What does a wise person look like? How would they act? What would they do? These were the core issues addressed by Pastor Travis last week when he spoke from James 3:13-17 on “What Wisdom Wears.” I especially appreciate his emphasis on generosity and the counter-intuitive nature of true, heavenly wisdom “from above.”
In fact, it was the thought of “giving everything away” that probably prompted the question below. So although he didn’t field “live” questions, here’s the one that did come in via text, with guest author Pastor Travis Walker providing some insight.
Q: Is it unwise to want to gain more in order to have the resources to give more?
A: Let’s be completely honest to start this discussion. We are sinners, therefore almost everything we want is tainted by sin and selfishness. For example, think about the things we pray for on a daily basis. If we were to write down those prayers and read them back to ourselves, evaluating them based upon selfish wants/desires, many of them would fall into the selfish category.
For comparison, let’s look at the example Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 regarding how we ought to pray:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
In the famous Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches His children to pray God-centered, not me-centered; and when it comes to requests, simply ask God to meet your needs. Our ‘wants’ probably should look more like this than how we typically pray.
This is a great question, though, because all of us do have wants and desires for our lives, and it is good to know which ones of these we should pursue and which ones we should give up. So lets talk about this idea of wanting more so we can bless more.
Three thoughts to consider:
- Do you really need more in order to give more or do you just need to give more? For many of us, our greatest problem is not incoming money; it is outgoing money—what we spend our money on. If we truly wanted to give more, we could make some changes today and not wait for God to give us a pay increase. Consider cutting some things out of your life that are extras and start giving more today, even before you are getting more.
- Is your want rooted in greed? Check your heart and ask God to help you see your own real motivations. Would you really give more if you made more? Sure, a 10% increase would be more money; but would you really be a more generous person by at least 10% if your income went up tomorrow? Take a break right now and go read 1 Timothy 6:3-20 and ask God to use His word to mold you.
- Are you already asking God to meet the needs of people to whom you would give more? Make a list of all the things you would give to if you had unlimited funds. Now first make a commitment to pray for those people or ministries. God has more money than you have, so ask the one who owns cattle on a thousand hills to meet the needs of those for which you have a burden.