After being away on business, a man thought it would be nice to take his wife a little gift. "How about some perfume?" he asked the cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $75. "That's a bit much," he said, so she returned with a smaller bottle for $50. "That's still quite a bit," the man complained. Growing annoyed, the clerk brought out a tiny $20 bottle. "What I mean is I'd like to see something really cheap." The clerk handed him a mirror.
I've known people like that — many serve on church finance committees.
I'm thankful God is not cheap. An elderly, wealthy lady was idling in her Mercedes, waiting for a parking place at the grocery store. She had been waiting patiently as a car backed out. Just as the car pulled out, a young man whizzed right in and took the place. He got out of the car, started walking to the store, and said to the lady, "That's what you can do when you're young and quick." She took her Mercedes and smashed the back of his car over and over again. He ran up to her screaming, "Lady what are you doing? Are you crazy? That's my car." She calmly said, "That's what you can do when you're old and rich."
God is rich too, but He uses His riches for us, for our benefit. I am not talking about material riches. There are so many things more important than money.
A humorous story is told about the golfer Arnold Palmer. Palmer was invited to play a series of exhibition golf matches in Saudi Arabia. The king of Saudi Arabia was so impressed with "Arnie" and so appreciative of Palmer's impact on his countrymen that he wanted to give him a gift. "It really isn't necessary," Palmer insisted. "I am honored to have been invited." The king was persistent. "I would be unhappy if I could not show you my appreciation." Finally, Arnie relented. He thought for a moment and said, "Well, how about a golf club? That would make a nice memento of my visit to your country." The next day Arnold Palmer received the title to a golf club — consisting of thousands of acres of real estate, a clubhouse, beautiful trees, etc.
The king did not give out of his riches; he gave according to his riches. That is what God does for us. God can do more than you can even think about doing. God can give you more than you can ever think about wanting. God is able to give you more than you are able to ask or think. Here is our problem. We take God and we put Him in our sphere and expect Him to operate our same way.
I could tell you that I am able to lift a ton, and you could ask me to show you. But I would have to get on a space ship and travel to outer space to accomplish it. In space I can lift a ton because there is no gravity. It's a whole different realm. I have power there that I don't have here.
God is in a different realm. He doesn't operate the way our puny minds operate. He is God. He can do more abundantly than what we can ever ask or think. The issue is confidence.
When we lived in Dallas our oldest daughter turned 15, and the State of Texas believed that she would be competent to drive. That would not have bothered me if the State of Texas had decided she could drive a state vehicle. That would be their problem. Instead, they thought that she could drive at the age of fifteen … and with my vehicle. I loved Angela but I didn't really trust Angela. I didn't think that she was really competent. I had a hard time giving her the keys to my car. I'd say, "Today, why don't you drive around the neighborhood?" Or maybe on a Sunday, when there wasn't much traffic, I'd let her drive to church. I didn't want her out in the real world. I had a problem with her competence.
That is the way some of us think about God. We think God is with us, but we're not comfortable giving Him the keys to our lives. We don't want Him to take us out in the real world; we just want Him to stay in the neighborhood, or maybe at church, but not in the real world. We don't want God to dominate us. Don't be so naive to think that you aren't dominated by something. People say they just want to be free. Let's say that you want to be free from brushing your teeth. You can be free from the toothbrush, but you will eventually be dominated by cavities. Life involves choices, and it is always a choice of who or what will dominate us. When we say a person is filled with anger, what we mean is that the person is dominated by anger. Anger will soon come out. When God dominates us, He soon comes out.
There was an extremely wealthy man whose foreman was extremely helpful. One day he decided to take a vacation, but before he left, he told the foreman, "Build a house that is wonderful. Spare no expense on materials and construction. I will be gone for six months and when I return I want the keys to the house." The foreman started the house and realized that if he used substandard materials he could pocket most of the money. And that's exactly what he did. The house was a second-rate house with second-rate materials, but it looked great on the outside. When the man returned he asked for the keys to the house. "Did you build me a great house?" he inquired. "Yes," the foreman replied. "Did you use the finest materials?" "Yes," he again replied. His boss said, "Great, because this house is for you." Then he handed him the keys.
We have a wealthy God who spares no expense. Let Him build you a great house.