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FIRST-PERSON: Tried to outgive God lately?

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)–Serving God probably will not lead to worldwide fame, writing best-sellers, or ministering to hundreds in foreign lands, for the majority of Christians. But there is hardly a Christian who cannot give. And when that giving is done in love, it demonstrates the greatest sacrifice ever made for mankind — the death of Jesus on the cross.

The way we use our money expresses the true depth of our love for God and others. God calls each of us to fill some gap in order to spread His Gospel to all parts of the world. And, much like Esther, every believer must decide either to be used of God or to be bypassed and allow another to be chosen instead.

Giving so that God’s servants can take His message throughout the world is an outward material expression of a deeper spiritual commitment and is an indication of a willing and obedient heart. “Each person should do as he has decided in his heart — not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

We speak boldly about the Great Commission. And, there is enough money in North America to fund all the Christian work in the world, if only the people of God would give.

The desire to give may be in the hearts of most Christians, but Americans are so caught up in making more money and buying bigger and better things, and paying for the things that they already have, that they have lost focus on the unsaved world. The Gospel literally has become shackled because money needed for worldwide ministry is tied up in personal debt and large monthly payments.

The Southern Baptist International Mission Board currently has about 5,000 field personnel under appointment. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal for 2005 was $150 million. Although it set a record, receipts fell short by $12 million.

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal for 2006 is $150 million. This looks like a good year to make up any lost ground.

One of the primary reasons why Crown Financial Ministries has been brought into existence by God is to teach people God’s principles of finance so that they can be free of debt in order to help fund the Gospel of Christ worldwide. “Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously”
(2 Corinthians 9:6).

In 1832 William Carey, the “father of modern missions” said, “I was once young and now I am old, but not once have I been witness to God’s failure to supply my need when first I had given for the furtherance of His work. He has never failed in His promise, so I cannot fail in my service to Him.”

Give so that the Gospel of Christ will be preached throughout the world, and God will reward you. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

If you’re looking for investment advice, think about this: the very best investment a person can make is an investment in the kingdom of God. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matthew 6:33).

Though the reason we should give to missions is to fund the work of the Lord around the world, there are also benefits to us. First, we remember that He is the owner of all we have, and we are only managers. Then, giving ensures that the spread of His Gospel will be advanced throughout the world. Next, we will be blessed spiritually because we know that we have realized God’s calling for each of us as Christians to “stand in the gap.”

The great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon addressed the subject of giving while speaking at a home mission inaugural conference at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in south London in 1889. He said, “In all of my years of service to my Lord, I have discovered a truth that has never failed and has never been compromised. That truth is that it is beyond the realm of possibilities that one has the ability to out give God. Even if I give the whole of my worth to Him, He will find a way to give back to me much more than I gave.”

So, getting back to the question, have you tried to outgive God lately? Please, go ahead and try — you’ll never be able to outgive our generous Lord.
Howard Dayton is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. Dayton and the late Larry Burkett joined forces in 2000 when Crown Ministries, led by Dayton, merged with Christian Financial Concepts, led by Burkett. The new organization became Crown Financial Ministries, on the web at www.crown.org.

    About the Author

  • Howard Dayton