The Harvest Is Ripe!
Our attitude can get blessing or lose it.
Praise the Lord! Today I will like to talk about our attitude towards things of this life. I believe this is very important also in walking with the Lord.
In Acts.20:35, Paul said it is more blessed to give than to receive. Everybody knows it is more blessed to give than to receive, but today I want to talk about the receiving side.
"I have showed you all things how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
It means we should try to be in the giving end. However there will be times when we are the receiver unless one is extremely wealthy and doesn't need anyone's help. The attitude of the receiver is what I want to focus upon today. There had been cases of people, even believers who had been noted to take advantage of other believer's generosity. That type of attitude is what I want to reprimand. Even though we know some things are available, though we know that some folks are giving out free gifts, let's say the government is giving out some free coupons to the needy, many people have the attitude to go take it. They become takers just because some people, or some organizations are giving it out. Don't forget the word of God which says it is more blessed to give than to receive. If you can afford the thing don't go for the free gift! Why? Let's learn from the bible.
Remember king David. In 2Samuel chapter 24, there
was pestilence in the land and God repented of the pestilence
and sent king David to go immediately and sacrifice unto the Lord
so the pestilence would stop.
"And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood."
This man was giving all his farming equipments, land and all to king David to take it freely and offer them for the sacrifice even though David said he came to buy the threshingfloor.
Lust not after gifts.
But watch David, a man who knows how to serve the Lord. No wonder God said of David "a man after God's heart".
"And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver" (2Sam.24:24).
Compare that attitude to some of those dictators and rulers in the world, they oppress and kill and steal and they forget God. How can God bless such people?
Let's learn from this attitude of king David. If you can afford something pay for it even though there is somebody who is giving it away for free. Think about it! If David had said "Ah, thanks" and had taken the threshingfloor and oxen and all for free and had used them, tell me who had sacrificed to God? David or Araunah? Araunah the Jebusite of course! it's more blessed to give than to receive. David refused to be the receiver when he can afford to pay for it.
Let's see another example in the life of Abraham.
When Abraham's wife, Sarah died, it was perhaps the first burial which was to happen since Abraham had been in the land of Canaan. Abraham needed a place for burying the dead and was ready to buy the land. Over the years he had surveyed the fields and found one which he loved to be his own final resting place. When the situation occurred, and the people of the land gathered to comfort him for his wife's death, Abraham made the appeal:
"And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,
hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.
And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a burying-place amongst you."
Now Abraham wanted to buy the field, but Ephron was ready to give it to him for free. If it were some of us, we'll take it for free, but not those who know the heart of God: it is more blessed to give than to receive.
"And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,
Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land."
What an attitude, Abraham was even buying the field with a bow, refusing to take it for free!
"And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron: and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant." (Gen.23:3-16).
Think again. If Abraham had not paid for the field, the descendants of Ephron could disallow any further burial of Abraham's children in the field. They would claim that the favor was only good for as long as Abraham was alive.
Let's learn from the attitude of these patriarchs and avoid hand-outs when we can afford it. Yea, it is more blessed to give than to receive. The Lord has not said we shouldn't receive, but we should just check our attitude to make sure we are not turning to a lover of gifts.
"Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart." (Eccl.7:7). "for the gift blindeth the wise". (Ex.23:8) "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live." (Prov. 15:27).
In Luke chapter 16 verse 10-12, the Lord said "he that is faithful in little is faithful in much". If we are not faithful in the little thing he has given into our hands, how can we expect him to give to us what he called "the true riches?"
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" (Lk.16:10-13).
The true "riches" is the power to perform wonders. The supernatural power we all desire from the Lord is the true riches. All the prophets in the bible who performed wonders did not lose that power even though they were dead. The bones of Elisha which still raised the dead was a good proof. (2Kgs.13:21). When those prophets would be seen again in paradise, the power would still show a stamp of authority on their spirit. That is the true riches: spiritually rich on earth and also rich in heaven! The power has created for them a rank in the kingdom of God.
Similarly if we want the supernatural power of God to be poured upon us, how much should he commit to you? How much should he commit to me? He looks for faithfulness in the little things we are doing: even the little things we are doing for him. If we are faithful in it, he can commit to our trust some bigger responsibility.
The way you handle the little responsibility shows how you will handle a bigger responsibility.
Remember also the parable of the talents. The servants which came back with ten talents was asked by his master to rule over ten cities. The servant with five talents was to rule over five cities. Why? Because the Lord was showing to us that man's capability can easily be extrapolated linearly. If you manage the little fund in your hand, you will be able to manage a bigger fund if committed to your hand!
Reward for faithfulness
You should ask yourself: who are going to be rulers in the kingdom of God? They are the people to whom the Lord has given little things to do right now, and they are doing them successfully. Peter, James and John and the other apostles never thought they would be in the caliber of rulers some day when those poor fishermen began to follow one Rabbi, until they realized the Rabbi was the messiah, and he promised them "ye shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel". He gave them a little responsibility here to preach the gospel. If you are faithful in that, you will be faithful in the throne.
We have to watch how we receive. We also have to watch our attitude towards responsibility. If we are at the receiving end, let's watch our attitude so that we don't lust after the gifts. I will cite some examples here. Some folks had been reported thus: this Christian brother would come to another brother and appeal for financial help telling a believable story of how broke he was, and after he was given the money, he would go abroad and boast that his faith draw out the money from the giver. How will you feel if you are the giver and later heard that this brother used his faith to draw money out of you? Whereas you felt a concern, a pity perhaps a guilt and sacrificially gave to help the brother out of his situation. I personally will feel robbed, or ripped off.
That is how some believers' generosity are being taken advantage of. Of course if you are the giver, just keep on giving, don't look back. It's the receiving brethren that this message is addressing so that they may not continually be losing the blessing of God.
Another example: One travelling minister regularly will show up as a guest of another brother or another family without notice. He will be housed, fed for weeks without giving any idea of when he will leave. Even when the host-family is groaning financially, and is sacrificially feeding this additional mouth in trying to obey the scriptures.
Someone may point to the case of Elijah with the widow woman at Sarephath. But Elijah brought a blessing of surplus to the house.
The case of this other visitor may not be far from those to whom apostle Paul wrote in Thessalonica: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ , that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; .... For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." (2Thes.3:6-12).
The scriptures said "Do unto others as you want others to do unto you". If you know you will not like some other people to be a burden unto you, make sure you are not a burden unto other people in your way. Believers will always stand with believers during crisis. But let's not make an habit of always dependent on other brethren for our supply. Learn to depend upon the Lord.
Our attitude when we are the receiver of help is what this exhortation is trying to address. So that we donot offend God to the point of not receiving the blessing which others are receiving. You may wonder why some folks are perpetual beggars while others are perpetually having enough to give to others. Maybe the beggars have taken an habit of always taking and receiving.
Contrast Between Faith or Foolishness
There is sometimes a contrast between faith and foolishness. I have heard of cases when some folks will issue a cheque for an amount which they do not have in the bank and expecting a miracle to be able to cover the amount on the cheque before it appears in the bank. If you are honestly expecting a payment from someone, like your salary, you may be justified to do that. Because you already know where the money is coming from.
The case that I refer to is when the fellow have no source in mind, only expecting a miracle. Some folks have been accused often of writing bad cheques. If you fail once, you ought to know the Lord is not into that trick and stop calling it faith. It may be leaning towards "tempting the Lord".
It is also foolishness on a believer's part if you are spending the money you are yet to earn - like buying stuff on credit and hoping to pay when you receive next salary. If it is not a necessary item like house mortgage or vehicle to move about, other things we can do without for now should not be purchased on credit in my judgment. Someone may say it's faith that one will still be employed next month, but I believe it is foolishness to spend next month's salary now. Yet that is what you are doing if you are buying anything on credit if you don't have the money now.
Don't get me wrong! I do buy things with the credit card. But only if I have the money in my possession at the time of purchase. The credit card then becomes a means for paying all my purchases in the month with one single cheque rather than with many cheques. As much as possible let's stay out of debt. The scriptures said "the borrower is servant to the lender." (Prov.22:7). These are attitudes towards life in general. We've got to learn to control ourselves, our spending and our receiving.
Even though we can borrow money to buy this or that now, knowing what the bible says, we've got to control ourselves. If we don't have to borrow, don't. Since we're the borrowers, we're the receivers. And like I said, we want to control how we receive also, even though all the bankers are running after us to give us the credit card. They are only after their own good.
Again, if I write a cheque for an amount hoping to cover the cheque with my next month's salary, I may be living above my means, which is foolishness. Christ has given us wisdom and studying the book of proverbs, we should be full of wisdom. Don't spend your next year's salary this year.
In a way that is what the governments are doing. When the government says they have trillion dollars deficit, it means the taxes they will collect next year from the citizens have already been spent. You get my point? Government can get by with it for so long, but an individual cannot and I believe the Lord wants his children to "owe no man anything". (Rom.13:8).
Another example: some brethren came over to have their babies in this country. When they came over they didn't actually planned to pay for the doctor's fee or hospital fee. They were counting on the well known fact that the indigents in this country are taken care of by the state. Even those who may have had enough money to pay their cost, didn't.
Now if we think like these brethren we might say it is okay: it's the government which pays for it. Now if we put on another cap and think like the citizens of this country: the Americans will say it is the tax-payers who are paying for these things. Who are the tax-payers? We who own houses in this state; we are paying taxes on this house, we are paying income taxes to the government; the taxes go up, we groan; the government points to the cost of such hospital expenses for some indigents.
Now thinking like Americans I will say, those folks who purposely came over to have their babies with free medical expenses are stealing from the tax-payers. Isn't it? Now, we are recently seeing it that way! But has God seen it that way all along? Do you see what I mean? Our folks had been receiving and not giving! Yet we are expecting the same blessing of the Lord upon us as he has been pouring upon the givers? Do you now see why we have to put our houses in order?
Our attitude towards life in general is essential. We should be concerned with how the Lord sees these things.
"If thou , Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared". (Psa.130:3-4).
Yea, it is more blessed to give than to receive. If the attitude of the people in the world is generally to receive free gifts, we believers ought to resist the temptation, knowing the scriptures.
A brother came to the United States many years ago and he was not let in at the airport: something was wrong with his passport. He was detained for days. I prayed and prayed that the Lord will intervene. Then the Lord spoke to me in a vision: "you seem to want me to take side here!" I thought about that for a while when I woke up. If the Lord was to take side, whose side would he be? Even though the brother said he got his passport legitimately, and the consulate office went before the immigration court to confirm that nothing was wrong with the passport, yet they refused to let him in. The brother finally asked to return home. The point is, unbelievers from the same country had tricked officers and sneaked across the border so many times and they finally took one person and were ready to treat him as a scapegoat. Whose side do you think God will take? When I heard the Lord say that to me in the dream, I stopped praying about it and asked the brother to return home. Even if we are right at this instance yet had been with the oppressors, the Lord will take sides with the oppressed always!
Our attitude as believers is important. Do unto others as you want others to do unto you.
Even in simple things like tax return. It is very common for people to cheat the government deducting things which they know could not be deducted. The Lord began to move upon me last year to consider those things seriously. "Let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our father which is in heaven." I have to become my own judge, with the help of the Spirit of the Lord in me. If I wanted to deduct an expense, the Lord said, No, you cannot deduct that. If I said, How will IRS know? He said: But the Lord knows! I have to decide who I am serving! Apostle Paul said "For we serve the Lord Christ".
"If you are unfaithful in the little thing, who is going to commit to your trust the true riches?"
Now we are no more dealing with IRS! We are no more dealing with that brother or that sister. We are no more dealing with the man we gave a cheque, who doesn't know whether we are going to have money by next paycheck or not! We are dealing with the Almighty God, whose word we want to obey.
Someone said there are too many rules in this society. Do you know that heaven where we are going, there are rules there? We must be humble to submit to rules in the land.
As an example, there was an unction on my spirit to take my kids to go fishing in the lake during the memorial holiday not realizing that the Lord wanted to teach me a lesson in line with what I am saying here about our attitude in life generally. I went to buy a can of baits for the trip. As I was about to leave the shop, the Lord reminded me of fishing license. I said, "Lord I bought license three years ago, and I didn't catch any fish. Twelve dollar license, plus two dollars for baits. I may not catch any fish worth that much." The Lord said "but it's the law". I said, "okay Lord". I went back into the store and bought license. We went to the lake and caught some little fishes not worth much. A worst thing happened: we were cited by the park rangers for parking in the wrong places at the lake, and that would cost another fifty dollars fine. I was sad that day. Like many folks who received the parking ticket, I was tempted to throw away the citation, but the Lord said "It's only money. Just pay it!" Human nature in me was adding up all the loss of that trip as not worth the amount of fish I caught. But in obedience to the voice of the Lord and the scriptures, I paid up the fifty dollars. "Owe no man anything!"
The Lord was showing to me that we must follow the rules. Let's cultivate such attitude towards things of this life.
There are rules in heaven where we are going.
I said to myself, there are just too many rules in this society. Then the Lord reminded me of a visitation to heaven and the experience I heard that the guardian angels follow strict rules. When it is time to take you out of a scene they will, instantly. They will not speak unless they receive instruction from above to say something. There are rules in heaven. (Rom.13:1-8).
We believers therefore are expected to have the law inside us, so that we should be able to find good laws quite comfortable with us anywhere. For He said "I will write my law into their hearts". As Christians, the rules should be part of us.
In summary, we are admonished to guard our attitude towards life generally, in our buying and selling, and in our goings and comings.
We are dealing with the Almighty God and we are not dealing with one another. The Lord's coming is so short, it is time to have our light so shine before men that our father may be pleased with us.
If we are unfaithful in the things of this life it is dangerous. The Lord said, who is going to commit to you the true riches?
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.
Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any manner: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." (1Thes.4:3-7).
Meditate on these things and may the Lord bless you.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry
(From a recorded sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi, Night
If you are blessed by this exhortation, write and let us know. As the Lord has said "To him that have shall more be given".