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Week 3: Monday
- Matthew 25:14–30
- 2 Corinthians 9:6–15
- Matthew 6:19–24
Questions to Consider
- How is living with a spirit of poverty different from living in poverty?
- Why do we fear there is not enough?
- How is generosity the antidote to the spirit of poverty?
- Why is money one of the truest measures of our trust in God and our understanding of grace?
- How does Jesus help us to overcome a spirit of poverty?
Plan of Action
While not limiting yourself to money, consider one way in the next week you can practice generosity towards:
- Your spouse
- Your children
- You co-workers
- Your friends
- Your community
- Your church
A couple of years ago I took my daughter on a special daddy-daughter date night. Since it was a special evening for my daughter, she got to choose whatever restaurant she wanted. It was not too difficult of a choice for her. She wanted to go to McDonald’s and get a Happy Meal.
So we proceeded to the closest McDonald’s and I ordered her a Happy Meal. We sat down at our table and began to eat. At one point while we were eating I asked her if I could have one of her fries. Her response was: “No, mine!”
My thought in that moment was: “who bought you those fries? Who is able to buy you even more fries?” The only reason she had those fries in the first place was because I had bought them for her. What my daughter didn’t realize was that I was able to supply her with more fries than she would ever be able to eat. But she was living with a spirit of poverty. Her fear was that she did not have enough fries and would run out. She failed to consider the source of her fries.
That is how it is with God. He gives us everything we have. We don’t possess one thing apart from him giving it to us. We may earn our paycheck and buy things with the money we receive. But ultimately it is God who gave us the ability to earn a paycheck in the first place.
Living with a spirit of poverty is not the same thing as living in poverty. Living with a spirit of poverty is living with the fear there is not enough. Living with a spirit of poverty fails to recognize that God is the source of everything we need. The spirit of poverty focuses on what “we can afford” versus what “God can do.” We forget God’s ability to provide and we limit ourselves to what we can earn.
Many churches are stuck in a spirit of poverty. They forget God is the one who pays the bills. They fear not having enough. The ministry becomes about pinching pennies rather than sowing the seeds of the gospel. When the focus is put on preserving rather than growing, the ministry will become less than effective.
This was why Jesus sent his disciples in Matthew10:5–15 without anything for the journey. The focus was to rely upon God and know he would provide everything for the journey. If we have God on our side, there is nothing more we need. Effective ministry starts with being faithful to him and trusting in his supply.
The opposite of living with a spirit of poverty is living a generous life. It is living with the mindset that God calls us to use what he has entrusted to us. He calls us not to bury our treasure but to put it to work. If we fail to use what he gives us in ways that he intends us to use it, he will give it to someone else. (see Matthew 25:14–30)
If we want to see a model of generosity, we look to God himself. Jesus our Savior gave us his life upon the cross. We are given the most precious gift of all through Jesus. There is nothing greater he could give. He gave everything. He held nothing back. This is the greatest showing of generosity of all time. If he will give us this greatest gift, is there anything else he would withhold from us for our good and his glory? He has riches in store beyond what we can ever imagine. Every time we take a step of faith to live generously, it builds our trust in his unlimited supply.
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Thank you for clearly explaining what living with a “spirit of poverty” means ! (The example with your daughter illustrated it perfectly). I always enjoy reading your blogs. Have a blessed day!