Tuesday, January 30, 2007

God's Top Three Financial List

If you were God, (always a dangerous and somewhat ridiculous way to begin ANY discussion), and were designing a culture where you were going to go out of your way to bring great financial and material comforts to your people, what would you want the people of that culture to be wary of?

The 15th chapter of Deuteronomy deals with EXACTLY this type of situation. Moses is reminding the people of God's instructions for being a holy, completely different type of society.

Here are is a TOP THREE LIST of God's financial instructions:

1. THERE SHOULD BE NO POOR AMONG YOU (15:4) (The passage goes on to tie this statement to obeying God's commands. And while I can't control others' obedience or disobedience, I can ask myself this question, "How am I doing at wiping out poverty in and around my area?")

2. DO NOT BE HARDHEARTED OR TIGHTFISTED TOWARD YOUR POOR BROTHER (15:7) Sometimes HARDHEARTED or TIGHTFISTED shows up as apathy ("I don't care"). Sometimes it shows up as ignorance ("I don't know what to do") or laziness (and I'm not going to try and find out how I can help.)

3. GIVE AS THE LORD YOUR GOD HAS BLESSED YOU (15:14) If you enjoy the comforts of your own home, your own vehicle, your choice of food on your table, then you have been blessed. Period. God has blessed you, at least in part, so that you might pass some of that abundance on to those in need.

So now maybe you're asking, "Where do I start?" or "How do I begin?" Here are some practical steps.

- Sponsor a child through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries or Compassion International (Build it into your budget monthly. This will be a constant reminder that there are people in the world who are in need.)

- Regularly support your local food pantry with food, clothing, or money (Faith in Action in Chelsea and Eastside Mission in Flint are 2 great organizations, worthy of your hard-earned dollars)

- Consider "random act of compassion" like dropping off a bag of groceries or mailing a gas card to a single mom or a senior citizen on a fixed income

And may God bless your softhearted, openhanded generosity!

Grace & peace

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