• on April 5, 2019

Ragged Edged Faith & Reckless Generosity

by Pastor Afolabi Oladele

 “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:42-44

Giving this background, generosity is “an abundance of faith towards God who cannot fail in supplying my need.” Too many of us think generosity is an overflow of wealth but it’s not.  It wasn’t for nothing that Jesus chose to talk about this widow who gave her all. This woman gave from her penury. So many of us tie our ability to be generous towards God to what we have in our pocket.  All the people who were there didn’t see what was happening to that widow but God knew. The Scriptures by the mouth of Solomon say that a rich man’s wealth is his strong city but the poor man’s poverty is his destruction because he never thinks there is a way out of that and all he does is grab, grab because his trust is in the little that he has, he doesn’t have trust in the God that is able to turn little into much.

Ps. 88:9 “Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.”

I am resolved by the Spirit of God that this is the season when God is releasing abundance upon the people but there are pre-conditions that go along with it, in terms of how these things will work. Giving out  of abundance shows no exercise of faith. This widow understood the nature of God and while nobody else saw what she was putting in there, God saw it. Stinginess is a sure sign that you are putting your trust in the little that is in your pocket as against trusting God who is able to supply all your needs. If you’re going to be loosed of the shackles of poverty, there are certain things which you must deal with when it comes to things from God.

 “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jer. 17:5-8

A man serves what he trusts. If the little that you have in your pocket is what you trust and you are hanging on it, that is what you are serving. What are you putting your trust in?

Also is the case of the woman to whom Elijah was sent to she gave from the little she had left, not from her abundance and then you could see the place of the unspoken confidence in God who is able to do great things. Make no mistake; we serve what we trust! Some because of their circumstance in life, live in the fear of poverty all their life that they seldom take risks with God. Therefore they never experience the joy of God coming through for them. Generosity is not only a sure sign of faith but it’s also a sure fire to stimulate faith.

4 key lessons out of 1st Timothy Six

When we realize the vastness of our divine resources and acknowledge that the eternal richness of heaven is actually God’s gift to us, then we will begin to understand why there is a need for us to be eager to share and give freely the benefits that God has put in our hands.

The Scripture in 1 Timothy 6:7 should make all of us hold loosely the things that are in our hands. This is one Scripture that Job understood when everything went away from him, he said, “naked did I come to this world and naked will I leave.” You need to learn to hold things very loosely. Why do we cling so much to earthly goods? It is generosity that is rooted in contentment that makes a man have the same conclusion as Job had. In 1 Timothy 6:8, Paul said “having food and raiment, let us there not be content.” The Gentiles bother about these things but you have to keep your essential needs to a minimum and focus on the genuine needs of life. But we mix up luxuries with essentials.  This of course does not mean that luxuries are bad but do not let them be your focus. When we begin to mix up luxuries with essentials, joy flies away. I plead with you in the name of the Lord to avoid the attitude of ‘he who ends up with the most toys wins the race.’ That you have all the possessions does not make you the most successful. That’s not the race that God has called us unto.

Jesus never said that having nice things are wrong. Neither have I said so. By God’s sovereign choice, He may ordain some to be as poor as Himself and His disciples. The Owner of all things came to this earth, not with an entourage but came as poor as His disciples were; yet He owns all things. He may also want others to have an abundance of money and material goods only so that they might give in abundance. The choice concern of the Lord is do you own things or do things own you? Where is your security? The chief concern of the Lord is not the issue of wealth but where you turn to for security.

I was going through the January 2007 edition of Be Ready Magazine and I caught a portion of the article that said, money is a defence, not the defence. Whether or not we own nice things, God wants us to be sure those things do not own us. As soon as something begins to feel a little too crucial to your happiness and safety, give it away because it’s about to ensure a hold on your life.  It’s hard, but Jesus will give you the strength so that you don’t end up with your life wrecked because you bridged the principles of trust in God.

In 1 Timothy 6:9 we see how to break the appeal of greed. The magnetic spell that the glitter of gold and silver leaves always is a debris of broken promises and relationships. Flee it, because what you find in the wake of infatuation with wealth is broken relationships, broken lives etc.  The prisons are filled with many believers; the problem is not with money, the problem is with infatuation with money.

It is not so much of the things you have, it is whether the things have you (1 Tim. 6:17). Cultivate a truly thankful and joyful lifestyle. Those who are already rich are told not to fix their hope on false security. Do not look down on those who have less, know that your possessions are a loan from God to you for His glory and for your enjoyment. The day you understand that you are a channel of generosity towards God and of redistribution with wisdom, you will be walking in the path of doors of heaven being opened unto you and you will not have to complain nor be in the bondage of lack. God is saying to you contentment is foundational to a generous spirit. Let your life be confined to the essential needs of life and you’ll see God do the things His way. In the middle of hardness, God will supply your needs; it doesn’t matter the time, what matters is faith. Understand the purpose that God has for your life and follow His will. 

Each time God opens the door of abundance, there’s always a test that goes with it. In the wilderness where nothing was growing, Israel began to murmur, “we miss the cucumbers and leeks we ate in Egypt,” and God did a miracle but with the miracle of the manna of heaven came specific instructions and some of them failed. God put a test of obedience along with the miracle He gave them (provision).  They failed the test of obedience and the door was shut.  Can you look at your lives, the things which the kingdom of God gave you?

Give, it shall be given unto you, full measure, press down, shaken together, running over shall men give unto you.  Remember Abraham and Joseph. It doesn’t matter about the times, what counts is faith then acting on what it might be that you have. We can refer to the case of Elijah the prophet, wherein the woman was a type of the elect of our days, the supply shall not fail. Also Elijah was translated and the elect will also be translated; by acting upon the Word of God. God will always supply your need because giving is an act on what they have or they will not be blessed in accordance to God’s will.

In Luke 12:23-34, we confirm all we have said so far, that life is more than food and raiment. He provides for the ravens to eat and the same ravens that have no food nor brains were the ones that carried food to Elijah. God can send ravens to bless you. God works best when the storehouse is almost empty or already empty. You don’t have to be a Solomon to be prospered. And if you do not believe “O ye of little faith” never allow the circumstances around you to stop you from giving lest you shut the windows of blessings.

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