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Unlocking Blessings

Week_22_Unlocking Blessings

Unlocking Blessings

When Jesus heard King Herod had killed John the Baptist, He sought solitude and boarded a boat for an isolated place. However, word quickly spread, and many people from nearby villages came to see Jesus. When Jesus saw them, He was deeply moved with compassion and began to teach them. As dusk approached, the disciples told Jesus they were concerned about the remote location and the hour. They asked Him to send the people away because they didn’t have food for them. Instead, Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, but the only person with any food was a little boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus told the boy to bring the food to Him and instructed the people to sit down. Then, Jesus looked to heaven and prayed a blessing over the five loaves and two fish. He broke the bread, then gave it to the disciples to distribute among the crowd. To their astonishment, everyone ate their fill, and there were twelve baskets of leftovers collected afterward. This miraculous event fed five thousand men.
 
When we are generous, we get to physically participate in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. Supernatural things happen when we give to God. This boy gave to Jesus, and Jesus blessed his generosity. Jesus commands us to be generous people, and this boy showed us what happens when we are.
 
  1. When we are generous, we honor God.
 
Everything belongs to God. He doesn’t need our money. However, when we give to Him, it is an act of worship that brings glory to Him. When this boy gave his lunch to Jesus, he honored Him. Jesus didn’t need the bread and fish, but He was honored by them.
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
 
Throughout the Bible, when it comes to our possessions, we are first commanded to give back to God. In fact, the word “firstfruits” is used over thirty times in the Bible. Do you know how many times the word “lastfruits” is used? Zero…It’s not a word. God asks us to give our firstfruits because our hearts are connected to our treasure. Jesus said that we should store our treasure in Heaven rather than on Earth.
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
This is why we spend so much money on our kids. We love them, so our hearts are with them. Our hearts and our possessions are intimately connected.
 
If you have ever started a business, you know that you never stop thinking about it. You’re invested in it. Have you ever bought stock in a company? Your heart becomes connected to that company. A few years ago, I bought some Microsoft stock. I figured they have got to start cutting into Apple’s business eventually. So, even though I’ve always been an Apple guy, I cheer for Microsoft to produce a phone that can compete with the iPhone.
 
When you give to God’s work, it connects your heart to His work. There is nothing better for your heart than to be connected to God! When the boy gave his lunch to Jesus, it connected him to Jesus’ miracle.
 
The Biblical minimum for giving back to God is tithing. Tithing is giving ten percent of your income as an offering to God. If you’ve never experienced the blessings of tithing, it can sound daunting. There are so many things in this world begging for our money, and tithing requires us to decide to sacrifice the comfort of having things that others have.
 
In today’s story, Jesus made a generosity plan. He didn’t just hope something would happen. He gave the disciples instructions, and when they obeyed, he invited the boy to join the plan. When the boy was generous, the disciples laid out the plan for the people, and the stage was set for Jesus to work a miracle.
 
Do you have a generosity plan? I have tithed for decades, and I’ll never stop because every time my wife and I fall behind financially, every time our cars break down or medical bills pile up, Darci and I look at each other and say, “We’re not giving enough, are we?” Then we do the math and realize we missed a month of tithing, or we need to redo the math after we got a raise or bonus. It happens every time.
 
Parents, isn’t your heart full when you see your kids do something generous? My two sons regularly fight over toys. A toy can sit in the toy box for a year; neither kid wants to play with it, until one of them wants to play with it. As soon as Lincoln starts playing with a toy, Titus wants it. Then we have to set a timer to take turns with a toy they haven’t played with for a year. Yet, every once in a while, something amazing happens. On rare occasions, when one of them is playing with a toy, the other one asks for the toy, and the one who had the toy first says, “Yes!” I almost pass out every time it happens, but I am filled with pride when I see it.
 
The ironic thing is that I actually own the toy they are sharing with each other. I bought it for them. Can you imagine how God feels when He sees His children giving away what He gave us? God owns everything, and when we give like God gave, we honor Him.
 
This boy in the Tabgha story modeled this for us. Because he was generous, thousands of people were fed. In addition, they got to see a miracle.
 
  1. When we give, we bless others.
 
My sons enjoy watching Mr. Beast videos on YouTube, primarily because they can’t imagine someone giving away their money the way he does. Mr. Beast is making money by being generous, and he is being generous because he is making money.
 
Blake Mycoskie, the founder of Tom Shoes, similarly discovered that generosity can be a lucrative business. Toms Shoes gives shoes to people who can’t afford them, and humans are naturally drawn to generous people.
 
Christians give more than four times as much to charity than unbelievers. Christians are much more generous than the average person, and that’s even true about generosity to non-religious charities. If our government tried to replace the services the church provides, it would go bankrupt. The church works because Christians give. This has been the case ever since the Christian church was launched. The early church pooled their money to help people in need.
 
There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
Take a few seconds to think of a special gift you have received. How did that gift make you feel?
 
I remember when I got a Schwinn bike for my eighth birthday. My parents were very poor when I was young. Every month we spent our money before we earned it. The whole family knew when payday was, so I knew how much my parents sacrificed to get me that bike. To this day, it makes me emotional.
 
When you give to the Christian Church, you bless people, and you bless God.
 
But it doesn’t stop there.
 
  1. When we give, we are blessed.
 
When Jesus used the boy’s food to bless many people, the boy was also blessed. His generosity was the talk of the town.
 
The promise of Malachi 3:10-11 applies to us today.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
If you don’t believe Him, He invites you to test Him. Try it. Give the first ten percent of your income to God and see what happens. The passage says that all the nations will call you blessed! You won’t just be blessed if you put God first, you will be obviously blessed. Let God bless you.
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