Spiritual Vitamin Articles
Jesus talked a lot about the idolatry of money. He said that you cannot serve God and wealth. Wealth can master a person's time, values, and harm others. Followers of Jesus are to use wealth mercifully and justly.
Clearly we don't believe Jesus on this one, because this culture is structured to serve money. Our consumerism has reached unprecedented levels. There's a bumper sticker that says, "I shop, therefore I am." We've got kids in city neighborhoods killing each other for a pair of basketball shoes. But there's no reason to pick on the inner-city kids who are just mimicking the behavior of the whole society. Our society has shown its willingness to take what it wants by any means necessary. We do it every day in the structures of international trade and finance. The United States didn't get fifty-four percent of the world's resources just because of God's blessings.
As a society we believe that what we can accumulate makes us who we are. That's idolatry. When we go shopping to feel better, that's idolatry. We use people and worship things. We are supposed to use things and value other people. We've got life all turned around.
Now, if you were to say to me, "Pastor Steve, that sounds like an appeal for money," you would be half right. It's summer, and we all know that giving to the church takes a vacation in the summer. This year giving has taken an extended vacation, and we are experiencing difficulty meeting our fiscal obligations. And I want to be clear, every ministry area is currently under budget. So it's not the case that someone is over-spending. We are "under-receiving." You need to know that.
But that's only half of it. This is a Spiritual Vitamin, and that means this is supposed to feed your soul with the vitamins it needs to live well and be healthy this week. This is not just an appeal for money. This is about how the spiritual vitamin of giving-and generous giving at that-keeps you spiritually healthy. So here's how generous giving will nourish your soul:
Giving makes me happy.
Jesus said, "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving."
There are two kinds of people in life: There are takers and there are givers. The happiest people in life are not the takers. The happiest people are the givers. No one has ever been honored for what they received. People are honored for what they give away.
Carl Menninger, one of the top psychiatrists in the nation, said, "Giving is a criterion of mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill." The healthier you are, the more unafraid you are to give things away. The more you hold things in and are afraid to give away, that's an indication that there's fear in your life.
Do you want to be fearless? Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy? Give! Give to God out of gratitude for all that God has done for you. Give for the joy of it.