I’m something of a student of human behavior, and I’ve come to some conclusions about how most people in the world relate to God and his gifts. With regard to those who do make some kind of attempt to serve God, I’ve observed that there are basically three kinds of believers in this world.
1. Earthly-minded Believers
The first category of people I’ve identified is a large one, perhaps because it requires the least thought. These believers accept what God has given them and use their resources for their own comfort, pleasure, and personal gratification. The Earthly-minded Believer sees money the way nearly everyone else does. He wants to keep as much of it as possible, and use it for his own personal enjoyment of life. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the financial fruits of our labor. God wants us to do so. The important question is this: Are you spending completely on things that pass away like a vapor—or are you investing significantly in the things of God, which do not?
2. Christian Philanthropists
The next category of believers is one that gives more attention to giving. These are believers who have come to the conviction that God has blessed them, and they should give back a portion of what they’ve received to help support ministry and missions. For them, this is somewhat of a duty, an obligation to fulfill, like paying taxes. There’s an “oughtness” that guides them. They write a check or volunteer in some way, but there is no joy or purpose in it.
Perhaps it’s the way they were taught by their parents. Perhaps it is motivated by the sense of duty so that the church can fund some project overseas, or pay its budget, or provide some program. Perhaps it’s giving out of guilt. The important distinction is that it is “doing what I have to.” As a result, it’s not something particularly pleasant or enjoyable.
3. Kingdom Investors
There is one other kind of Christian giver and, as you might predict, this one is harder to find among us. The Kingdom Investors are people who grow in Christ, who dig deeply into his Word, and who come to see their resources in a brand new way. Kingdom Investors see all that they have and all that they own as their sacred trust, theirs to use strategically for the advancement of Christ and his eternal purposes. Their time, talent and treasure is no longer an end in itself, but a medium, a palette to be used in the beautiful art of serving God.
Who are these people? You’ll find them across the spectrum. The Kingdom Investors deploy whatever time, talent, and treasure they have available, and it’s a pleasing truth that while not everyone can invest great sums of financial wealth, everyone can give their time and their personal talents. These are all things that God has given so that we might find the unique joy of giving them back.
How are you using your resources?