|Rev. Timothy Stahlman, Contributing Writer|
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. -- God greatly desires to increase His people. When I say increase I am not speaking of only finances.
Jesus said in John 10:10,
“… I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might become rich.”
The word “rich” in this verse means “well supplied” in every aspect of life. The truth is that our Heavenly Father delights in the prospering of His people. (Psalm 35:27)
There are some interesting ideas concerning increase in the Body of Christ today. One extreme doctrine tells people that God wants them poor and broken down in life in order for humility to have her way. There is just one problem: A poor depressed life is not equivalent to humility. I know plenty of people who are poor in joy, peace, patience, and money who still lack humility.
Have we forgotten our beloved Psalm 23?
“The Lord is my shepherd, I SHALL NOT LACK…”
God never intended His people to lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10) God is our provider.
Another perverted doctrine in the Church today is that money equals Godliness. That is not true either. If money equaled Godliness then Hollywood would be the New Jerusalem. Obviously Hollywood is mostly a Godless community. So where is the balance and how do we fulfill God’s desire to prosper our lives?
If you watch Christian TV at all you would probably think that the first step to Godly increase would be to give away a large amount of money called a “seed.” Yes it is true that generosity is part of the increase of God and yes money is described as a seed in the Bible. However, isn’t it true that the ground has to be prepared before you plant seeds? The Bible tells us what the “ground” is.
In Matthew 13:19 Jesus is explaining the parable of the planter. He describes the Word of God as a seed and the heart of the hearer as the ground. What is the ground? Your heart!
Just because you have seed does not mean you have a garden. You first must have the proper soil tilled and prepared to receive seed. The same is true with our heart.
If you love money then increase in all areas of life will not come to you. (1 Tim 6:10) Why? Because good ground is not selfish. 1 Timothy 6:6 says,
“Godliness with contentment is great gain (increase).”
True contentment is only possible when you have obeyed God to the fullest. Notice what comes next: Increase.
The people who love money the most will have the most sorrow but the people that value God over money will be increased. (Prov 10:22)