February 16, 2012

“He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves” (Psalm 47:4). According to God’s Word, the Lord chooses our inheritance for us. As I read the above Bible verse it reminded me of an evangelism call I made many years ago in St. Louis. The woman I visited lived in a small, run down home. She had an aged car that had seen better days. As we visited she told me she was praying that God would give her a million dollars. And it was obvious that she was serious about getting the money.

She had been attending a home Bible study with Christians who were promoting “name it/claim it” theology. They had told her that God would give her anything she asked for—all she had to do was ask. So, she had asked Him for a million dollars.

As I visited with her we talked about our faith in Christ, prayer, and money. I shared some reasons why God might say “no” to her prayer request for this large amount of money. I explained that God doesn’t always answer prayers with “yes,” but sometimes answers our prayers with “no” or “wait.” I said, “Maybe he knows that if you had that much money you would turn away from Him. Maybe He knows that money could easily become your god. Maybe he knows you can’t handle that amount of money yet.” I don’t think she ever received the money that she prayed for, but it was an interesting encounter that made me think about the gifts God has bestowed upon me and my family.

Have you ever prayed for something and God said “no” or “wait”? Neither answer from God is as easy to accept as when He says “yes” to our prayers. This woman could have asked God for all kinds of things—a loving family, a thankful heart, stronger faith, a newer car, enough money to pay their bills and have some leftover, but instead she asked for a million dollars. I don’t know why that was her request, but I wonder if she loved money more than she should have. God’s Word says in 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” Note that is doesn’t say money is evil, but the “love of money.” The love of money causes seemingly good people to do things that are wrong and sinful—embezzle funds, steal, and yes, even have an abortion—to name just a few.

All we have is a gift from God. And God wants us to wisely manage the gifts He bestows upon us. The Lord wants us to give generously, cheerfully, proportionately, and intentionally. “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means … Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:7).

Generous giving is one of the traits of committed Christians who are growing in their knowledge of God’s Word and live their faith on a daily basis. It is hard to imagine a Christian who is serious about the Christian faith giving stingily. In Luke 12:34 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I pray your greatest treasure is your faith in Christ.

Most of the time we think of inheritances as money and/or assets that we receive when someone we love and care about dies and leaves us in their will or estate. But inheritances are not always about money or gifts. Acts 20:32 reminds us the most important inheritance we have received is the gift of eternal life that God gives us. What inheritance is shared by all of God’s holy people? To be holy we need to be forgiven of our sins. We are holy because of Christ’s death and the forgiveness that we receive through our faith in Him. Because of our faith, God bestows upon us eternal life.

Jesus spoke about money and possessions often. He wants us to handle money wisely and teach our children and grandchildren how to handle money, too. Whether we have a little or a lot, we need to listen to God’s word regarding all our gifts. It’s just good stewardship.

In the next twenty-five years it is estimated that trillions of dollars will be transferred through inheritances to children and grandchildren. Are you handling your money wisely? Are you teaching your children and grandchildren to handle money wisely? May I suggest that your LFL chapter or congregation consider offering a financial workshop to help you learn to handle your money wisely? Contact me for some workshop ideas.

Lutherans For Life supporters are generous people. They care about Life and it shows in their gifts to us and their volunteer work throughout the United States under the banner of Life. Thank you for caring about Life and caring about Lutherans For Life!

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21).