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Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in the 6th century BC which still has implications for us in the 21st century. He dreamt of a statue that represented four kingdoms. The statue had a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, stomach and thighs of bronze and legs and feet of iron. Sensing his dream had a terrible meaning, the king summoned prophet Daniel, who interpreted it accurately. Disaster was on its way. The Babylonian empire (representing the head of Gold) though currently the dominant empire of the world, was to fall to the Persian empire (silver). This empire would eventually fall to the Grecian or Macedonian kingdom (Bronze) and lastly this kingdom would fall to the Roman Empire. Then surprisingly a final kingdom was to rise up, which was not man made, but was divine. It would destroy the Roman Empire, and would rule for eternity. This kingdom is referenced in Daniel 2
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
The import of the failure of these kingdoms should be earth shattering. God emphatically wants us to know that nothing humanity builds (not even looming impregnable, formidable empires) will last forever. Eventually it will all fall, crumble to dust. Human fancies and trends are fleeting. Worldly passions, material possessions will all perish. This has always been the lesson of history. There is only one kingdom that will last forever, according to Daniel 2:44, the kingdom of the God of heaven.
Thus, we need to put our trust in this eternal kingdom. You may say, of course I put my trust in God. After all, I am religious, devout, even a born again believer. Yet Jesus describes a person who puts their trust in God’s kingdom.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.(Luke 12)
In these verses, Jesus is saying, if you desire the kingdom, then you need to invest in it. Essentially if you believe in a kingdom that endures, then you need to put your heart in that kingdom. How you do that, is to put your treasure right in the midst of the kingdom. But the kingdom of heaven is an unseen kingdom. You cannot go to a bank to deposit money into it, or invest in a stock that entitles you to a share in heaven. No. How you store up treasure in heaven is simply by being generous in alms giving. Think about it, we spend money on the things, or people we love. So similarly, God is saying, do you love me? If so then spend money on the things I love. The poor. The work of God in your local church where the poor are reached. The mission of God globally, to name a few.
Unfortunately North American statistics tell a different story. Only 10-12% of the church give generously to their local church, much less are giving abundantly to the poor. The local church serves as a prime outlet for dispersion of kingdom funds to the needy. But 88% of Christians choose not to contribute. Why is it that we as Christians vocalize our belief in the heavenly kingdom but yet our giving doesn’t line up. I believe it’s a heart issue. Too many modern Christians are caught up in this world’s systems. Our heart affections are entangled. We love God but also love the world.
Granted some are innocently unaware of the call of Jesus to give radically, but a majority of the church simply do not obey. We make excuses such as, we doubt the funds are being spent well, or we cannot afford to give. But these are only symptomatic of our heart condition.
A believer who is truly caught up in his love for Christ will prioritize giving. IN a recent sermon I challenged people to start giving generously to their local church. I know some of you have incurred so many expenses that you can only give a little bit. I believe that’s ok (at first). Give a bit, but please be consistent about it. Consistency reveals devotion which is a heart issue. Further I challenged people to begin to seek to reduce their expenses, so they can increase their giving. As well increase their income. We are never called to plateau in our giving threshold. Many traditional Christians will use the tithe (ten percent) as the upper limit of their giving, yet the New Testament doesn’t mandate the tithe. Instead, it encourages whole hearted giving, that seems to go beyond the tithe. We see people selling property, and others being challenged to sell everything (that’s 100%). Essentially in the New Testament, the upper ceiling on giving is up to the individual’s commitment. The more you love God, the more you will seek to increase your giving percentage. This equation is harsh, but its simply biblical.
Let God touch your heart, and ask him to make you a kingdom builder. Do not get caught like a majority of the world in the rat race of worldly pursuits and material gain. Seek to increase your income, reduce expense, and give abundantly, thereby investing in a kingdom where your treasures will never perish, but will live on forever.
– Pastor Olu Jegede