Money: Sending it Forward
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
– Jim Elliot
You have likely heard the phrase “pay it forward” which was made popular by the 2000 movie by the same name. This is the idea that out of the blessings and kindnesses we have received, we in turn should pass it on to others. We should be cultivating good deeds as a means of paying it (the kindnesses shown) forward. In turn, we are blessed in our giving. This week, I would like to argue that the good we do, even with our money is a way of “paying it forward”, but perhaps more accurately, “sending it forward” to our eternal dwelling in heaven.
I want to start off by saying that our motivation to give shouldn’t be primarily that we will receive. We are those who realise that we have been given much out of Christ’s fullness. We have received grace upon grace (John 1:16). We have not only received grace in the forgiveness of sins, but grace is shown in other ways as well. Christ extends grace to us in allowing us the means to earn money. Yes, we work to receive money, but when our very next breath is taken by God’s grace, then should we think of our wealth as anything less? So we should be those who are generous in good deeds which are a response to and a result of the grace shown to us. What we have been given freely, we need to freely give (Matthew 10:8).
With that being said, I do want to look now at our giving as a means of investing. We are given eternal rewards for doing good works. Whatever good someone does, this he will receive back from the Lord (Eph. 6:8). According to our works we will receive (Rom. 2:6). The rich young man in Matthew 19 was told to sell what he possessed, give to the poor, and he would have treasures in heaven.
Is it wrong to be motivated by reward? Well, in short, no. Christ emphasized reward as a result of giving. If yet another passage is needed, look at Luke 14:12-14. Here we are told that when we give the poor and needy who can’t repay us, we will be blessed, because we will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. What those rewards or treasures look like is hard to imagine as we are not in heaven. Yet we know, that whatever our reward in heaven (Matt. 5:12), it will be in a currency fit for the enjoyment of heaven.
When you think of leaving this world, do you start to regret the leaving behind of things you still want to enjoy? Where our treasure is, that is where our heart is. If we start laying up treasures for ourselves in heaven that are eternally secured (moth and rust do not destroy) won’t we desire to go and enjoy them? (Matthew 6:19-21). If you want more of a heart for something, put your money there.
Randy Alcorn in his book “The Treasure Principle” states the principle this way: “You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.” What if we were moving to a new country in a short time and we were told that we could take nothing with us but the shirt on our back. How would we live? We would certainly provide for our needs, but wouldn’t it be prudent to sell most of what we amass and invest in a bank within that country? Jesus has never been against investing. Always with our good in mind, he wants us to invest in things that will last and bring the most joy.
The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). This love is demonstrated in the cravings it produces, in the trust we put in it, and the use of it to satisfy our selfish desires. When you develop a healthy detachment from money, however, it is then easier to invest it wisely in things that last. Please don’t hear me saying that you should not enjoy your money. It is a good thing to pay for a vacation. It is a good thing to be able to go out for dinner. It is a good thing to pursue some hobbies you enjoy…. but, it is also a good thing not to forget that our life here is short and that what we invest in others and the gospel pays incredible dividends. Invest wisely!
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