Wednesday, March 12, 2014

God Provides the Resources - Lesson 7

In our last post we concluded from the examples of scripture that:

1) Personally we should not borrow,
2) We should not pledge our resources to the debt of another
3) By implication the Church should not borrow either.
4) We need to train believers in Biblical financial principles.
5) What are the benefits to the church.
6) Thinking generously
7) The spirit of generosity

In our study of Exodus we saw that the Israelites were very generous. How could a group of slaves be this generous?

You know why these Israelites could be generous in this way, because God provides the resources?  Because the day they left Egypt they had gotten 430 years of "back wages". Let's take a look.

Exodus 12:35

The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

I'm not suggesting we go out and plunder our neighbors or that somehow being generous is enabled by some huge 430 year tax rebate from heaven.

The principle is "God provides the resources". He does this sometimes in dramatic and miraculous ways like this passage.  But mostly he has already provided through our everyday incomes and investments.

The average income in our community is $50,000-$60,000. Did you know that an average person if they saved a modest 15% of their salary from age 30 to 70 in a 401K, and invested it at average historical market rates, they would have over $7 million at 70 years old. This is more than enough to retire on and fund some pretty serious investments for God's Kingdom, even if the investment result is only half of this amount.

Statistics tell us that the average believer in evangelical churches in America gives 2-3% of their  income to the church. If those same believers lived on a budget, stayed out of debt and lived by Biblical Financial principles, it would not be beyond a realistic expectation to expect them to give 10% of their income or more. The 10% is the Biblical concept of a tithe, which means a tenth.
Many believers give a tithe. But what if we taught the rest how, so most any and all could do that.

A large church with 2000 giving units with an average income of $50,000 per believer that gives 3%, would have a budget of $3 million dollars. But let's say that on average these believers were able to give 10%, you  probably don't even need a calculator to do the math on that one. This congregation could give of $10 million per year. Or maybe a couple of the 70 year old folks from the previous example, could chip in a little from their bounty and we would have an even better result. Keep in mind this is just one year, These kind of numbers would allow the kind of building program that a congregation that size would need in only a few years (without borrowing) and fund some pretty impressive missions projects. Maybe they could build a hospital in Africa or send some of their own congregation to spiritually dark places in the world, or just minimize hunger in their own communities. Keep in mind that same congregation gets to keep $90 million, OK maybe $60-70 million after taxes, if you don't have debt, you can still live well and save well on that.

I wanted to pause on our journey to paint a vision for what could be, no can be, possible when we follow Biblical financial principles to their logical conclusion.

These are just examples to show that God can and does provide the resources. Pretty cool to think about, yes, but we aren't even talking any of the miraculous stuff our God is so famous for, this isn't even the "cattle on a 1000 hills" is it?  Maybe from where we are today this does seem like this would be pretty impossible, no pretty miraculous. I agree this would stretch our faith but that would be good right?

But hold your chariots, again we are getting a little ahead of our selves, we have a little more to learn before we have the full picture of how this can work.

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