A rich person: someone who has a little bit more than I do.
If we’re totally (perhaps brutally) honest, this is our working definition of wealth. Just listen to conversations from politicians on TV to people in coffee shops. Someone is “rich” if they have something better than I’ve got. If I make $70,000 annually, then I’m “middle class” and those making $80,000 annually are rich.
When you see it in print, it’s kinda dumb—sorry, but come on—but that’s how most of us think. So when it comes time to support the Kingdom of God, it somehow usually falls to those same “rich” people who are only “rich” because they have more than me. And they don’t think of themselves as rich because they know someone with more than them.
Um…then who actually invests in the enterprise of God’s Kingdom? Who supports this movement called “the church”? Who feeds the poor, clothes the naked, and starts new churches capable of transforming their communities?
Let’s just let that one sit out there for a minute. I’ll be here.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
It’s interesting to observe that when God gave His commands to His people in the Old Testament about giving their “firstfruits”, He didn’t offer a minimum (cf. Deuteronomy 18:4; 26:1–2). There wasn’t an “alternative minimum tax” where those who were truly poor would be excused from the discipline of supporting God’s ever-increasing Kingdom. Nope.
The Lord commanded His people to give of their “firstfruits” and honor Him with their wealth. Why? Have you ever stopped and asked why God was so concerned with our giving to our church (to put it in the New Testament context)?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus said that.
Read this next sentence very slowly and carefully: we subsidize what we love.
My wife Patty is a stay-at-home mom AND she’s homeschooling our daughter Dani. How is she able to do that? Because I love her and value what she’s doing. Since I love her, I’m willing to subsidize her. You read that right: we subsidize what we love.
In this season before The Purpose Community Church launches, why do we still give at least 10% of whatever money we have coming in? We love The Purpose Community Church and we subsidize what we love.
God wants us to subsidize His Kingdom because it aligns our heart with His. If God needed money, He’d just make it. He commands us to give our money to our churches because it reorients our hearts and priorities to His heart and priorities.
When we cultivate generosity in our lives, we find true riches—not in comparing ourselves to someone who makes more or less than us, but by subsidizing those things that make God dance: sinners coming home to Him and finding restoration and salvation.