When it comes to being good and faithful stewards of this gift of life, we Christians often get it backwards. We focus on Biblical principles first. Not that Biblical principles are unimportant. Wisdom is essential to living, but not as critical as loving the Source and Giver of all wisdom.
It’s All About the Relationship
Often we’re so busy trying to keep His principles that we neglect the relationship. We become performance-driven rather than love-driven. We conform to a list of rules, but our obedience doesn’t come from a heart that is passionately in love with our Creator.
But if our action doesn’t come from our hearts, is it obedience at all? If we don’t take time to know God’s character, hear His heart, or be led by His Spirit, how can we call it obedience?
God’s people in Isaiah’s day had a similar problem. They had focused on external appearances and conforming to wise principles. They looked good. They came near to God with what they did on the outside, but their hearts were far from being in a loving relationship with Him:
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish. (Is. 29:13-14 ESV)
God had called them His Beloved, the object of his deepest affection. Yet they had forgotten what we often forget today: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Then, as now, the heart is what truly matters to God.
Truth be told, when it comes to being found good and faithful servants, we just want to know which buttons to push to make God happy. We want a how-to manual, a thin copy of Christianity for Dummies, or bullet points we can check off to get to the next item on our list.
We want a checklist. God wants a relationship.
Are you ready to explore how a deep relationship with God affects your generosity? Find out more of what that might look like for your church at ReimagineGenerosity.com.
Photo credit: mathieujarryphoto