June 15, 2016

The Older Brother

Unfortunately, most of us in the church are still thinking like the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. We have lost sight of the fact that we don’t just work on the farm. We are sons and daughters of the Owner, and our Dad has plenty! I believe this revelation will totally change the way we think and plan for our futures. Most of us are still looking at our provision (what our bank statement says) to help us determine our vision, and therefore are living within our means instead of His blessings.

For example, if we are constructing a new building, we argue that we must give up some other project to cover the cost. Yet we have been called to live beyond reason and far beyond the borders of our own abilities. If we can’t do any more than mere men, then let us not tell others we are a part of the church of a living God. We have to accomplish more than the Elk’s Club if we are going to call God our Dad. This requires us to live by faith in God’s provision. When we daily trust God for our substance then we will tap into Heaven’s resources. (I know that there is a real need for true stewardship in the Body of Christ, but much of what is called stewardship in the Church is simply fear that has disguised itself as wisdom.)

Paul said it best: “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). Did you get that? He said, “God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory!” He is not supplying according to my need but according to His riches.

Living By Faith

Many times I have asked people what they do for a living. Some of them say, “I live by faith.” I have learned over the years that this statement usually means, “I don’t have a job. I depend on people to donate to my ministry.” The unspoken belief is that people who receive a paycheck don’t need to believe God for their income. This ideology is problematic. If we stop living by faith when we start receiving a regular income, then we reduce our provision down to our ability to perform instead of the Lord’s ability to provide.

The pauper mentality can be found in every level of society and in all walks of life. A person’s bank account is no indication of whether they are experiencing the provision of God or not. Someone can have a lot of things but still feel insecure, fearing something could happen to them and they’d lose it all. When paupers acquire money or things, they tend to get their identity from them. The truth is that a man is not measured by what he has, but by what has him. Some people own houses, but sometimes it seems that houses own people.

Rich or Wealthy

When we live just to get things or work so much that we don’t have time for the important relationships that we have in our lives, I wonder if we own things or if they own us. The way I see it is that there is a difference between being rich and being wealthy. Wealthy people refuse to be reduced to their balance sheet and their wealth never owns them. They don’t worry about the money because they know there will always be enough. Rich people’s self-esteem is attached directly to their “Profit and Loss Statement.” They exert a lot of energy either chasing money or trying to keep it. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t have great work habits. I just mean that princes don’t work for money, but rather, they work for God.

When a pauper gets a lot of money, the question that needs to be answered is, “Did God gain a fortune or lose a man?” Paupers often lose sight of their priorities when they get money, but princes don’t get their identity from what they have because they know their identity is not dependent on their performance or their possessions. Princes own things, but they never let things own them. The result is that they are able to experience the worry-free life Jesus promised and are free to seek first the kingdom, knowing that all they need will be added to them.

For more on this subject, check out my book Developing a Supernatural Lifestyle.

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Do you own your things, or do your things own you? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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