“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
Ken Boa is a pastor and founder of Reflections Ministries. Russ Crosson is executive vice president and chief mission officer of Ronald Blue Trust.
This is the second of our interviews about a book they co-authored, titled Leverage: Using Temporal Wealth for Eternal Gain.
WHAT IS BIBLICAL LEVERAGE AND IS GIVING TO CHURCH AND MINISTRIES CONSIDERED BIBLICAL LEVERAGE?
(Biblical leverage is the concept of using one's financial resources in ways that align with God's will, rather than accumulating wealth for its own sake.)
- It's about seeking guidance from the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to determine how much to give and where to give.
- The act of giving is a way to counteract the idolatry of money and wealth, avoiding the search for security and significance in financial accumulation.
- Biblical leverage involves sacrificial giving that transcends mere monetary value and reflects a faithful trust in God's provision.
HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS DECIDE HOW MUCH TO GIVE?
- In the New Testament, the principle of giving is focused on cheerfulness and proportionality, not a mandated amount.
- The more one has, the greater the challenge to give proportionally and the greater the potential impact of their generosity.
- Sacrificial giving for the wealthy may involve forgoing personal luxuries to contribute more significantly, acting as a test of faith.
WHAT DOES SACRIFICIAL GIVING LOOK LIKE FOR THOSE WITH SIGNIFICANT WEALTH?
(Sacrificial giving for the wealthy is characterized by a deliberate choice to give up something valuable or desired for the sake of contributing to God's work.)
- Even if the wealthy can easily afford their desires, choosing not to indulge in something and giving instead can be a form of sacrifice.
- The faith aspect comes into play when one decides to do without something they normally would do and contributes that resource instead.
- This act of giving serves as a faith test and an opportunity to grow one’s faith through the conscious act of generosity.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT SACRIFICIAL GIVING ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE?
- Scripture invites us to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal, and the unseen rather than the visible.
- The challenge lies in whether wealth or God's Word defines us, our security, and our significance.
- The Bible instructs those with wealth to not be conceited or to place their hope in wealth but in God, referencing 1 Timothy 6:17-19: "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches but in God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy."
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN DECISION-MAKING ABOUT GIVING?
- The Holy Spirit should guide our decisions about where and how much to give, involving a more radical and deep approach than we might imagine on our own.
- This guidance is part of a relationship with the Holy Spirit, who is not just a force but a person who illuminates God's Word.
- A wise person applies scripture to their life, such as 1 Timothy 6:17-19, and actively chooses to be generous, setting aside wealth for eternal benefit.
- Comparatively, the Bible contrasts the wise with the 'fool' who is not rich towards God, referring to the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12.
WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO GIVING AND HOW DOES ACCOUNTABILITY FIT INTO STEWARDSHIP?
- Giving can be hindered by financial, spiritual, relational, or visionary barriers, and accountability is crucial to overcome these.
- Having someone to challenge and ask hard questions is important since God promises to meet our needs, as mentioned in Philippians, enabling us to be generous.
WHAT DEFINES GOOD STEWARDSHIP?
- Good stewardship is applying biblical principles to life and welcoming accountability, preparing to give an account of our stewardship to God.
- Since we will all account for our actions before God individually, it’s crucial to have others who can speak into our lives and help us aim for the affirmation of a job well done by God.
HOW DOES THIS DISCUSSION REVEAL THE FALSEHOOD OF THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL?
- The prosperity gospel wrongly applies Old Testament promises made to a theocratic Israel to New Testament believers, suggesting a direct correlation between righteousness and financial prosperity.
- True New Testament teaching focuses on the fruit of the Spirit rather than material wealth and encourages us to leverage temporal possessions for eternal impact.
WHAT IS ‘REVERSE COMPOUNDING?’
- Reverse compounding refers to the idea that delaying generosity reduces the potential eternal impact of our giving, as our time to influence God’s Kingdom is limited.
- It emphasizes the urgency of starting to give generously now rather than waiting, as our actions on earth have eternal significance.
WHAT PRIVILEGE DOES GIVING OFFER TO BELIEVERS?
- Giving is a privilege that allows us to participate in God’s work, requiring us to choose gratitude and contentment, which are perspectives rather than emotions.
- By focusing on eternal truths over temporal wealth, we can leverage the latter for God's kingdom, living out Jesus' teaching from Luke 16:9: "Make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings."
Ken Boa and Russ Crosson have been our guests today. They’re authors of Leverage: Using Temporal Wealth for Eternal Gain.
On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- How can I start fresh financially after a divorce, with $100,000 in debt, a paid-off house, and a retirement account to be split?
- Unsure about taking on a mortgage to buy out my ex-husband's share of the house and how to manage our debt and retirement funds post-divorce.
- As a special education teacher, I'm torn about how to handle my $50,000 401(k) and future retirement planning given that my husband has a government pension.
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Faith & Finance is also available on the Moody Radio Network as well as American Family Radio. Visit our website at FaithFi.comwhere you can join the FaithFi Community, and give as we expand our outreach.