Abiding In Abundance
By Bishop Rick Wallace
It does not require much effort to find yourself digesting massive doses of rhetoric and propaganda concerning the current economic situation. Every self proclaimed expert is weighing in on the matter; and as always there is more criticism than contributions towards a valid solution. The thing that grabs me the most is the level of fear. In fact, an enormous portion of the current economic situation is driven by fear. Consumers fear making the most nominal and inconsequential of purchases; bankers fear lending money due to the risk of default; retailers fear making the necessary investments to procure adequate marketing and advertising. There is so much fear permeating throughout the corridors of society that we are feeding and nurturing the very thing we fear – economic instability.
In the fury of all of the extrapolated theories floating around in the air, in the midst of the paralyzing fear gripping our nation, is hidden the most disparaging of revelations, the defeated Christian. The fear level among the saved is equal to or greater than the unbeliever. Those who are called to walk by faith have become sight-walkers; glued to the T.V. set and gaining on every financial report. I am in no way suggesting that anyone at any time engage in unwise spending nor do I propose total ignorance to the economic climate that encapsulates you. However, I passionately desire to impress upon the heart of every believer that engages this piece to walk each day in the confidence of your identity in Christ and to stand implacably on the promises of God. The promises of God are 100% recession proof. Come with me as we take a journey through the infallible Word of God and come face to face with the great and precious promises of our great provider. Walk with me as I show you how to abide in the abundance of God and share with you its multitudinous benefits.
There is no mistaking the signs of economic recession and the presages of a pending structural collapse of the economy. Yet, these prognostications should not be the guiding forces in the lives of believers. Yes, we are to be prudent in our thoughts and actions irrespective to social or economic climates, however, there is a distinct difference between prudence and paranoia. External circumstances should never be the point of reference of the Christian solider. We are to be guided by the Word of God. We must ask ourselves: What does the Word say about this? God’s Word is lucidly clear when it concerns the financial state of His chosen.
Though I will be addressing financial prosperity and stability in primary, it is of immense importance to understand that Biblical prosperity and abundance extends beyond the realm of monetary wealth. Biblical prosperity encompasses emotional, physical, relational, spiritual, and financial advancement and stability. There is to be balance in the progression of the believer. Remember we are the reflection of God’s love and thereby the window through which the world sees our savior. If we are only focused on prosperity in wealth, we do not represent our savior well. We are told over and over in scripture that God will perfect us. The verb “perfect” in the Bible connotes completion, fulfillment, and attainment of a desired goal. Completion implies a person be established in every aspect. So, we cannot become so enamored with one aspect of our lives that we neglect others.
Yet, we must come to an understanding that financial prosperity is a part of the inheritance of the saints (belivers). There are those that teach that financial prosperity as promised in the Bible is only promised to the Jews of the Old Testament and are not a part of the new covenant. I will not spend a great deal of time addressing this directly, but we must understand that wealth in its rawest form is represented in natural created things. God created these things in abundance for all to have access to. For those that follow me, you know that it is my stance that lack is not of God; and just enough to get by is lack. We serve a God of abundance, and His magnanimous benevolence is expressed in every area of the believer’s life. Just as in other areas of a believer’s life; his financial lack comes from a lack of knowledge and appropriate action. Simply put lacking in knowledge in any particular aspect of your life produces poor decisions and fallible actions that produce lack in that area.
Now that we have this understood let us press forward. What does God promise concerning finances? Let us begin with the apprehension of the fact that money, as with all other blessings, carries with it an immense responsibility. Financial prosperity is a trust.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, In what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings.”(Mal. 3:8)
“In tithes and offerings”; there are two forms of giving, one obligatory and one voluntary. There is a distinction between the two and failure to distinguish between the two can lead to indecision. The fact that Malachi distinguishes between the two in verse 8 supports the fact that tithing and offering (free will giving) are two separate functions.
The word tithe means a tenth. Since God commanded Israel to bring tithes (Lev. 27:30-34), it is compulsory in its proper context. In the Old Testament, tithes were levied on the nation of Israel as a whole. Every man was to give a tenth of what they owned or earned through labor. There were several tithes: a tax for the maintenance of the Levites, the priestly tribe as inheritance in return for their work as priests (Num.18: 21,24); a tax for the national feasts and sacrifices (Deut. 14:22-27); and a tax every third year used for the poor and destitute of the land. (Deut. 14:28,29) As we can see, not only was tithing obligatory, it had a specific purpose. In the Old Testament, offerings extended beyond the mandated tithes. It is what was given of one’s own free will.
There are some who believe that although tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament, it remains a valid function of Christian living, and there are those who believe that tithing was a bona fide function only in the Old Testament Israel. Tithing as a legal obligation was given to the Jews of the Old Testament and them only. This means that a legal obligation for tithing no longer exists. Remember, we are no longer under the law, but grace. It does not, however, make tithing an invalid function within the church. The principles behind tithing are still true. The laws of diving reciprocity are still active. As you will soon see, not being under the law does not excuse the believer from giving, but actually requires us to give more. The Christian functioning under grace has a greater responsibility to give than the Jew functioning under the law.
Whether you believe in Church age tithing or not, we are still called to give. The issue is motive and obedience. Tithing existed before the law was given to Moses, therefore it is a bona-fide function in spiritual service. Whether it is compulsory for the Church is a subject to be visited later. With this in mind, let us take a look at what Paul had to say concerning giving:
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity (compulsion); for god loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6,7)
The first principle made visible here is the law of divine reciprocity. In the manner you give is the manner you receive. This is the simplest and most ingenuous of scriptural truths. The sowing of seeds is an analogical principle revealed throughout scripture, and is without question, aptly applied to financial giving. The second principle unveiled here is the attitude and motive through which one gives. One is not to give begrudgingly or out of compulsion. Mental attitude is the issue here. The point here is God’s graciousness towards you should motivate you to be gracious in your giving.
We must always be cognizant of the fact that God is our source of sufficiency, abundance, and stability. All things that are beneficial to our existence originate in Him. We are blessed to be a blessing to others.
“….I will bless you….and you shall be a blessing.”(Gen 12:2)
It is God who gives the increase so that others may experience His graciousness through you. To this point, you may be questioning the significance of seed sowing in the form of voluntary giving. Please understand that the financial breakthrough you are seeking is inextricably bound to your ability and willingness to give.
Let us revisit Malachi and see what God has to say concerning being robbed:
“You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, Says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”(Mal. 3:9,10)
We find that we have been brought under a curse due to our failure to give. The curse here is the consequential result of the dereliction of a triune principle; a principle formed through the compilation of three basic Biblical precepts: Obedience, responsibility, and divine reciprocity. At the core character of every successful and prosperous Christian is an obedient spirit. A willingness to surrender their personal volition to the awesome will of God. They have an erudite understanding that obedience is not only an essential part of Christian living; it is a banner that reveals the genuineness of their faith.
As Christians, we understand that our blessings come with great responsibility (Luke 12:48). We, as Christians, must understand that as blessings come from God they are not to be managed through the vacuum of greed, but the liberal faucet of generosity and Christian love.
“…I will bless you…and you shall be a blessing.”(Gen. 12:2)
“…So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.”(Zech. 8:13)
Being blessed carries the responsibility of being a blessing.
The law of divine reciprocity tells us that giving precedes receiving, that seeds must be sown in order to reap a harvest. This law is 100% perpetual, meaning it is always functional. Irrespective to the financial climate, despite personal circumstances, we are to give. The concept of giving yourself out of a financial bind is as valid as any other Biblical principle; however, sewing seeds requires faith. Trust God to perform that which He has promised. Stop making excuses of why the Church age believer is not privileged to the blessing of the Old Testament and start trusting God to honor his Word.
When we fail to obey, to properly execute our responsibility, or to sow productive seeds, we become counterproductive in our endeavors. The curse of counter productivity is an inexorable force that devastates the life it invades. When we withhold in hopes of sustaining, the very opposite happens; we lose ground.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”(Mal. 3:10)
God invites his people to try Him that it may prove and validate His trustworthiness. What God has promised in His Word, he will perform. (Isa. 55:11) God uses money as a type of trust; it requires stewardship. What we do with what we’ve been given has a bearing on how we are blessed in the future. When we withhold giving, whether tithes or offerings, we not only rob God and the church, we rob ourselves of positional, sequential and corollary blessings. God blesses us that we may bless others; He gives to us that we may give. He calls for a renewed commitment to our giving in tithes and offerings. Regardless to what side of the fence we sit on concerning New Testament tithing, it is important to remember that tithing was a genuine and valid function long before the law was given. In Gen. 14:20, Abram gives Melchizedek a tithe (tenth), making tithing a bona-fide function long before the law was given. We simply should not take a legalistic approach to it. It is not the law that makes tithing effective, it the heart that understands its principles.
After a renewed commitment toward giving, God reveals that there will be food (resources for kingdom work) in His house. Giving in the church equips the church to function, both internally and externally. Not only in the inward functions, such as utilities, maintenance, salaries, etc., but it also allows the church to be an outreach into the community and beyond.
Then God says that those that give will place themselves in position to receive an overflow of blessings (that there will not be room enough to receive). The Hebrew “day” pronounced (dye) translated have “room enough” carries the meaning sufficient, enough; a large enough quantity; plenty; immeasurable. This word occurs approximately forty times in the Old Testament. It describes an abundance that is inexpressible and beyond sufficient. God is simplistically stating that we can in no way out give Him. Growing up in church, we would sing a song, “You can’t beat God-giving”. One of the lines said, “The more you give, the more He gives to you.” I compel you to give yourself out of lack and into abundance.
I will digress momentarily. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder why so many nonbelievers seem to prosper even though they are seemingly diametrically opposed to the divine will of God?” The answer is lucidly revealed in scripture. These people have grasped an experiential knowledge of the law of divine reciprocity (the general principle of giving). Biblical principles can be divided into two categories: general principles and exclusive principles. A general principle that is delineated from Biblical doctrine applies to both, nonbelievers and believers alike. The book of Proverbs is replete with such principles. On the other hand, an exclusive principle is a principle that only applies to God’s chosen; it is covenantal. Therefore, the question you should be pondering is: ”If unbelievers can prosper by adherence to a Biblical principle, how much more will God bless those who are His own when they are obedient to his will?” God designed the universe to bring back to you what you put out, both negatively and positively.
In Malachi chapter 3, God does not only promise an overflow to those who are loyal in there giving. He promises to defend those blessings from the assault of the enemy:
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the lord of hosts;”(Mal. 3:11)
This guarantees that Satan himself cannot stop the blessing process. There is nothing like abiding under divine protection; living your life knowing that, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”(Isa. 54:17) A mature believer will never allow himself to be deterred from his responsibility to give. Allow me to pose a question. If a Jew living under the law was required to give one-tenth, how much more should the Christian living under grace give? Grace provides so much more in the way of blessings, requiring so much more in return.
Let me be clear; one of the most important and powerful forces of life is the principle of giving.
“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich. And he who waters will also be watered himself.”(Prov. 11:24,25)
The aforementioned truths are undeniable and are invaluable in the life of the believer. We can never become so imbued by social opinion that we lose focus as to our direction, purpose, and destiny as Christians. We are to never allow fear to render us dysfunctional. Fear is the antitheses of faith and has no place in the life of the believer. For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
The Cheerful Giver
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully so let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:6,7)
Here, we once again see giving as being analogous to seed sowing. We gain the stance that the measure at which we give is the very measure in which we receive. Yet, Paul does not stop with the principle of giving; he protracts the message to the sphere of attitude. “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver”(2 Cor 9:7). We can see that God is not only interested in your giving, but the state of heart and mind at the time of giving. Your motivation behind giving is just as important as the act of giving itself. We are not to give grudgingly or reluctantly, but freely and openly. We are not to give of necessity, which in essence, means under constraint, against one’s will, or as an act of compulsion. We are to give out of love as a response to God’s immeasurable love towards us. Yes, giving is an act of obedience, but our obedience should always be a responsive action in view of God’s awesome love and generosity towards us.
God searches our hearts as we give to determine our motives. We are to be a reflection of His love and bountiful generosity. For God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim: 6:17).
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance toward every good work. As it is written: ”He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. Now may He who supplies seed to the sewer, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness. (2 Cor 9:8-10)
There are three particular details we do well to take notice of here: First we must never lose sight of the fact that it is God who causes all grace to abound toward you. In a society that places so much significance and perceptive consequence on being independent, it is a facile accomplishment to become convinced that we are autonomous and self-sufficient. The fact is, irregardless to how active or proactive you are in your life and its circumstances, it is God who provides, protects, and sustains.
Secondly, the abundance of God’s grace comes with specificity of purpose; God blesses you with abundance (more than what is required), so that we may be a blessing to others. (Gen. 12:2)
Third, not only is it God who provides for your basic needs, but supplies for you in immense abundance so that you may bless others. When you sow seed, you reap a harvest in direct correspondence to the type and amount of seed you’ve sown. There must be an investment in order to receive a return. Again, this giving cannot be contingent upon the economic climate, your mood and emotions, or any other potentiality; any time fear, stinginess, or spite causes you to withhold what is appropriate, and in truth, belongs to God, the harvest is emaciated and ravaged. Liberality is the foundational force behind both, spiritual and material prosperity. When the heart is guided by a liberal spirit, it opens the doors for God’s awesome and munificent blessings to flow through the arteries of your life.
When you are an incessant giver, you not only sow new seed, but also perpetually water the seed that you’ve sown previously. The dynamic force in play insures that the harvest will yield bountifully as long as you continue to give. Keep in mind that your attitude towards giving is the key; your attitude should always reflect God’s love and generosity toward you.
Opening Up The Gates
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”(Heb. 2:10,11)
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God…. Beloved, now we are children of God.”(1 John 3:1)
“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…”(Eph. 1:5)
These scriptures, among others, establish the doctrinal truth that, upon salvation, we are grafted into the Royal Family of God. We become heirs with Christ. If this is so, it stands to reason that God will supply our every need by His riches in glory. Wait a minute, that’s not human reason, that’s sound scriptural principle! Beyond money and wealth, God has blessings in escrow for the believer. This means before you were conceived, before creation, God designed blessings specifically for your life and predicated on your purpose. There are so many of us strolling through each phase of life failing to take hold of God’s blessings.
“He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”(Rom. 8:32)
Here, the Apostle Paul uses “A Fortiori” logic to establish the fact that God will take care of His own. A Fortiori is a Latin phrase that carries the meaning “from or with stronger reason.” A fortiori logic has two parts: the greater and the less. Paul uses a fortiori with surgical precision in Romans Chapter 5, but we can also bear witness to His ingenious use of “a fortiori” logic in Romans 8:32. I know that we have drifted of course, but bear with me for a moment. As usual, I will get you there.
A fortiori logic is comprised of two comparative clauses which are also conditional. A conditional clause has two parts: if this, then that. The second clause is dependent upon the first clause; the “if” portion or premise is known in grammar as the protasis, and the “then” portion or conclusion is called the apodosis. In essence, Paul takes something known to establish something unknown in a manner that the thing that was once unknown becomes lucidly clear.
An example of an “a fortiori” would be: If Usain Bolt can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, it follows “a fortiori” that he can run it in 10 seconds. With 9.58 seconds being the greater task and 10 seconds being the less.
In Rom. 8:32, Paul uses the fact that God did not spare Jesus, but offered Him as a sacrifice for all, the greater, then He will surely, in conjunction with this sacrifice, freely give us all things, the less. In fact, every time you gaze back at Calvary, every time you meditate on the cross, each time you fathom the awesome power of the blood, you should become confident that the same God that introduced grace will also provide more grace. (James 4:6)
The question is inevitable; how do we open up the floodgates to these escrow blessings?
“Give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”(Luke 6:38)
Though financial encumbrances may tempt you to give in, God’s Word calls for you to give outward. Do not be confused or deceived by the enemy, the key to your breakthrough is giving. If your back is against the wall financially, if you can see no way out, foreclosures and tax liens loom large, I dare you to try God, I dare you to test Him, I dare you to trust Him. Give yourself into a blessing frenzy. I’m not just speaking of sowing monetary seeds. Sow yourself into your ministry; sow yourself into being a better parent, give of yourselves in every imaginable way. We are to give even when we, ourselves, are in need. (2 Cor. 1-5)
The law of divine reciprocity is a universal principle that teaches us that as we give outward, we receive in direct correspondence to what we give. If you sow seeds the ground yields a harvest. If you deposit money into the bank it accrues interest. There is a reciprocal affect. There is a reciprocal relationship that exists between God and his chosen. As we give, he gives to us. The thing is we want something from God, but we refuse to give. When we do this, we not only rob God, but we rob ourselves of exponential increase. Whether you are investing time taken, commitment, money or obedience, abundance begins with investment.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2)
In this scriptural passage, the Apostle John prays for temporal prosperity and physical health for Gaius; not only that, he prays that this prosperity will be commensurate with his spiritual status. The term “temporal prosperity” does not connote transitory prosperity, but is stated in reference to eternal prosperity, which extends into eternity “Just as your soul prospers”, references Gaius spiritual prosperity and maturity. The word “euodoo” in the Greek; translated “prosper” meaning to help on the road, to succeed in reaching, or to reach a desired or profitable result. So for the believer prosperity is not transitory. It is a continuum through which we progress in correspondence to our spiritual growth. As we grow up in Christ, God is free to expand our blessings.
Well, Bishop, Jesus commanded the rich young ruler to sell all he had and follow him; doesn’t this mean we are not to acquire wealth. No, this passage is not a condemnation of a massing wealth, but of being possessed or controlled by our possessions, we are never to become so engrossed in the blessing that we lose sight of the blesser. We are to never allow the gift to supersede the giver.
But Bishop, Paul said that money is the root of all evil. No, what Paul said was, “…the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…”(1 Tim 6:10). The problem here isn’t money, but the way we perceive it and to whom we consider to be its source. When money replaces God, we are out of line. When we are not good stewards with our money, we are out of line. We are not to put our trust in wealth, but we are not to despise it either.
Many of you are thinking that I’ve spent all this time teaching on the importance of giving, but I’ve failed to address the financial turbulence of today’s economy. Oh, but I have! Your breakthrough is inextricably bound to your willingness to give. God’s promises of prosperity are multitudinous. He has promised to bless the fruit of our body, to make us the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, the lender and not the borrower. Yes, these are covenantal promises made directly to the nation of Israel; however, they apply to the church age believer in principal. And what does he ask of you in return for these blessings? Give! Give your time; give your money; give the sacrifice of obedience.
My friends, God is still God, even in the time of recession. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. You are His children; you bear His name. He wants nothing more than to bless you. A child of God should not be stressing about the mortgage payment. A child of The Most High should not be encumbered by the fear of losing their job. A child of the King is never moved by external circumstances, for he knows that God is able. Let the experts weigh in, let the naysayers scurry in fear; let the Wall Street dons press and pull, but as for you, trust God; try God. Know that as you give, it will return in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. You are standing at the threshold of your breakthrough. I invite you to walk into the sanctuary of abundant living. God has a blessing of abundance with your name on it!
May God bless and keep you!
Bishop Rick Wallace