“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?”Luke 16:10–11
Our attitudes about money and giving are shaped early in life. When I was in high school, my first job was working for a Christian bookstore at the minimum wage: $2.10 an hour. I worked every shift I could. Finally, I accumulated $700 by working at that bookstore. I felt like I was John D. Rockefeller. I had $700 in my checking account! I was really proud of it.
At the same time, I was volunteering at a church in McKinney. One Sunday, the pastor said, “God has given me a vision to start a bus ministry. There are hundreds of boys and girls around here we could bus in to hear the gospel. The only problem is, we don’t have any buses, and we don’t have any money to purchase the buses. So let’s pray about it, church, and see if we can collect an offering to buy the buses.”
Well, God spoke to me. I didn’t like what I heard at first. God told me to write a check for the entire $700 to donate to the bus ministry. I have to admit, I struggled a bit with that. I thought about all the floors I had mopped, all the commodes I had cleaned, everything I had done to earn that $700. I thought, “Is this really God speaking to me?” But I decided that I didn’t want to get into the habit of ignoring God’s voice. So I said, “God, if You’ve said it, I’m going to do it.” I happily wrote out the check for $700. The church got the buses. During the next few years, many boys and girls came to faith in Christ. I was elated that somehow God had used my feeble efforts to bring people into the kingdom of God.
I learned two lessons from that experience that I’ve never forgotten. First, you can’t ever outgive God. Second, if you’re a Christian, there is no greater joy than using your time and investing your resources in making sure people will be in heaven.
A. W. Tozer wrote, “Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” Bruce Wilkinson has said that everything we do today matters forever. Isn’t that an interesting thought? How we spend the brief time we have on earth, including how we invest our money—it matters forever.
So I’ll ask you the same thing the pastor asked that church in McKinney: “God has given me a great vision to reach our city, nation, and world through Mission 1:8. There are millions of people who need to hear the gospel. The only problem is, we need more resources and more space at First Baptist Dallas to reach and disciple them.”
So let’s pray about it, church, and see how God would have us give to invest in the next generation.
Questions for Thought
- How has your current attitude about money been shaped by teaching in your early life? In what ways, do you need to change your perspective and actions?
- How can you answer that pastor’s challenge about giving at First Baptist Dallas today?
Dr. Robert Jeffress
Dr. Robert Jeffess is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Dallas. He is an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, consistently makes guest appearances on various radio and television programs and mainstream media outlets, hosts a daily radio program, Pathway to Victory, and is the author of 25 books. He and his wife, Amy, have two daughters and three grandchildren.