God’s Principle for Economic Growth

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God’s suprarational laws apply to you as much as they did to the characters in the Bible. But like them, you have to trust. When he calls you to give—even if it is your last—give, and he will prosper you. Now you can’t manipulate his economic laws for your own purposes, but when you bring your needs and desires to him and he tells you to risk trust, do it, and his favor is guaranteed. Whenever, wherever and however he calls you to step out, do it in obedience, trusting God to bless you, and he will. That is his inviolable, universal, eternal law of kingdom economics.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Kings 4:1-6

One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” Elisha asked, “What can I do to help you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She replied, “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.

God is not irrational. He has revealed himself so that we can understand him with our rational mind. And forever, we will be exploring the wonderful depth and breadth of God and his ways. Even into eternity, we will be pursuing the unlimited riches of who God is and how he acts within his created order. God is knowable, and for that we are and will be forever grateful.

But there is far more to God that we do not know than what we do know—and it will always be so. Even in eternity, with unlimited capacity for intellectual growth, God will be way ahead of us. By definition, we will never reach the full capacity of God’s brilliant mind. If we did, God would cease to be God and we would assume that role. And that is not going to happen. One of the things that will make eternal life so endlessly and indescribably exciting, purposeful and fulfilling is this very thing: the pursuit of the mind of God.

God is not irrational, but he is rationally knowable. Yet with the things of God that we cannot grasp, we might say that God is suprarational. That is, God is not understandable by human reason alone; he is beyond rational comprehension. And when we come into circumstances that fit into that category, we are asked to trust. And for those who put their trust in the wisdom and kindness of God in those beyond-comprehension-moments, there is a 100 percent guarantee of satisfaction and blessing:

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

That is the eternal testimony of the great heroes of our faith. Speaking for them all, the psalmist declared, “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame.” (Psalm 25:3).

Such is the lesson Elisha is teaching the desperate widow in 2 Kings 4. She had been married to a man who was a part of the school of the prophets, but his untimely death has left her and her children in dire straights. So she comes to Elisha for help with a creditor who is threatening to foreclose on her home. She will be left not only in grief over the loss of her husband, she will be destitute, evicted from her home, and at the mercies of a cruel economy.

So what does Elisha tell her to do: Take a risk and trust. She was to borrow as many jars from her neighbors as possible. Then she was to go behind closed doors and began to pour what little oil she had left into those jars. And trust!

Obviously, when she and her sons were told to go throughout the neighborhood to borrow the jars, they would have to explain this “irrational” concept to curious lenders. They would have to risk reputation; they would have to risk an investment of trust to obey God. Trust is exactly what they did, and then the miracle happened: Enough oil flowed from one small flask to fill all the jars they had borrowed. When they ran out of jars, the oil stopped flowing, but they had enough to sell at the market at a handsome profit. They risked faith, they trusted God, they acted in obedience, and in so doing, they unleashed God’s suprarational law for their economic growth—which met their need, and then some.

God’s suprarational laws apply to you as much as they did to the characters in the Bible. But like them, you have to trust. When he calls you to give—even if it is your last—give, and he will prosper you. Now you can’t manipulate his economic laws for your own purposes, but when you bring your needs and desires to him and he tells you to risk trust, do it, and his favor is guaranteed. Whenever, wherever and however he calls you to step out, do it in obedience, trusting God to bless you, and he will. That is his inviolable, universal, eternal law of kingdom economics.

That is God’s economy. And he desires for you to live within it!

Going Deeper With God: Do you have a need? Ask God for his direction, then trust him ruthlessly. Step out in obedience. Risk faith. Then wait for God to answer, because he will—and then some.

Estate Planning As Discipleship: Get In On The Act Long After You’re Gone

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Whether you are wealthy or poor, you can and should think of how to impact the Lord’s work posthumously. Why? Because you believe in laying up treasure in heaven—even after you are gone—and because you are so grateful for God’s undeserved blessings in your life that you just want to keep on giving back. Make plans now to bless God’s work later—wherever you choose—through visionary estate planning, and get ready to watch your investment grow from the great cloud of witnesses!

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 7:51

So King Solomon finished all his work on the Temple of the Lord. Then he brought all the gifts his father, David, had dedicated—the silver, the gold, and the various articles—and he stored them in the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple.

King David was now dead and gone, but his impact on God’s kingdom continued in both large and small ways. As the new king of Israel, Solomon, was finishing up his amazing job of constructing and furnishing the temple, we are told that he brought out treasure after treasure that his father David had prepared in advance of death in anticipation of this day. Now that is visionary estate planning!

There was not a man more passionate about God than David. He was deeply flawed—that is well known—but deeply committed to living a repentant life before God as well. He pursued the Lord with reckless abandon, so much so that God himself declared of David, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22)

God didn’t want David to build the temple; he had sovereignly ordained Solomon to that task. David desperately wanted to, but he humbly accepted God’s decision. That didn’t stop David, however, from making preparation for the day when a grand temple would be dedicated to the glory of God by one of his sons, hopefully Solomon. So in the bell lap of his reign, David began to think through things that would elevate the worship experience of the Israelites when they finally had a permanent house in which to offer their worship to God. Moreover, he began to craft gifts that would be lovingly presented to God for no other purpose than to make God smile. We don’t know exactly what those gifts were, but they were meaningful enough, and impressive too, that they met the well-heeled Solomon’s high standards for use in the temple.

David’s action took faith and vision along with careful planning and determined effort to do what he did. And he knew he would never see his gifts in use—at least not from the perspective of earth. Perhaps he had a sense that he would be in that great cloud of witnesses watching the temple’s dedication from the grandstand of heaven. Whatever the case, David leveraged his life when he had it to advance the kingdom and glorify God when he no longer had the breathe of life. His was an excellent example of estate planning long before seminars on how to prepare for your demise existed.

What about you? Do you love the Lord enough to want the material wealth he has given you to advance his kingdom long after you are gone? Out of gratitude for God’s undeserved blessing in this life, are you, like David, willing to exercise faith and foresight so that God’s work will be resourced through your estate? Do you want your love for God to live on even when you are gone from the earth? I hope so!

Now you may be thinking, since I am a pastor, that I’m fixin’ to take an offering? Not at all! I simply want you to invest in things that will produce an ever-increasing return even after you have joined David in that great cloud of witness. I want you to passionately love God so much that even what you leave behind continues to witness to his great name. I want you to do the kinds of things out of the kind of heart David offered to the Lord that Almighty God will say about you what he said of David, “I have found one who has a heart after me.” By the way, it is not the amount that matters; it is the intent of your heart. Whether you are wealthy or poor, you can and should think of how to impact the Lord’s work posthumously.

Now I am not suggesting you do something that I haven’t done. After much heartfelt discussion, my wife and I spoke to an estate planning attorney and legally bound a percentage of our material wealth, such as it is, to resource God’s work through our church and the missions ministry of our choice. We did that because we believe in laying up treasure in heaven—even after we are gone. We did that because we have seen the impact of financial resources in advancing kingdom business. We did that because we are so grateful for God’s undeserved blessings in our lives that we just want to give back—and keep on giving. We did that because we know that “tis one life will soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I hope you will receive this in the right spirit. Mostly, I hope you will do something about it. Make plans now to bless God’s work later—wherever you choose—through visionary estate planning. And get ready to watch your investment grow from the great cloud!

Going Deeper With God: Do not wait any longer. At the next opportunity, talk to an attorney or attend an estate planning seminar, and set a strategy for kingdom advancement even after you are gone.