Do you long to feel close to God?
I mean, you know He loves you, but you're missing that emotional connection, that sense of His presence, and you don't know how to break out of it. Well, I'm going to share today a practice, a spiritual practice that God has designed to unlock your heart to create that intimacy or emotional connection with Him. So stay with me.
You're not going to want to miss it. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry featuring the daily Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. And in just a minute, he's going to continue our series, The Genius of Generosity, by walking through a simple yet profound strategy that can deepen our walks with God. And be sure to listen in after this message as Chip asks three critical questions to help us make that happen.
So stick around for that. If you have a Bible, turn now to Luke chapter 16, as we join Chip for the second half of his talk, The Principle with Secret Power. And so here's the question for believers, for followers of Christ. Can God trust you? Can He trust you with a big opportunity? Could God trust you with more financial resources? Could God trust you with a great friend that's going to be loyal to you? Could God, when He looks at your life and your character, could He trust you with a spouse right now? Or would He know, you know what? The way you treat people now, I'm not going to give a spouse in your life.
You just produce pain in that person's life. Well, when all this issue of stewardship and trust came up, Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders. And unfortunately, the religious leaders in that day have exactly the same problem as a lot of religious leaders in our day. They loved money.
They were warped. If you open your Bibles, turn to Luke chapter 16, and Jesus is going to give a corrective about money and about stewardship. And He's talking to the religious leaders and the disciples are there. And the religious leaders at the time, they had this false formula. It's actually been picked up by the prosperity gospel in our day. That, you know, if God really loves you, He blesses you with material things. And the more righteous you are, the more material things.
And it's a give to get mentality. Well, the Pharisees wanted to appear very righteous. And so they were very, very greedy. Jesus described them as Philogoria, lovers of money. And they would, I mean, they would tithe. Oh man, they would do, they followed all the rules, but they would actually even change some of the rules and the traditions to get more money for themselves.
So they felt like the more wealthy they could be, it would indicate that they must be righteous and experience God's blessing. And Jesus is going to just cut through and here's what He's going to ask and answer. Write in your notes where it says, can God trust you? You might write this question. And this question is how do you become a wise steward?
I mean, isn't that the $64 question? How do you become a wise steward? How do you become the kind of man or woman or student that God could look into your heart? Cause that's where He looks and say, I can trust you with more time. I can trust you with more opportunity. I can trust you with more money. I could trust you with more leadership position.
I could trust you with the souls of a handful of people. You'll be faithful. And what you're going to learn is in Luke 16, He's going to take the good example of a bad person to teach a timeless lesson. Here's the setting, correction to the Pharisees and instruction of his disciples concerning wealth.
And here's the story. We pick up the story, Luke 16 verses one and two, a mismanagement occurs and the steward or the manager is going to get fired. Now, and I was also saying to the disciples, there was a rich man who had a manager and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him in and he said to him, what is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management for you can no longer be my manager.
So as you're following along in your Bible, your iPad or mobile device, whatever you're using, you know, just understand this is a guy who was given oversight like Joseph and he was squandering it. He wasn't a good manager and he's going to get fired. Now, the second thing that's going to happen, he's going to say, so what are my options? He's going to come up with two options, decide neither of those are very good.
And then he comes up with a very creative third option, picking it up in verse three. The manager said to himself, what shall I do since my master is taking my management away from me? Option number one, I'm not strong enough to dig. In other words, I can't do just labor. I'm ashamed to beg. Option number two can't do that one.
I know what I shall do so that when I am removed from the management, people will welcome me into their homes. And he summoned each one of his master's debtors and he began saying to the first, how much do you owe my master? And he said, 100 measures of oil. And he said to him, take your bill, sit down quickly and write 50. Then he said to another, how much do you owe?
And he said, 100 measures a week. And he said to him, take your bill, write in 80. And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he acted shrewdly. For the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the children of light. And then he makes an application. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of wealth of unrighteousness so that when it fails, they will receive you into eternal dwellings.
The commendation is not that he's a crook. Here's the spiritual principle. I put it in a box so that we wouldn't miss it because this passage has been often very poorly interpreted. The dishonest manager used his present temporal opportunity, his stewardship with a view of receiving future reward. This made good business sense and according to Jesus, it makes good spiritual sense. So what Jesus is saying is, here's someone who realized I'm only going to have this job for a little bit more time. So I'm going to do in this limited time something that will allow me once I get fired to have these guys. His boss apparently was in commodities, olive oil and wheat. And he says, then they'll be indebted to me.
And I can say, hey guys, you know, I need some money or I need a place to live. Remember what I did for you? In fact, if you don't remember, I could maybe let my master know what you did. And so he's just operating. He's shrewd. He's saying, I'm going to take this little window of time and set myself up for the future. And Jesus' application is if you could understand eternity and you could understand that this tiny little dot called time and inside that tiny dot is a microscopic little dot of your life that's maybe 70 to 90 years max. He said, you want to take this present temporal little opportunity and the wealth that God gives you and what you want to do is you want to leverage that so that after you die and there's a real heaven and there is a real hell and there is a real thing called rewards that you will be like John Saville, who right now I'm sure has hundreds if not thousands of people saying, John, I was that teenage girl and I met that chip guy and you know, he wrote that check. I didn't know you're the one who did it. Thank you.
I wouldn't be here except for you. That's what Jesus is saying. He's saying, use this temporal management opportunity to invest wisely. Now, notice what he goes on and says however, the teaching is faithfulness with material wealth is the prerequisite to being trusted with spiritual wealth and rewards. Notice the axiom, verse 10, he was faithful in a very little thing is faithful also and much. Now that's true of finances, but that's also that's an axiom. That's a timeless principle. He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also and much.
That's what people who look into the lives of stewards. If you're faithful in this, God entrust you with more. You're faithful in that, he'll entrust you with more and whether it's money or whether it's time or whether it's your gifts, whether it's your talents, but he was unfaithful in a very little thing will be unfaithful and much. Therefore, if you've not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust you with true riches? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters for who you will hate the one and love the other or else will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and wealth. Now, notice the commentary to the group. Now, the Pharisees were lovers of money and they were listening to all these things and they were scoffing at him or literally they were sneering.
He's talking about, see, they've got this religious pretense like I had, 30%. I wasn't generous. I thought I owned that car. I thought I owned my gifts. I thought I owned my future.
I thought I owned my dreams. I thought I was in control and I'm going to figure out a little way to use the religious system that I was understanding to promote me. And God didn't want to take away a car. God wanted to take away an idol. And the only way God gets a hold of the idols in our life often is he asks you to surrender them.
The only way you know whether it's really his or not is he taps you on the shoulder and says, you know something? I want you to give that away. Or I want you to relocate. Or I'll tell you what, I want you to cross a boundary and invite that neighbor and I want you to love him.
Or I want you to take a risk over here. Your time isn't your own. It's not your reputation. It's my reputation.
You're my child. And he says here, they were scoffing. And then this last line, this is a verse I memorized that some of you, if you have a little chip Ingram in you, you might want to jot down. This is what Jesus said to those of us that tend to have that bent toward legalism, that bent toward performance. And he said to them, you are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men but God knows your heart. For that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
I wrote that on a card, memorized that and reviewed it for years and years and years and just kept asking God for that which is highly esteemed among men. Let me ask you, what's highly esteemed among men? What's your drive? What's your zip code number is? What's your portfolio?
How many zeros? How many letters behind your name? Who you know? Drop a name here and there. How you look? How you appear? Your body.
Right? That which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. Now, when God gives you nice things, when he entrusts you with position and power and wealth and opportunity and if he gives you a wonderful and nice body and you're on a good diet and all those and when as a steward you're thinking, oh God, thank you, I can't believe how generous you've been and by the way, I just want you to know, any time, any way you want to use any of this, I just, it's in your hands. See, those kind of people, you know what God does? He just keeps pouring more in. He keeps pouring more in because he's like one of those venture capitalists. You know, we invested some money with that group and they made us a hundred million dollars.
They're coming back. What do you think we ought to do? I think we should invest some more. Next time out, they'd win us a billion dollars. Well, they got another great idea.
What should we do? I think we'll invest some more. What Jesus is saying is if you could understand that there isn't scarcity, that God owns everything and that true spiritual wealth is not about money or things but it's about relationships but the symptom, the symptom that tells you where you're at in relationship to God and how much you trust him is your money. There's a young man that I was spending some time with in Atlanta and just gifted, he was an artist and a photographer and just had all these dreams and wanted to start this ministry and he was trying this and trying that and he did an art exhibit and got with other artists in Atlanta area and everything he tried, it was just like there was no air in the balloon, just failure, flat, flat and I met with a guy and he had a heart for God and he was gifted and the stuff was amazing and I just, it was one of those times where you just thought, you know, it's like playing basketball with a guy that has a 40 inch vertical and he can't dunk and he goes, there's something wrong here and so I went to Starbucks one day and I said, hey Josh, let's, because he said, what's wrong? Why is God not blessing this and I said, you know, I don't know but I read through Luke 16 with him out loud and I said, I don't know and I don't want to mess with your interior life.
I don't know you all that well but just let me ask you, what, like where are you at in your finances? You know, the story comes out, he really hadn't worked full time anywhere for two and a half, three years, was living off credit cards, had amazing amounts of debt, wasn't giving a dime to God in any way and I said, Josh, do you think it would be wise for God to entrust a ministry to you and people's lives to you and maybe even give you a position of credibility to tell people about Christ when actually you haven't even been faithful with the little thing, money and you know, he's got a plan to get out of debt and you know, it was just an amazing story to watch him turn things around. But see, the test, there's two tests, we'll talk more about these things a little bit later but just, you know, here's two financial tests that are just crystal clear that can let us know if our priorities, if in fact God really were trustworthy. Test number one is generous stewards give the first and the best to God. There's an Old Testament passage here and it's all through the New Testament, it says, honor the Lord with all your wealth and with the first portion of your produce or your crops. So he says, you know, the first fruits would be like the harvest comes in or the grapes just come off the vine, you take the best and the first and you bring it to the temple and you say, I'm not sure how many grapes are coming, I don't know how big the harvest is gonna be, I don't know if it's gonna be a tenfold or a twentyfold or a thirtyfold, I don't know. But God, I want you to know the very first and the very best is yours and you are the one that's responsible and I'm a steward. You give your first and your best to God.
And then what's the second half of that say? Honor the Lord with all your wealth and the first fruits of your produce or your crops. Then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will burst forth with new wine.
See, there's no scarcity. When God sees us, trust him like that, he says, hey, the blessing of my hand will be upon you. But you know, there's this faith thing, isn't it? See, when you're not sure how much harvest is coming in, giving the first and the best is a little risky unless God is really real. The second test is that generous stewards give regularly and systematically. Apostle Paul would write to the church, it says on the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money. Notice how much.
What's it say? In keeping with his income. It means rather than looking at just a percentage as, hmm, I've given that, I'm okay. I mean, I've had somehow God's linked me with some people that have been extraordinarily wealthy and very blessed and I know one friend and you know, he's just so smart and so gifted and really loves God and yet he kind of has this attitude that, and I mean, he's worth, well he's got one piece of property that's worth $10 million. It's just an empty lot.
I won't tell you where it is. And he's got about four different houses. And as we talk, it's like, oh yeah, I want to be faithful to God and you know, whatever God brings in, I give the first 10%. And it's like, hey, you know, like I wrote the bill.
So that's it, right? And I'm thinking, oh man, you, you really don't get it at all. It doesn't, it says, let each on the first day of the week set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income. Those that have a lot give a lot. Those that have a little just can give a little saving it up so that when I come, they'll, the collections won't have to be made.
And Paul's saying, I'm coming. You agreed to help the poor there. And the Gentile church is going to help.
There's a famine. And I just want you to know no manipulation. Boy, the new Testament, when you feel pressured by people or you hear people making this outrageous promises, you know, on the radio, if you give this and God's going to do this, just forget all that stuff. The Bible's really clear. It's an issue of the heart. He says, I want you to get before God.
I want you to decide in advance. I want it to be proportional to what God has given you so that when I come, there's no pressure, there's no manipulation. It's an act of worship. Because see at the end of the day, the Lord really just is wanting to increase the size of your heart and your faith that he's trustworthy. And he has a plan for you and he wants you to know if you'll be faithful in little things, I have lots of money.
I have lots of time. I have all these positions and opportunities that I'd like to put my children of light into, but some of them, I can't put them in those because the position and the opportunity would increase their wealth and their power and they would just become proud and they would disgrace my name and they would ruin the situation. And so until you can be faithful in the little thing, the little responsibility, and the little thing starts with money, but it's just the training wheels. And then it's relationships and then it's integrity. And when we're faithful in little things, he gives more and more and more and more.
Well, on the very back, there's three questions that I guess what I'd say is if there's someone safe, it might be your mate, it might be one of your best friends, it might be your small group, but I would encourage you to ask those three questions out loud. It's what wise stewards ask. Am I spending the owner, which is God's money in a way that he wishes, am I keeping track of the owner's money? If I give 30%, I'm still responsible for the 70%. He owns it all, right?
And am I becoming best friends with the owner? If giving is like I was, where I got that done, I'm so glad, it's an obligation, you may give, but you're missing what it means to be generous. What is it that God wants to do in your life to entrust to you so that you could experience the joy and the genius of generosity? Chip will be right back with his application for this message, The Principle with Secret Power, from his series, The Genius of Generosity. In this insightful teaching, Chip helps us understand that being generous is more than making thoughtful financial decisions.
It's following a completely different lifestyle, and if we do that, we'll dramatically improve our relationships with God and others. Stay with us as we learn some simple practices to be both wise in our giving and generous in how we live our lives. To get more plugged in with this series and our resources, visit livingontheedge.org.
That's livingontheedge.org. Well, I'm joined in studio now by Chip, and Chip, we've heard you talk a lot about what Living on the Edge is doing now and what we hope to do in the future. But through all of that, there's one issue that continues to pop up that really tugs at your heart. So why don't you just take a few minutes right now and share what that is?
Thanks, Dave. I have lots of dreams and passions, and I'm excited about a lot of things that God is allowing us at Living on the Edge to do. But I have to tell you, my greatest concern is the next generation. You know, Therese and I, we've got twelve grandchildren, four grown kids, and I've watched how the world's changed. I see my grandkids bombarded by social media and lies and gender fluidity and just things that break my heart, and I watch them.
Their parents are working hard to help them swim upstream. My greatest concern is that we help the next generation. And what I know is that has to begin with helping pastors.
Seven out of eight children and youth pastors, according to a recent study by Barna, said they don't have a biblical worldview. We need to help those many young people that are really on fire for Christ be empowered to share with their friends. And I think maybe more than anything else, we have to help parents.
It is so hard to be a parent. And so creating new resources and helping them navigate the challenges right now, that is so deep on my heart. And so in 2023, we're rolling out a division to do something to really help the next generation.
For us, it means an investment in staff, in technology, in doing things we've never done before, in partnering with people who do it at the highest level. And what I would say is, if you care about your kids and your grandkids, would you partner with us in December? And every gift that you give up to December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar. Thank you for praying and giving whatever God leads you to. Go to livingontheedge.org and please make a gift today. And as Chip said, your support will help us create tools and resources for parents, grandparents, and pastors to effectively disciple this next generation. Now, if that's something you are passionate about, visit livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003 to make a gift. And right now, every dollar we receive will be matched dollar for dollar up until December 31st.
That number again is 888-333-6003 or go to livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate. Well, with that, here again is Chip to share a few final thoughts from this program. As I close today's teaching time, I ask three specific questions that wise stewards regularly ask, and I want to ask you them right now. I mean, wherever you're at, I want you to just kind of lean back and say, okay, how would I answer these? Question number one, are you using the money entrusted to you according to the owner's wishes?
God. I mean, if you looked at all your finances, would you say, yeah, I really am? Or would you say, well, not really? Question number two, are you carefully keeping account of all the owner's funds? Where are they going? I mean, do you know where your money's going? Do you know what you spend each month? Do you know what's in separate accounts? Do you know how much debt that you have? Yes or no?
I mean, you would be shocked, and maybe you wouldn't, at the number of people that it's just kind of painful, and so you live in this gray zone. You need to know your financial condition. The third thing is, are you becoming best friends with the owner by the privilege of using his money entrusted to you wisely? Generosity is more than just about how much you give. It's about why you give, and generosity is more than just about giving.
It's about realizing 90%, 94%, 100%. It all belongs to God, and so are you spending it wisely? Are you saving some for that rainy day and for emergencies? And then, do you have a giving plan? And so, let me just say, if you've never given a percentage of your income, let me challenge you to consider a percentage. I mean, the Bible talks about a tithe.
That's a great way to start. The word means a tenth. But for some of you, if you don't have the faith for that, I would encourage some of you to say, I'm going to start out with 4%, you know, whatever it is. And for some of you, it's like you've been paying a tithe, 10%, for like 20 years, and it's an obligation. The joy is gone.
It's like a bill. Start giving 11% or start giving 13%. Do something where there's an adventure and where you're giving from the heart and where God can show up. I will tell you what, generosity is not an obligation.
It's an amazing adventure. Don't miss it. Encouraging word, Chip.
Thanks. And in case you missed some of the points he just reviewed, they're pulled straight from his message notes, which is a tool available for every program. So let me encourage you to get this resource before you listen to us again. Chip's notes include his outline, all of the scripture references, and lots of fill-ins to help you remember what you're learning. Chip's message notes are a quick download at livingontheedge.org under the broadcasts tab.
App listeners just tap fill-in notes. Well, before we go, I want to quickly thank those of you who financially support Living on the Edge. Amazing things are happening all around the globe, and you help us do that. So if you want to be part of what the Lord's doing through this ministry, let me encourage you to partner with us financially. And right now, every gift we receive up until midnight on December 31st will be doubled for even greater impact.
So today is a great day to join us. To donate, go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. That number again is 888-333-6003 or go to livingontheedge.org. App listeners tap donate, and thank you for praying and giving whatever the Lord leads you to. Well, until next time, this is Dave Drewy thanking you for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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