by Pastor Tim Burt
I love our church! When I say that, I mean that I love the people in our church and for a thousand reasons. Here is just one reason why. I was recently used in as a middleman. I’ll explain.
I received a call last night from a couple in our church whom I’ll call the Jones. They wanted to bless another couple in our church whom I’ll call the Smiths. Here’s why. The Smiths had to cancel their plans to attend a special Christian conference because the money that was supposed to come in as payment for work they had done, didn’t come in. That happens a lot these days. The Smiths had paid a down payment on this trip but were prepared to lose it because they could no longer afford to go. The Jones, who somehow knew about this situation, wanted to anonymously pay for their trip. They felt led of the Lord to do so. But because they wanted to do so anonymously, they called me to ask if I would help it go forward. I called the Smiths to let them know of this special blessing from God coming their way. They were blessed beyond words!
I love our church because this kind of thing happens ALL the time—people blessing and helping each other. This is what prosperity is all about. This is the purpose for it! Although the desire for prosperity can be improperly motivated, God’s reasons for wanting us to have it are not! He doesn’t want us to seek the increase of our resources so that we can consume God’s blessing upon yourself, but so we can live with a spirit of generosity being used to be a blessing—a blessing to help promote the gospel and to be a blessing to others in ways He leads us to be.
What we believe with regard to God’s blessing, is that out of His love for mankind. God gave His son Jesus to die and pay the punishment for our sins so we could receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and know that we’ve been given the gift of eternal life. He loves us unconditionally. As any good parent desires to bless his children, so much more does God desire to bless His children.
There are hundreds of scriptures that say this. Psalm 84:11 (NKJV) is one example: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Another example is Psalm 115:13-15, “The Lord will bless those that fear (reverence) Him, both great and small. May the Lord richly bless both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity.”
That blessing simply means increase or improvement in our quality of life. The Lord desires us to have a sound mind, emotional stability, health and well-being, and the resources in our life to live out and fulfill the calling upon our life to serve Him in whatever form that is. If you’ve ever given to the poor, I would imagine you’ve done so to help improve someones quality of life. If you’ve ever prayed for someones health or wished for improvement in the health of someone who was sick, then you desired to see in increase of blessing to their situation. If you’ve ever seen someone who was lacking the resources they needed to provide for their family and you’ve hoped things would improve, then you hope for the same thing we do…to see an increase or improvement in their quality of life. I’ve never known any individual who has been in a third world country or even in a local impoverished home, who hasn’t wanted to see increase or improvement in other’s living conditions. We believe that God wants to help them, and so we pray accordingly and do what we are able to help. This past year we blessed over 400 families with over 8,000 toys and thousands of pounds of food at Christmas. We blessed over 700 families in our community with turkeys and baskets of food. This is just the tip of how we’ve reached out. This is how we interpret prosperity – the increase or improvement of someones quality of life, so they can fulfill their life’s call with the resources necessary to do so.
We don’t pray that God will bless us so that we can consume His blessing upon ourselves. God desires to bless us, so we can be a blessing to others…“blessed to be a blessing.” We give out of the gifts, talents, and resources that God has blessed us with. This is consistent with what Jesus taught in Luke 12:48. (NLT) “…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Can you see it in Jesus’ words? “Blessed to be a blessing!”
This is what we teach our congregation and consequently, we have a very generous congregation, meaning a congregation that loves to be a blessing to others. That doesn’t mean by any degree that they’re people who have great financial wealth. It means that the average person in our congregation is generous and usually desires to bless others when and however they can. Most do sacrificially. I am blessed that our church has a wonderful reputation in our community for our outreach and generosity to help. I believe our city leaders, our police department, fire department, and many leaders in our community would say so.
To be a Pastor in the this kind of environment puts me in the middle of many miracles and great joy! I thank God that we’ve been taught this way. It teaches people to become givers like the woman with the widows mite—not because you have an overflow of abundance, but because you desire what God desires—to be a vessel of increase to His purpose and to others. If you’ve ever seen someone who has needs and felt the desire rise up within you to help improve their situation, then you have God’s heart and instincts for the purpose of prosperity. He desires to bring increase. I recently played the middleman in that kind of increase and have do so often! Watching this kind of love flow in spirit and action is pure joy! Ask and believe God for what you need, but make your ultimate focus and purpose to be a vessel of His blessing whenever you can!
Luke 6:38 (MSG) “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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