Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. (Proverbs 14:21) I know a guy who sold his business and went to be a missionary in Asia. While many young men were seeking success (whatever that means), he found it and left it to share...
God’s economy is opposite of the world’s. The world gives to those who earn, and earnings often equal the accomplishment. Our Heavenly Father, however, gives abundantly more and with a completely different value system.
The world wants to possess by claiming and receiving. It wants ownership of what’s truly God’s. On the other hand, our Heavenly Father gives extravagantly—but not because of anything we have done.
God’s Greatest Gift
God’s greatest gift is completely and utterly free, by his grace. It doesn’t have to be your birthday or a holiday for you to receive it, and it isn’t a token of thankfulness for something you did. It costs you nothing, though it cost Christ everything—
This is God’s gift of salvation for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ and repent of sin.
God hands over his Son so we can take hold of this gift and be saved. We should pay for it, but Jesus pays the price instead. It’s like we stand in the shopping line of a fancy boutique ready to purchase an expensive item when Jesus steps in, pays the cashier what we owe, and walks out with us to enjoy it together—but it’s much more than that.
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Scripture says he paid our ransom (Mark 10:45), which means “a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner,” according to Webster’s Dictionary. Without Christ, we sit in shackles, unable to break free from the greatest death sentence ever given, unable to pay for our release.
But if we trust in Christ, the outcome is different. On the cross, he pays the price we should pay, taking God’s wrath for our sin and giving us the greatest gift we could ever gain: his righteousness and peace with God. Then he promises to meet us in a heavenly place with no more pain to enjoy his presence forever.
This is the way God’s economy works, but the world’s way is quite the opposite.
Three Worldly Economic Assumptions
It’s important for us Christians to recognize the following “worldly economic assumptions” so we credit God as the Ultimate Giver of everything we’ve been given. If we give in to these earthly mindsets, we steal the glory he’s due, and we place the glory on ourselves. This creates a dangerous situation for us, as God will not give his glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). Therefore, let’s take these three assumptions to heart and ask, Have I believed these?
Assumption #1: “Everything is mine.”
Babies seem to exit the womb chanting, “Mine!” It’s their toy, their mommy, their everything. This assumption continues as a tight grip on possessions the older we get. People either view their homes as safe havens in peaceful isolation, for example, or they showcase their belongings.
The world consumes as much as it desires—even when money is limited. The acquiring of knowledge exists to propel people forward in the world, and it’s guarded if there’s a fear of competitors gaining an advantage. Other times, the world shares knowledge for the sake of boasting or promoting business. The world says, “Everything is mine.”
Yet, Christians live as everything is God’s. We too have the natural, sinful inclination to claim, “Mine!” But we desire to attribute all things as gifts from God that we value and steward:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:17-18)
We declare that everything we have belongs to God: our homes, money, knowledge, and possessions. Therefore, we aspire to be like God in how we use them. The Christian says, “This is what God’s given me for his glory and the good of others” (Acts 4:32-37).
Assumption #2: “I earned this.”
The world says, “I earned these talents and gifts.” Searching for the best education, athletic programs, and experiences to develop themselves into successes, people attribute their accomplishments to rigorous study and relentless training, with little regard for God.
As Christians, we credit God for our talents, gifts, and opportunities because we know he is our Creator. We say, “Only because he created us do we have such gifts!” Yes, we still work hard to develop our God-given skills and talents; however, we know our abilities and growth are only possible through the strength and ability given to us through Christ. Therefore, God gets the glory, not man (Colossians 3:23).
What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Assumption #3: “Give me more than I’ll give you.”
The world says, “Give me more than I’ll give you.” It emphasizes striving and achieving in human strength, so everything earned proves harder to release. People feel entitled to their possessions, time, energy, jobs, gifts, and relationships.
But Christians strive to give more than what we’ve received. We say, “Because Christ has given everything to us, we lack nothing, so we give to others, knowing it’s more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Give, Because God Gave
We’ve been given everything through the gospel. Nothing we own or possess comes from our will, but from God’s gracious will. Therefore, let us not hold on tightly to worldly gain, and let us give abundantly even to those who do not deserve it—as we don’t deserve the blessings of Christ.
Let us give even when we have little to give, for all that we have was also given to us. And may we not forsake to give others the best gift we’ve been given—the good news of Jesus Christ—so they too can enjoy his eternal blessings forevermore.