Thursday, August 18, 2016
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It was one of those unrehearsed Presidential moments that capture America's Chief Executive in situations you might never otherwise see. This happened to be after George W. Bush's second inauguration. There was a prayer service at the National Cathedral, and an offering was taken for which the President was apparently unprepared. What the camera captured was his Father, Former President George H. W. Bush, reaching over his son's shoulder from the pew behind him. He was slipping the President of the United States some money to put in the offering plate. It all happened pretty quickly and pretty skillfully, but of course the camera got it, and you just had to smile.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "From His Hand To Yours."
All the President had to give that day was what his Father gave him. As a matter of fact, that's all any of us has to give – what our Heavenly Father gives us. Because, as the Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father" (James 1:17).
In 1 Corinthians 4, where we find our word for today from the Word of God, the Lord asks this rhetorical question in verse 7: "What do you have that you did not receive?" Any ability you have, any money you have, any success you have, any insight, charisma, good looks or good health. You didn't achieve them – you received them! So pride is out the window. The verse goes on to press the point: "And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" Whatever we have to give was given to us by our Father. So you give without pride, without a need for recognition, without thinking that when you give, you have some right to control.
Earlier in this chapter, God says: "It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2). We've been trusted by God with things that are His. Like the master in Jesus' parable who "called his servants and entrusted his property to them" (Matthew 25:14). Notice – His property. You have no right to act as if it's yours any more than the bank where you put your money can say when you go to withdraw it, "Oh, I'm sorry – I've fallen in love with your money. Yes, it's mine now." For too many of us, an honest evaluation of how we spend our money, our talent, and our energy would reveal that that's exactly what we've done.
God has trusted each of us with some gifts from His hand. If it's not material things, it might be personal traits, personal abilities, influence that is just as valuable, or more valuable than money. Whatever you've been given, who are you using it for: for your advancement, your agenda, or God's agenda and the advancement of His kingdom? Notice, the President didn't pocket what his Father gave him to give. He put it where it belonged – in God's hands for God's work.
It seems obvious that some of us must have pocketed for ourselves what God gave us to give away. You can tell by how much of God's work on earth is constantly under-funded and understaffed. Surely, God is sending the money and the talent and the leadership His work requires. But is the supply line breaking down because some of us are keeping what we're supposed to be investing in His work?
It's about money, but it's about so much more than money – all the kinds of gifts that the Heavenly Father gives to His children. And it's about the reason He gave them to us. It's a trust. He's trusting that we will give back to Him what He's given to us for the things He cares about, and to do it with humility. You can do it with joy. Anything else, in the ancient words of the prophet Malachi, "is robbing God."