"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:33-36
Do you ever just stop and think about how incomprehensible God really is to man? These verses this morning are just that reminder to me. Who can really and truly know God? And then when you really think about the enormity of every facet of God, it kind of makes yourself seem really, really insignificant.
And yet God created you, and He created me. *Smile.*
As I read that first verse, and it mentions the depth of wisdom and knowledge of God. Think about all those people you may have ever heard speak, or that you read their books, that you would consider to be wise people. There definitely are people on the planet who are wise, and full of knowledge. There are many preachers and ministers who are just blessed by God to be knowledgeable and wise. And yet these people are like a drop in a very large bucket- even if you combined all their wisdom and knowledge together, it would be incomparable to the wisdom and knowledge that God has.
Who has known the mind of God? Well, each one of us has the opportunity to at least try to get to know the mind of God. That would be the purpose of our quiet time with Him. When we spend time in our Bible, we are spending time reading God's Book, and seeing what knowledge we can take away from it. But it's really in those quiet moments where God may reveal some mystery to us- a revelation that can only come from Him.
It's verse 35 though that really made me think this morning. Who has given to God that God should repay him? This just made me think of all those people who have issues with giving to the church today. Over the years I've heard so many different arguments about why people shouldn't give so much, or why certain forms of giving (like tithing) are obsolete. But the fact is, giving really comes down to one simple word. Obedience. Giving is all about obedience. Think about this. As we're reading these verses about the enormity of God, it's understood that God can and will do whatever He desires. (If He desired, He could reach down and squash me like a bug right now!) So when you think of that, do you really think that God needs our money? Ever? Do you really honestly think that God NEEDS any of us to give money? He's God! He doesn't need our money at all- but when the time comes to give. When the offering basket goes by, God wants to see where your heart is, so He gives you the opportunity to give.
Where are our hearts? Do we give sparingly, because our hearts are with the importance of building a savings account? Or do we give generously, because we understand the Biblical truth that God will provide for ALL our needs. The fact is, we don't really NEED money either. The unfortunate reality is that the world has us all swindled- the world has us believing that with money we will find happiness, that money will give us security and will solve all our problems. Probably the hardest lesson for anyone to learn is the lesson that loosens the hold on the checkbook. When the time comes to give, do we just skim off the top? Do we pass along that twenty dollar bill, because, really, it's just twenty bucks. We could use it, sure, but it's big enough that we can give ourselves a small pat on the back, yet it's small enough that in the grand scheme of things, we won't miss it. OR do we empty our wallet at every opportunity we have?
God wants to know where our hearts are! Are our hearts still in love with money? That we need to save, save, save. Or are our hearts in love with God, and when He presents an opportunity to give, we give everything we can, knowing that the God we love, who loves us in return, will take care of meeting our needs.
I know we still have a long way to go in the arena of giving. We've had our moments, but every once in a while the practicality creeps back in, and we forget that with God, all things are truly possible. God has never let us down. And I, of course, have an example for you of how we gave, and God gave back to us.
I have no idea how this turned into a money discussion today. But here it is anyhow. :)
Last fall, October, specifically, we had a conference that we attended where one of the speakers was someone we were quite familiar with. In fact, we've given specifically to his ministry before, and we find ourselves often thinking of him and praying for the success of his ministry. God has just placed him on our hearts. Anyway, last fall, we had an opportunity to give to this man's ministry again. The thing was, this was a specific donation. He was in need of the finances to finish renovating a building he'd purchased for his ministry. Oh, as soon as we heard this we wanted to give! But this was the end of October, and Andy had already been off work for several weeks and finances were extremely tight. Beyond tight, actually. But we really felt like we needed to sow into this man's ministry. And yet, it was much more than that.
What I really felt in my heart was that by giving to this man's ministry on this particular day, we were actually giving into this man's home for his ministry. Interestingly enough, we were also finding ourselves in need of a new home. This just seemed like one of those times, where we felt that if we could dig deep and give to the home of this ministry, that God would see that, and He would remember us when the time came that we needed a new home. So we gave. And as we gave, we prayed that God would multiply the small gift we could do- and that He would make our widows mite seem a grand amount when it came to supplying needs for this ministry. Seven months later, God honored our gift by providing us with a wonderful new home.
Now, could we really afford what we gave back in October? No. On paper, we certainly couldn't afford to be giving anything. And yet, as different needs came up through the winter, God took care of those needs. We had food, clothing, shelter and our basic needs were met time and time again. Had we trusted the checkbook that told us we couldn't give, who knows if we would be in this house today. I shudder to think of that.
God loves His children! Every single one, but He wants to know that we love Him more than we love money. He wants to know that we love and honor Him more than that financial program that tells us to save. He wants to know that we love Him and will obey Him.
God gets the glory forever! And He gets the glory for everything that happens in our lives. I love it when people ask us how we're settling into our new home, because it was home before we moved in! God blessed this house before we even arrived, and we've never had to settle. It's just been home. And it's a home of peace and tranquility and joy- and that's all because of HIM! It's nothing we did to deserve it, we definitely don't deserve it. But God remembered us, and He remembered when we gave into another man's home, and when the time came, God was able to really bless us, because we had obeyed so long ago.
God really doesn't NEED anything from us. But what He wants is our hearts. He wants fellowship and companionship with us. God is God- He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, except for one thing. He can't make us choose Him. That comes from our own free will, and that's what He ultimately wants from us. He wants us to choose God first, above all else, because everything else, compared to God, is nothing. If God really wanted us to have a million dollars, He's God. He could literally just drop it in our bank accounts, and that would be that. God can do whatever He wants! I think one of the problems we really have today as people is that we don't remember that. We think that God is bound by the same laws of earth and physics that we are. God knows no boundaries- He is God! He created the idea of boundaries!
God is just so great, and His goodness is fresh and new with every day that I wake. Every day begins anew, with a new opportunity to see what He has in store for us, and new opportunities to share that goodness with everyone we cross paths with.