- Religion and Philosophy
Kingdom Economy: Money as a Heavenly Commodity
The economics of the kingdom of God are quite different than those of our present capitalist system. I am not knocking capitalism, it's the greatest system in the world. But the limit of capitalism is that you are rewarded in proportion to your work. This is not so in kingdom economics.
Although it is not as simple as good is bad, up is down, and right is left, it is not too far off. We are taught very early on to save, save, save. That is good advice, to be sure, but the better advice might be to give, give, give.
Believe it or not, the Bible is jam packed with lessons in making money, money management, savings, paying taxes, debt, and every other aspect of your personal and business finances. In this hub, I will discuss only one: giving. Here is an abbreviated lesson in giving and kingdom economics.
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Give to God.
First thing first: give back to God. Let's be clear, God doesn't need your money, but you need Him to have it.
Contrary to popular belief, this principle of giving to God was established long before "the law". It is not an invention of televangelists. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all trace their faith to Abraham. Before Abraham had Ishmael or Isaac, he gave Melchizedek, King of Salem (translated "King of Peace" or "King of Righteousness"), a priest of the most high God, a tenth of all he recovered from the war against Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, and the kings who were with him. Thereafter, Melchizedek blessed Abraham (still Abram, at this point), and immediately following God promises Abram a son. Coincidence? Absolutely not. God promised Abram blessings, and He delivered.
More specifically, God says, "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." Malachi 3:10. Notice that God says, "so that there may be food in My house..." If God is the God of abundance, why does His house need food?
One of the earliest forms of banking or credit was a deposit of grain or produce in the granaries or storehouses for credit. Trading in farm produce was difficult because different crops were harvested in different seasons. Therefore, when a farmer and his family consumed all of the produce they needed, he would deposit the remainder in the granary or storehouse for credit toward other produce.
The principle is the same, but with a heavenly twist. The food in God's house is to feed His people, just like the storehouse. You deposit your surplus for others and they for you. However, God doesn't ask you to use what you can and save the rest. God only requires the first fruits, or the first tenth. You keep the rest. God makes due with the little, you keep the abundance.
Moreover, the "food" God speaks of is far more than actual food. God's provision is beyond what we can imagine. God provides food, money, health, wisdom, knowledge, revelation, you name it. You need it, you get it. Are you struggling reading or understanding your Bible? Give. Are you need divine wisdom to make an important decision? Give. You are not buying your gifts, you are merely giving to God for others and receiving your own portion, which, because of God's math, is multiplied over and over and over.
Giving to the Poor
Give to the Poor.
Again, contrary to popular opinion, the poor are not to be ridiculed. We are to treat them just as we would treat our family, our neighbors, or Jesus himself. Christians, especially those in the US, seem to have forgotten this mandate. Giving alms to the poor is in addition to and not in place of giving to God. Yes, we should be able to trust that part of our tithes will directly or indirectly reach the poor, but that is the food from the storehouse. We are to go above and beyond.
This is not to say to reward sloth or give to someone who will blow the money on drugs or alcohol, but do feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give the thirsty to drink. I guarantee that each and every one of us know people in need who we can give to anonymously. An envelope with a little cash left in the mailbox, a sack of groceries left on the porch, or a box of children's clothes given in love can brighten the day of the giver as well as the receiver. This kind of storing up of treasures in heaven will benefit you far more than the people you give to.
Give to Israel
Give to Israel.
Controversial? Probably, but still true. The Lord told Abraham, "And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Genesis 12:2-3.
This in no way is meant to suggest giving blindly or without investigating to whom you are giving. However, we are instructed to bless Abraham and his descendants. So, find a ministry organization or humanitarian organization that is working and ministering in Israel or to the Jewish people around the world. You will be surprised at the results.
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Give to Give.
In addition to tithing and giving alms to the poor, we are to give offerings. Offerings are simply a way for you to give, and give extravagantly. If you know of a family in your church going on a mission trip, give to the mission. If a youth group is raising money, buy the candy bars, have your car washed, or, better yet, pay for someone else's candy bar or car washing.
God is gracious, and you are made to be gracious. Giving of any type is an act of worship, so give like it. Remember this key concept: you cannot outgive God. Just try it and see what happens.
Give, Give, Give.
Giving can be a touchy subject. Inevitably, you will begin to question, "Will they be offended or embarrassed if I just give them money?", "How much should I give?", the list is endless. The real point, though, is there are no hard and fast rules. Here are a few things to keep in mind about giving:
- Give Cheerfully: God loves a cheerful giver, and since giving has a way of making the giver cheerful, you can very easily get caught up in this wonderful loop. It's actually pretty cool how this works.
- Give Obediently: If you feel guilty about giving or not giving, it's not from God. God will never pressure you. If the Holy Spirit is anything, He is a gentleman. He will prompt you to give, not pressure you to give. If you are prompted to give, then give. If not, then don't. God will never ask you to give more than you can give. He may ask you to give more than you expect to give, but not more than you are able to give. When you learn to give obediently, God will entrust you with more. Remember, you will be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others.
- Give Freely: A loan is not a gift. A tax break is a nice benefit to giving, in most instances, but it's not a reason to give. The only instance where God says, "test Me" is in tithing. So, feel free. Hold Him to His word. As for other giving, you have no such permission. Trust me, you won't need it.
Give, Then Receive.
It's not popular to discuss in some Christian circles, but it's true: God is just waiting to shower you with blessings. Actually, I think we are the biggest hindrance to our own blessing. I'm not suggesting you try to manipulate God's system and give just to receive, but God has established certain principles, or "kingdom economics" as I like to call them, and even we cannot disrupt them.
Savings, investments, IRAs, all great. By all means, continue in these things, but what investment guarantees 10 and 100 fold returns? If you learn to implement kingdom economics, you will be able to do all of these things out of your abundance, not because you have to just to retire with a little money in the bank.
So give and enjoy the results.
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