Friday, August 17, 2007

"Giving Our Way to Prosperity" (Lesson Six)

This post will be brief, because this lesson is one of the most basic in brother Black's book. The purpose of this lesson is, in many ways, the purpose of the entire book: "To impress upon the mind that God blesses a liberal giver" (33).

On page 34, brother Black points out that liberal giving has been a trait of God's people since ancient times. Back to the days even of Noah people gave of themselves to serve their Creator. That example should resonate with us today.

As the lesson continues, we are reminded of the generosity of those under the Old Testament. Specifically, we are led to Exodus 36, where materials were brought for the building of the temple. The people brought so much that they had to be restrained from giving any more. Wouldn't it be wonderful if such were the case in our congregations today?!?

The basic idea of this lesson to set forth some basic truths about liberality. On page 35, this truth is set forth: "Liberality increases spirituality." When one truly studies passages such as Matthew 6:19-21, this comes forth. As brother Black says, "Liberal, joyful, believing and sacrificial giving will make you a stronger spiritual man. It is impossible for a man to have his heart in the Lord's work while all of his material interest is in the world" (36).

The final "truth" laid out in this chapter is that "Liberality leads to plenty" (36). This is not the "health and wealth" gospel that so many preach. Rather, it is taking God up on a promise (Luke 6:38). Jesus promised spiritual gifts here. In the Old Law (Malachi 3:10) God promised to open the windows of heaven to bless those who "challenge" God in their giving. While we may not get a million-dollar bank account, God still richly blesses those who give liberally and then trust Him to protect.

Brother Black finishes the chapter with these good words:

It is not wrong to tell the farmer that if he makes an investment by sowing seed, that he, in due season, shall reap what he sowed. It is also right to tell the Christian what the Bible so often says: "giving" is sowing and the Lord of harvest guarantees the reaping. (37)