After my latest phone call from House Of Blessing out of one of the huge refugee camps in Syria I could not help but think of some Scriptures that speak to the relationship we as representatives of the Kingdom of God have with both the redeemed as well as the lost all around us. I thought I might start this update with a little of what the Lord brought to my mind–things that don’t have so much to do with giving to missions as to the motive for our living–including our giving. All passages will be in the New King James Version today.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Most of us can probably quote this passage by heart because we have read it so many times and heard numerous sermons on it. The Sermon on the Mount is one of the best-known passages in the Bible. It is however so familiar that we read right through it and don’t stop to remind ourselves of the monumental things being said by our Master.
Because we are so tuned in to our five senses, we forget that the real essence of life is the spiritual. If we are not careful, we invest all of our efforts, energies, and talents into goals that do not really have any eternal value. We all have to survive and Jesus made it quite clear that God is well aware of our physical needs. We can, however, lose perspective and lose sight of the things that really matter. The apostle John by inspiration of the Holy Spirit said this in 1 John 2:15-17:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Some might react to this passage and say that it is hardly practical for our age, especially in the West where we’ve been blessed in ways that most of the world has never experienced. My purpose today is not to unpack all of the meaning behind these Scriptures, but rather to share them as a reminder of what it is really all about for the true Christ-follower. God does not condemn ownership, neither does he condemn wealth. Jesus did not say that money is the root of all evil. He said, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Jesus had wealthy friends while he walked the dusty roads in Israel. The Bible has stories of some Godly people that had great wealth, Job and Abraham being just two examples. Jesus’ friend Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead, was apparently also quite wealthy.
The key is “Lordship”. Can the Master ask anything of us–even if it is more than we have ever known Him to ask of any of our friends? It is a good thing to re-examine ourselves off and on to see if He really does have total “rulership” in our personal lives.
My thoughts today really have nothing to do with raising funds. They have to do with what life is really all about–no matter if we are the recipients of funds to aid in the work we are doing, or whether God is using us to help provide the aid. Everything we have is on loan to us from God for this short life that we live as mortals. What God has in mind for us in our eternal future is so much more magnificent! I suspect we will look back then and thank God for every moment we put little value in the trappings that this temporal world had to offer.
Matthew 16:24-28 is another passage where Jesus provided a different view of the temporal.
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Jesus warned in another passage that the road to eternal life is narrow and passes through a small gate. It requires a life of obedience to the Master, holiness, and genuine humility. Nothing less will “fit” through the gate. This is not necessarily the most popular teaching within Christendom today but it is accurate.
When I spoke with Pastor R***** this week, I was given details on how House Of Blessing was able to get more wheat for the people. Food is very difficult to get and people are starving. I mentioned last week that the United Nations, by their own admission, is only able to meet the needs of about 45% of the refugees at this point. The latest figures as of this week say that, just in Syria alone, there are 7 million people displaced. It is an enormous human catastrophe and many people are dying. Obviously, a small missionary organization like H.O.B. is not able to cover such a lack, but the wheat for making bread; the coats, and other supplies brought in to help people survive the bitter winter did have quite the impact on those that H.O.B. was able to supply. They of course asked who was responsible for the supplies. Pastor R***** was able to tell them that this came as a result of prayer by believers in Yeshua. The supplies were acts of love from Christian people who were moved by God’s deep love for them. When people are as desperate as these people are, they tend to be very receptive; especially to the message of real love from the God that created them. This is a message that they have not heard before. There were a great many who became believers in Jesus, the Messiah and will be part of that great reunion at the throne of God very soon!
In this time of growing turbulence in the world economy, many folks have great concern about what is about to unfold. There is only one thing that is going to be of any real value and that is to be connected to the economy of heaven itself. God’s promises to us are not based on the world’s economy, neither are they limited by the manipulations of those that are bringing the world economy under a central control. God’s faithful remnant has access to the supernatural subsistence that can only come from our miracle-working God. Did He not supply 2 to 6 million Israelites in the desert of Arabia for 40 years–and their flocks?? It seemed they even complained all the way! I pray that you are not one of the complainers, but the point is…God took care of them where there was not even a green blade of grass poking through the sand at times! We just need to TRUST Him!
Allow me to share with you the familiar passage about the widow and her two mites in Mark 12:41-44:
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. The one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Think about what she did and what Jesus, the Son of God, said about what she did!! What she slipped into the box was practically worthless by this world’s standards! Yet, according to Jesus, she had given more than those who were wealthy and donated lavishly! What kind of a value system was it that Jesus was talking about? It made no earthly sense! It’s simple enough. God saw her situation and He saw her heart! Those two mites from the widow were going to be multiplied many times over, whereas the large amounts plunked into the offering box by the wealthy were of very little real value.
What is the difference? I think it is the heart–the ability to hear the voice of the Spirit of the Lord, and obedience that ignores the natural situation one is in. We either believe and trust God or not. It really is that simple.
It is however important that whatever we do in the Name of the Lord, we do it with a pure heart. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says: “So let everyone give as He purposes in his heart, not grudginly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I would now like to share more of the passage in 2 Corinthians 9 with you because the covenant Almighty God makes with His own is so great:
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’ Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (verses 6-15)
What incredible promise is imbedded in that portion of Scripture. I quite often read through that passage slowly so that I do not miss anything being said. These are God’s words! They apply to those that follow the leading of the Spirit of God and do it out of obedience to Him and for His purposes, not for their own. These folks living under such extreme circumstances found a real holy joy in sharing every single crust of bread and every single blanket and source of warmth with each other! These folks piled together in the tents that were up and spent their time loving God and loving each other. God bound these people together with a love that can only come from the Father Himself. We would have to experience it ourselves to understand it fully.
In Acts 20:33-38 we find a Scripture that describes quite well what it is that we are doing when we share of the blessings God has given us in some of the words of Paul the Apostle himself:
I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. They all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
The very words of this Scripture just happen to fit the circumstance of the overseeing of House Of Blessing. I know that much sacrifice has been made by the leadership of this small missionary organization. The Scriptural example has been followed, and it is important for me to say what I am saying today. This is the way God works, and it has no resemblance to any work of man. God keeps the records of things done for the Kingdom of God in secret and will reveal them in His own time, and for His own glory.
There is one more story I would like to share from my conversation with Pastor R***** this last week. Two men came near to where R*****’s tent was. They were too timid to come close to people; the reason being that they had what appeared to be (as best as could be described in R*****’s limited English) a condition that looked like an extreme allergic reaction that caused them to be deformed–so badly, that they were too shy to approach very close. To make a long story short, these men were brought into fellowship with the believers who totally ignored their deformities. Pastor R***** had the privilege of not only laying hands on the men and praying for them and their condition, but also breaking bread with them. It was an experience that exemplified the love of Christ like these men had never experienced in their lives. Is this not what the Lord asks of us? Is this not what He Himself did when He ate and communed with lepers in His day, people that were considered outcasts and “unclean”?
I am looking forward to hearing more about what happens with these two men…
May God Bless each and every reader with the great love of the Father,
House Of Blessing; P.O.Box 2093; Redmond, OR. USA 97756