I know most missionaries purchase their plane tickets and relocate their families without financial security, and that takes a heap of faith. A lot of Christians in struggling communities around the world have to believe God will provide their next meal but my friend's response got me thinking. Many Christians ask God to bless them financially and often make promises along with their petitions. I have done it myself and reasoned with God, saying, "I would have a lot more time to serve You and build Your kingdom if You made me financially independent." My question is: Why doesn't God answer that prayer more often?
Jesus tells a strange story in Matthew 21:28-32. A man had two sons. After asking the first to work in the vineyard, his son replied, "I do not want to." Yet Jesus says that "Afterward he regretted it and went." The second son's response to the same question sounded better at first. He said, "I will, sir," but Jesus tells us that the second son didn't keep his promise. He then asks us a critical question based on this story, "Which of the two did the will of his father?"
The answer is clear: the first.
Jesus goes on to say in verse 30 (MEV), "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you."
Now Jesus was using this as an illustration to reveal the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day. However, there are implications we can learn from. Tax collectors are people who almost worshiped money. They traded their heritage, good name in the community and integrity for it. Yet at the call of Jesus, one specific tax collector named Zacchaeus repented and gave back what he stole. Others were obviously doing the same and Jesus welcomed them openly into the kingdom.
It may seem like I'm rambling but I feel the Holy Spirit drawing a point out of this. Some of those who have an abundance of money are willing to give it all up for the sake of the kingdom. Others of us are less than willing to give up the money we don't even have yet. Let me say it this way: We may be missing what God is calling us to do because we aren't willing to give up the idea that someday we'll have money. We're waiting for the increase before we head out into the vineyard but, and I say this graciously, we don't realize that money has paralyzed us.
I honestly believe Jesus' judgement between the two sons is determined by each one's willingness to allow the words of the father to change their hearts. If we pray for financial increase and don't see it, we assume we just need to keep praying. But what if God is saying, "no" or "not right now" or "your heart isn't ready for that"? Are we willing to let His answer change our hearts?
Jesus gave everything at the cross because of the joy set before Him, not because of the reward He had already received. I'm not saying God doesn't give financial blessings. He does; God loves to provide for His children in creative and supernatural ways. However, I believe He is calling us into obedience, whether we receive the blessings we want or not. I encourage you to let the Holy Spirit examine the money motivations in your heart. Let His grace and love in. Let His words change what needs to change.
Troy Black is a Christian Youtuber, author and prophetic voice. His ministry and life are led by two simple goals: to be obedient to the Holy Spirit and to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ in front of as many people as possible. You can find videos and other resources from Troy at troyblackvideos.com.
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