Dear Violet, Mia, Noelle, Charlie, Henry and George,
GIVING – Do we have idols?
This picture is a good reminder of the way many worship. In the Old Testament, the people worshipped something they made. The Wall Street “Bull” is often worshipped in our country. The “Bull” is the sign of making more money by investing. That is a “bull market.” The opposite of a bull market is a “bear market.” That is when people start to lose their idol and they get very distressed when that happens.
When we see what the children of Israel did in Exodus 32, we shake our heads and wonder how they could be so foolish. Here is what God says in verse 8: “They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it.” They worshipped something they had made. That is dumb.
We often do the same types of things even if we don’t create a carved image. We show by our actions and attitudes where our hearts really are. In Luke 18, the rich young ruler was very sad when Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give to the poor and follow Him. He didn’t worship a carved idol and claimed to keep all of God’s commands. His riches were his idol.
People with idols don’t like to give them up. They don’t want to lose their idol. They also make the mistake of thinking that their idol will make them happy. Unfortunately, idols take and take and they never really satisfy.
The Bible has a lot to say about money, giving and what really brings meaning and satisfaction in life. Most people think more money will make them happy, so giving it away will make them less happy. The sad truth is that those who grab for more-and-more generally are less-and-less content. Here are three lessons from some proverbs to help you avoid loving and serving the idol of money:
Psalm 37:21 (ESV) – “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives…”
Proverbs 3:27 (ESV) – “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”
Proverbs 11:25 (ESV) – “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Lesson 1: Generosity You can give and think you are gaining favor with God. God really isn’t interested in your giving but he is interested in your heart. Nothing you have is something He needs. God says, “the righteous is generous and gives.” In other words, generous givers don’t just give, but they give well. It isn’t a duty but a desire. If you meet a need out of duty, that is commendable. But you reveal something about your heart if you give with generosity. Be generous because God has been and is generous towards you.
Lesson 2: Watch and be Ready to Act We are to do good to others when it is in our power to do so. This means we are watching out for the needs of others, not just for our needs and wants. We allow our wants to have more importance than the needs of others. This is selfish, silly and reveals our hearts. Our wants become our idols and God wants us to share with others the good things He has given us. God gave His best to us: His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we give others the left-overs we don’t really understand the goodness and generosity of God towards us. God loves us, saw our need and acted by giving: John 3:16.
Lesson 3: Expect a Blessing The third proverb, Proverbs 11:25, says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” One who gives generously, for the right reasons, understanding the goodness of God may not get more money or more possessions or more wealth. But there are things far more valuable and fulfilling than stuff. Remember that stuff gets old, rusts, breaks and gets pushed into a closet or sold at a garage sale. Family, friends and your neighbors and even people on the other side of the world are far more valuable. You will find yourself refreshed if you don’t serve the idols of money, things or fun. The rewards of giving to others are lasting. Those rewards will not be lost at the end of this life.
Your Grandma Cindie and I work at giving. Certainly, the UTMA accounts are a gift, but we also like to give to our church, to individual people, to different missionaries or to organizations that help others. If you want to know who we give to and why we give to them, just ask. We want to set a good example for you and explain why we give to others.
This is one of the organizations we support: http://www.rawhide.org/
Can you tell me two reasons why you think we support Rawhide?
For help answering this see: http://www.rawhide.org/about-rawhide/