends out money at low interest so that low-income people can buy a home. But then something goes wrong: one day George’s uncle loses track of a bundle of money on the way to the bank, and that puts George in danger of going bankrupt.
In the end, George is rescued by the townspeople, who give him all the cash he needs because he always served from the heart and treated them with goodwill.
God’s Gospel in a nutshell:
Jesus’ Selfless Servanthood in God’s Neighborhood!
Matthew 27:38-44Amplified Bible
38 At the same time two robbers were crucified with Jesus, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were hurling abuse at Him and jeering at Him, wagging their heads [in scorn and ridicule], 40 and they said [tauntingly], “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself [from death]! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, mocked Him, saying, 42 “He saved others [from death]; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him and acknowledge Him. 43 He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him also began to insult Him in the same way.
They gathered by the hundreds, if not the thousands, watched Jesus dying on the cross. They could see Him suffering but could not understand His actions.
They expected that He would want to do anything to escape the pain and agony.
These observers assumed that Jesus was exactly like other people.
Only interested in His own personal pleasures and well-being.
That, if He could, if he wanted what everybody else would want – long life, He would have freed himself, escaped the cross, saved Himself from certain death.
To them, the fact that He hung on a cross proved that He was an utter fraud and failure, precisely because, from their perspective, He would not save Himself.
How wrong they were!
He could have saved Himself. Before going to the cross, He had asked the Father to “remove this cup from Me” (knowing that all things were possible for Him). But, in the end, He knew that the cross was the Father’s will (Mark 14:35-36).
So, hanging there, totally vulnerable, in indescribable agony, dying, Jesus was demonstrating why He came to earth. He was showing us that He was totally selfless, willing to obey the Father, regardless of the consequences or cost.
He was not the least bit motivated by self-interest, pride, or self-preservation. He came to give UP His life, not to save it. To serve, not to be served. To die.
He achieved victory and success because for the JOY which was before Him, He freely died for each of us that we might be forgiven of our sins. He represented something totally new, totally heavenly:
Total absolute selflessness, total absolute sacrifice and total absolute service.
Completely, utterly seeking first, the Kingdom of God, quite literally, quite graphically, even to the point of death – only to be raised, to be resurrected!
His accusers represented the opposite:
By their “economic” standards, He could only be successful by saving Himself.
In that exact moment, their “utter selfishness” was all they could understand.
In the world today, many are like those accusers.
Living for self.
Surviving for self.
Self – Preservation
Survival of the “strongest and the fittest, the quickest and the richest.”
Focusing nearly exclusively on their personal economic interests and pleasures.
But God calls us to be like Jesus.
Heavenly Economics – To surrender our lives to Him.
Selfless Servanthood – To die to self and serve Him in His neighborhood.
The Gospel in a Nutshell – Selfless Servanthood in God’s Neighborhood!
Totally committed to entering into our communities and our neighborhoods.
Heavenly Economics: Let our selfless servanthood follow God’s leading and live with His generosity and goodwill.
Our Worldly Economic view: our greed and selfishness can only lead to our ruin.
God is a giving and generous God.
He longs for his children to be like him in this grace.
Our place on earth is not to fill our barns and our silos with our grain, be hoarders or collectors of blessing, forgiveness, wealth, and opportunity.
No, following the lead of our Eternal Father, we are to be conduits of blessing, forgiveness, wealth, and opportunity.
As we are generous like our Heavenly Father God, we trust that he will in turn make sure we are heavenly blessed and refreshed in the ways that will draw us more and more into HIS character and more able to help others in the future.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Holy God, I thank you for all the great examples of heavenly generosity which have blessed and graced my life. Whether rich or poor, these conduits of your grace have taught me that I, too, can be .01% more like you in this way. Bless my heart with trust and faith as I seek to be more generous with others in my grace, forgiveness, finances, encouragement, and time. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.