What does the word "adventure" mean to you?
Is it shooting the rapids on a hot summer day...
Or speeding around a rave track at two hundred miles per hour...
Or climbing a sheer cliff in the Alps...
Or trekking through a wilderness on safari?
Permit me to share with you one of the most exciting adventures you can experience -- the adventure of giving by faith.
Most people don't relate adventure to the act of giving. In the following pages, I want to show you how to turn your giving into a thrilling personal adventure. But first, let me tell you about Deborah, just one of God's children who has made this wonderful discovery.
Not long after her arrival back in the United States for her scheduled home leave from overseas missionary work, she learned that one of her neighbor's sons had been seriously injured. The family had no insurance and was suffering financially as well as physically.
Concerned about their urgent need, Deborah went into her bedroom to pray. "Lord," she asked, "what would You have me do?" She sensed a nudge from the Lord to give her neighbors some money. Checking her bank account, she realized that her bank balance was a mere $200.
"Lord, how about $25?" she prayed. With $175 left over, she thought she could survive the rest of the month. Quietly waiting on the Lord, however, she felt the Lord say, "No, I want you to give $100."
"I choked a bit," she says. "That was half of what I had. As I continued to question the Lord, I had no peace about anything less than $100."
Finally, she wrote out a check , breathing a prayer. "Lord, I've done what You said, so You'll have to take care of my needs."
With a sense of joy and expectancy, Deborah took the check across the street. By this act of sharing, she greatly encouraged the family, and God blessed her abundantly. Two days later a check for $100 came in the mail. Three days later a woman dropped by her home with a check for $200.
"Within five days of writing my check, I received from unexpected sources a total of $500," Deborah says. "I stood in awe of God and His ways."
Like Deborah and many other Christians who have learned to obey God's principles of stewardship, you can know and experience this wonderful adventure of giving by faith.
As with any adventure, we must prepare for our journey. In the next few pages, I want to share how you can equip yourself for your adventure. I urge you to read this booklet prayerfully and carefully, underlining significant points and making notes in the margins for quick, easy reference. Then pass these principles on to your spouse, a close friend, and other Christians whom you know, especially to those whom you are discipling.
To start on your adventure, you first must understand the meaning and importance of stewardship.
In the New Testament, two different words describe a steward. One emphasizes guardianship over children and the administration of a master's household. The other stresses the role of a manager over property. In either case, a steward oversees the affairs and property of another person.
One cannot overemphasize the importance of stewardship. Stewardship over all that God entrusts to us in life is foundational to giving. All that we have, we enjoy because of God's grace and goodness. He has put into our hands the administration of all that He owns. As your preeminent master, He holds you accountable for how well you manage what He has entrusted to your care.
This divine perspective helps us understand much of our purpose for living as Christians. We are here to glorify God thorough the wise investment of our time, our talents, and our treasure. Our Lord came to seek and to save the lost. He has commanded us to continue His mission by helping to fulfill the Great Commission in our generation.
My goal is to help you fulfill God's purpose of your life by showing you the biblical way to invest wisely in God's kingdom and thereby increase your fruitfulness for Christ.
Faithfulness is another quality that will equip you for your adventure in giving. The apostle Paul says, "It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." Faithfulness is dependability -- a steady, day-by-day obedience to God in what He has given you to do.
A trustworthy steward will evaluate his opportunities and invest what God has given him in such a way that it will produce the best possible results.
The attitude of a steward is vital. Paul admonishes, "Let everyone give as his heart tells him, neither grudgingly nor under compulsion, for God loves the man whose heart is in his gift." Or as the Living Bible renders it, "Cheerful givers are the ones God prizes."
The Greek word translated "cheerful" is hilaros, from which we get the word "Hilarious." Supernatural, Holy Spirit-directed stewardship is giving with expectation, excitement, joy, praise -- even laughter. Indeed, God prizes "hilarious givers" because they are the ones who have discovered the exciting adventure of giving.
One of the major responsibilities -- and privileges -- of a fruitful steward is to share the life--changing message of God's love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Our Lord has given to every Christian the command to "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere" and to "make disciples in all the nations." This command, which the church has historically called the Great Commission, is the privilege and duty of every man and woman in every generation who confesses Christ as Savior and Lord.
If you and I and Christians everywhere will simply obey our Lord's call to the stewardship of our time, talents and treasure, we will release not only vast sums of money to advance His kingdom, but all other resources needed to reach billions of people for Christ and, thus help fulfill the Great Commission in this generation.
Matthew 6:21 records perhaps the simplest truth about your commitment:
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
One can determine much about a Christian's spiritual life and how faithfully he fulfills his stewardship responsibilities by what he treasures. Your use of time, talent and money clearly shows your spiritual commitment because you invest in what your heart values most.
Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Experience the Joy of Giving, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.
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