No devoted thing, that a man devotes to the Lord of all he has, whether of man or beast, or of the field of his possession, can be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:28)

“Jesus sat near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money.  Many rich people put in large amounts.  Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.  Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”  (Mark 12:41-44)

“Jesus told this story to his disciples: ‘There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs.  One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money.  So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’  The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me.  I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg.  Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’  So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation.  He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’  So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ ‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply.  ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd.  And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.  Here’s the lesson:  Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends.  Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.  If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.  But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.  And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? No one can serve two masters.  For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.’  The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him.  Then he said to them, ‘You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts.  What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.'”(Luke 16:1-15)

“Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested.  ‘Teacher,” they said, ‘we know how honest you are.  You are impartial and don’t play favorites.  You teach the way of God truthfully.  Now tell us — is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  Should we pay them or shouldn’t we?’  Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, ‘Why are you trying to trap me?  Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.’ When they handed it to him, he asked, ‘Whose picture and title are stamped on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.  ‘Well, then,’ Jesus said, ‘give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’ His reply completely amazed them. (Mark 12: 13-17)

Jesus often addressed the topic of money.  He made it clear that money is of this world and not of God.

We know from Scripture that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil; things that draw us away from God and into temptation and death.  (1 Timothy 6:9-10)  Whether it is Caesar’s denarius or America’s dollar, it is, in and of itself, of the world. But with money being the essence of our every day lives, how do we sanctify that which is of the world into a holy use for God’s treasury house on earth and the purposes of His kingdom?  How do we, in all practicality, take away something from Satan that belongs to his wicked kingdom and claim it instead for God’s glory? How do we infiltrate and plunder Satan’s territory, namely his world realm of finance, and bring the spoils home to our Father?

Scripture teaches us that, in order for something to be made sanctified for the Lord, it must be destroyed as far as the giver is concerned.  Destroying a thing for the Lord leaves no opportunity for us to reclaim that thing and re-use it later; we cannot redeem it, give it, or sell it again to be used.  That is why it is a sacrifice.  Only the Lord receives it.

Applying the concept of sacrifice and sanctification to money is the same as to any other thing we would sacrifice: GIVE IT TO THE LORD, thereby destroying it; destroying our ability to use it for anything else in the world.  Give, not randomly, but out of habit, in proportion to what we have, earnestly and with purpose.  Paul wrote the Corinthians, saying “Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.  Give in proportion to what you have.  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly.  And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves.  I only mean that there should be some equality.” (2 Corinthians 8:11-13)

This habit of giving in proportion to what we have and eagerly is pleasing to the Lord.  It is a sacrifice that helps others and brings glory to the Lord’s name.  Do not be intimidated by the amount, as it doesn’t matter.  Jesus sat and watched rich people donate lots of their money to the Temple, but it was the two little otherwise worthless coins that the poor widow gave that impressed him so.  Why? She was making a sacrifice.  Jesus’ statement about the others’ giving from their surplus was not meant to discount their giving, but only to highlight the fact that God cares not about the amount we give, but the condition of our heart in our deliberations to give and in the act of giving.

Unlike the “prosperity gospel” which is false teaching, giving to the Lord, His purposes and Kingdom, is not a platform for positioning ourselves to get rich.  It is Scriptural that those who can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much and will be given much, but the context of that meaning has been perverted by the “prosperity gospel” so that those who preach it can get rich at the expense of their followers.  That money stays in Satan’s kingdom because it is not sanctified and made holy.  The whole premise of the false prosperity gospel of giving money is to see it returned as-many-fold as is possible.  That is greed and is exactly what Jesus warns us about when he says we cannot serve two masters.

No, give as a sacrifice, expecting to never see it again. Let it be “consumed by the Lord.” Give to the Lord, converting worldly money into heavenly purpose.  Let your money feed and clothe the poor, widows and orphans. Make it buy Bibles for those who cannot buy their own.  Make it benefit your local church and people who attend it. Make it strengthen your community.  Let it take care of the families of Christian martyrs around the world who are suffering.  Let it build water wells and houses and churches abroad for others who cannot afford these things.  Make it aid your family members who need legitimate help. Let it send others out to spread the Good News of Christ.  Use it to help others and lift them up, all in proportion to what you have.

We are God’s Treasury House on Earth.  We are His army and His stewards. His Kingdom spreads through our right living, praying and giving, all of which are sacrifices which greatly please Him.  What an opportunity and privilege it is to use the things of this world to honor the Name of the Lord.

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