“You must cancel your debts at the end of every seventh year. This is the way to conduct remission: every creditor must cancel the loan that his friend borrowed, and he must not pressure his friend or brother to repay it,because remission to the Lord will be proclaimed. You may exact payment from a foreigner, but cancel whatever your brother owes you. Moreover, there will be no poor person among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land that he is about to give you to possess. Only be certain to obey the voice of the Lord your God. Carefully observe all of these commands that I’m commanding you today, because the Lord your God will bless you just as he promised. You are to lend to many nations, but not to borrow. Also, you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.” “If there should be a poor man among your relatives in one of the cities of the land that the Lord your God is about to give you, don’t be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your poor relative.Instead, be sure to open your hand to him and lend him enough to lessen his need. Be careful not to think this wicked thought to yourselves: ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is drawing near…’ and you show ill will toward your poor relative and not give to him. He may then call to the Lord on account of you, and you will be guilty of sin. You must certainly give to him and not feel regret for doing so. Because of this, the Lord your God will bless all your works and everything you do. Since poor people won’t cease to exist in the land, I’m commanding you: Be sure to display generosity to your poor and needy relatives in your land.” “When a fellow Hebrew male or female slave is sold to you and serves you for six years, then in the seventh year you are to set them free. But when you set them free, don’t send them away empty-handed. Provide for them liberally from your flock, threshing floor, and wine vat. As the Lord your God has blessed you, so give to them. Don’t ever forget that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, yet the Lord your God redeemed you. Therefore, I’m giving you these commands today." Deuteronomy 15:1-15
Here God is getting ready to set up
His nation on earth. It is important to note how He planned to set up the
economy of that nation and how it would relate to His future plans for His
spiritual kingdom on earth. Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit offers four progressive steps to help gain a giving heart.
Deal with a greedy heart.
“Be careful not to think this wicked thought to yourselves: ‘The
seventh year, the year of remission, is drawing near… and you show ill will toward
your poor relative and not give to him. He may then call to the Lord on account of you, and you
will be guilty of sin.” 15:9
At every significant event between God and His people He makes known His intention to bless them so they can become a blessing to others in the land where they dwell.
No one has been blessed like Adam and Eve!
God's call to Abraham included a Covenant to bless him and make all the nations through him.
A Christ-follower cannot afford a greedy heart because a greedy heart can't receive God's blessing or become a blessing to others.
Greed equals selfishness! God warned that greed is a wicked thought! And He referred to it as "ill will". Finally, He pronounces it a sin!
You may have a greedy heart if you are calculated in your giving.
Deal with a grieving heart.
“You must certainly give to
him and not feel regret for doing so. Because of this, the Lord your God will bless all your
works and everything you do.” 15:10
Give freely with no strings attached. God doesn't bless regretful giving.
How do you feel if someone gives you a gift and you can tell they are reluctant about giving it? And how can God bless others through you if you give with a grieving heart?
Develop a generous heart. “Provide for them liberally from your flock, threshing floor, and
wine vat. As the Lord your
God has blessed you, so give to them.” 15:4
God expects you to give in the same measure that He gives to you! This is the same truth Jesus emphasizes in the Sermon on the Mount as characterized in Matthew 6:21 - "For where your treasure is there will your heart be also." Don't wait to feel generous before you give. Your heart follows your treasure, so give generously and you will begin to feel generous!
Develop a grateful heart.
“Don’t ever forget that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, yet
the Lord your God
redeemed you. Therefore, I’m giving you these commands today.” V. 15 I think this is the most powerful of the four helps to a giving heart. Here Moses says, "Whenever you start feeling a little possessive Remember where you came from!" A generation ago they were slaves and had nothing. There have have still been some among them who bore the marks of slavery on their backs. Then God sent Moses to deliver them and set them free. God led them and fed them and protected them and blessed them in every way so they could be a blessing to others.
You will live under a
blessing or under a curse.
If you can live under
God’s blessing why wouldn’t you?
It’s all about having the
heart of a giver and God’s Word offers clear counsel on how to have a giving
It’s all about the heart!
How is it with your heart? Where are your treasures?
“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
There are moments that mark our lives and become forged in our mind as memories.
For instance, I'm sure you remember the day you put your child on the school bus for the very first time. You choked back a big gulp and watched the bus until it disappeared over the horizon. Your whole world was on that bus! You prayed for you child and you also offered one up for the bus driver!
And then as your child reaches those mid-teen years and obtains a driver's license your anxiety level reaches never before imagined levels. You never forget the day when you hand the keys to your kid and he backs the car down the driveway, onto the street and off your radar. A huge check of your world has just headed into a world of potential disaster.
While you pray and fight back your fears and tear, you just hope that you have prepared his heart and mind to handle this responsibility. You hope your long discussions about the potential dangers and risks of driving have lodged somewhere in his thought process. You pray that his driver's education experience has trained him adequately.
Then, there's the time you drop him off at college and you unload his things, get him settled in his dorm room, resist the urge for one final lecture, hug him tight and head the car toward home feeling like you've been clubbed with a ball bat.
All the way home you review all the discussions you and your spouse had with him trying to prepare him for the potential pitfalls of college campus life. You pray that you have successfully shaped his heart and mind to make responsible decisions and avoid devastating ones.
Parenting is all about preparing your child(ren) for those moments when they step into new freedoms and responsibilities. You hope you have put their heart and mind in a good place. You pray they have learned to make decisions based on long-term success not short-term temptations.
This is what is going on in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is beginning to prepare His disciples for the day when He will hand over to them the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is where Heaven touches earth and the temporary connects to the eternal. The Kingdom of God is living on earth with heavenly values. The Kingdom of God is about using the temporary things of earth into eternal treasures! It is what Jesus came to bring us and succeeded in doing! And it is what he came to call and prepare His disciples to do. He knew He had three years to shape their hearts and mold their minds before He handed off the keys to God's Kingdom.
The verses above are taken from the middle of this message. Jesus is instructing His disciples to keep their focus fixed on eternity and eternal values. Money and material possession will tug their hearts toward selfishness and greed so they must consciously and intentionally have eternity in their hearts.
Jesus knew the powerful pull of materialism. He needed to impress that on His disciples, warn them of it's dangers and try to turn their hearts toward eternity.
If you are a follower of Christ this morning, you have been given the keys to the Kingdom of God. Your assignment today is to "lay up treasures in heaven" by how you handle the material things and relationships with people you interact with today. "Treasures in heaven" refers not just to stuff it refers to souls as well!
So, how do you want God to feel today as you take the keys to His Kingdom and head off to live life on planet earth today? Will you make choices that will help His Kingdom to come and His will to be done?
Will you lay up treasures in eternity or gather up things than bind you to this world?