Summary: Third in a three part series on giving and stewardship
‘KEYS TO UNLOCKING GOD’S BLESSING ON YOUR LIFE” p.3
Learning to Live in the Contentment Zone
By Rev. Ralph Juthman
INTRODUCTION: Paul writes to Timothy, and instructs him to warn the rich in the church not to become complacent in their wealth. Paul reminds Timothy, , 6But godliness with contentment is great gain.(1Tim.6:6)
Someone once asked multi-billionaire Casino owner Donald Trump, “How much money does it take to make a person happy?” Trumps reply was, “Just a little more.”
That’s a sad truth of today’s world. We would throw aside just about anything, all for some money.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been discovering the Keys to Unlocking God’s Blessing in your life.
The first key begins with giving with an OPEN HAND. There are two attitudes you can have. The one is holding on to your stuff, and money with a clenched fist. The reason your hand is closed is you are either worried you will lose what little you feel you have or you are afraid that you will not have enough of what you think you should have.
This attitude, Jesus says will only result in the eternal loss of everything you do have. This is the greatest waste of God’s resources.
The opposite attitude is that you give with an open hand. When you give all that you have in order that others may be blessed through your obedient sacrifice, you in turn will receive God’s blessing that will last now and through eternity.
There is no greater freedom than when you give with an open hand.
The Second Key to open God s blessing is Giving with a BELIEVING HEART. You give as you believe.
The third key that I want us to look at today is, giving with a CONTENTED MIND.
If contenment is the goal, then the enemy of contentment is greed or covetousness.
In his inauguration address to the world, President Obama hit the nail on the head when he said, Americas financial woes are the direct result of ‘the greed of some’. I would hasten to add, the greed of many!
Greed and covetousness has been the prevalent attitude that has run our businesses, banks, the oil industry and dare I say even some churches and Christian ministries. The prosperity we have enjoyed over the last few decades has been quickly evaporated by the insatiable desire of people who feel the want and deserve for more than what they already have.
Unfortunately it is the most vulnerable in our society who end up suffering as a result.
Before we consider the secret to a life of contentment, lets take a look at a graphic and sad picture of greed. This story paints a graphic picture of the contrast between a life driven by greed and a life that is settled and content n the blessing and provision of Gd. Kindly turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Kings 21:1-16
Now as we start this text, we’re going to find that Ahab is like many of us in that he wanted something he couldn’t have. Look at vs. 1-2, “ Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, "Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth."
Now this must have been a beautiful vineyard, and it was right next to the summer home of Ahab, only problem was is that it wasn’t his. But hey, that’s really no problem, because Ahab was a powerful man, and Ahab always got what Ahab wanted. Ahab was used to just snapping his fingers, and people running to answer his request. Much in the same way as a celebrity might make some crazy request yet they always seem to get answered.
So imagine the horror on Ahab’s face when Naboth says…”No, you can’t have it!” In fact, Naboth goes further, look at vs. 3, “But Naboth replied, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers." Naboth’s actions were not prompted by monetary considerations, but by biblical principles and convictions. When God gave the land of Canaan to Israel, He divided it among the tribes of Israel. Given the nature of men, the land (like money) would have tended to accumulate into the hands of the few. And so the rich would get richer, and the poor would get poorer. God set down some very specific laws in Leviticus 25:8-17, 23-34 and Deuteronomy 25:5-10. These laws prevented the land from permanently changing hands, outside the family or tribe to which it was allotted. Because of these laws, Naboth knew that he could not sell or trade his land. It was not just that Naboth was being unreasonable; this was something he could not do, according to the law, and thus it was something he would not do, even if the king made him a deal that was tempting.