“Investing for Time and Eternity”
The theme of our annual stewardship emphasis this year is “Investing for Time and Eternity.” That’s what it’s all about. When we give as God provides and directs, we are truly “investing for time and eternity.”
Why should we give? We should give to glorify God out of a spirit of willing obedience to all that God has commanded. We should give to safeguard from deterioration, destruction, theft and inflation that which God has entrusted to us. We should give out of hearts of love in response to God’s love for us.
How should we give? As we have seen previously, there are many ways to store up treasures in heaven, but one of the primary ways is to give to the Lord’s work here on earth. When we give to the ministry here at First Church for the glory of God from hearts filled with God’s love, we are storing up treasure in heaven.
How much should we give? The Apostle Paul answered that question very concisely and clearly: We are to give as God has prospered us, or in direct proportion to our income. If you can honestly say that God has only prospered you a little, then only give a little. But if God has prospered you a lot, especially in view of a world economy and in contrast to those in third-world countries, then give a lot.
Think for a moment about what God’s actual records reveal concerning the heavenly deposits you have made during the past few months . . . a special Easter offering, a love gift to an inner city church, your regular weekly contributions here at First Church, a special offering for a missionary. Then think for a moment about standing before Christ someday to give an account of your life, including how you have managed the resources God has entrusted to you. Won’t that be a wonderful time as you rejoice over the deposits you have made in God’s Eternal Bank! Or will you wish you had given God more?
Alexander the Great said, “No matter how gilded my coffin, cut two holes in the sides and have my arms sticking out through them so people will see my hands are empty.” Another writer expressed that same truth this way: “I never saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”
Since we cannot take our possessions with us, shouldn’t we do all that we possibly can to send them on ahead by “investing for time and eternity” through giving to the ministry here at First Church?
Gladis and Gordon De Pree got to the heart of the matter with this short essay:
Someone will raise the inevitable questions: Does God lack for anything? Why should I give to God my limited means, my precious time, my one short life? Will it make God, owner of the universe, any richer? No. But it will make me, creature of God, more than a dead-end receptacle. It will make me a live being through which life flows back to God!
As you think about your offering today, and as you prayerfully consider the commitment God leads you to make in the coming year, please remember your commitment is not to our church, to the pastor, or to some committee or board. Through your Faith Promise Card, you are saying, “God, as you provide — by faith — this is how I intend to give in the coming year.”
And when you step out by faith in obedience to God’s Word and to God’s leading in your life, even when you do not know where the funds will come from, you can be confident God will provide all that is needed.
As you consider what you should give in the coming year, please keep in mind these words from Second Corinthians 9:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Or as Adrian Rogers once expressed it, “It’s not what you keep in the barn that multiplies. It’s what you sow in the field.”
May God bless you as you give this morning and as you covenant by faith concerning your giving in the coming year.