I've been talking about the fact the Lord has delegated many decisions to us, and He doesn't really have a 'perfect will' for everything. One other thing that has been delegated to us is money. What I share below I've had to search out myself because it sure isn't taught in the auditorium church.
I was one of those people who spiritualized all things money while making minimum wage and giving to the point of hurting my family, all the while wondering why my 100 fold return wasn't happening, wondering why heaven's floodgates weren't being opened to me, why I didn't have a blessing to the point I didn't have room to contain it. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn't God blessing me; I was doing everything I'd been told.
Space is limited so for more information I have a couple series on Bible prosperity and NT giving, but here are 5 main points:
Point number 1 - the kingdom is based on and functions by revelation
Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:16-18 that the Father had shown him Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and he said it was upon that rock of revelation He would build His gathering of the saints. Everything in the kingdom functions within and by revelation from heaven, Jesus being the greatest revelation and flowing down from Him. That means financial dealings will have revelation woven through all of it.
Point number 2 - God never promises to pour out money that you don't have room to receive
In Malachi 3:10, every auditorium based pastor's favorite verse (ha) God promises to open the windows of heaven to pour out a blessing they would not have room to receive IF they gave 10% to the temple. (We are now living temples with Christ in us so giving is to individuals, leaders and those in need as per Acts 2-6)
Malachi 3 is using irrigation terms, with the 'windows' of heaven being the word 'head gate' which is the gate that opens the flow of water to a field. In irrigation the water flows to the field, runs down furrows in the field, and exits the field in a ditch which connects to the neighbor's field, and the process continues on as each field in the irrigation process has too much water to contain, so it flows on to water the neighbor's field. Malachi 3 says if they are givers then rain will come to irrigate the fields, and that water will overflow to all fields. In Jesus' parables the earth stands for a person's heart and life. (Mark 4)
Therefore the water represents the flow of the Holy Spirit to our hearts (fields); The teaching, wisdom, comfort, and revelation is what He provides as He waters the field of our heart and life with revelation. Notice this - the water is not the crop! Water merely gives nourishment to the crop, the crop is your job, your investments, you material world. The 'water' of the Holy Spirit brings grace and creativity to your life.
This is seen in Genesis 30: 37-39 where Jacob did something silly, peeling poplar branches so they were green and white pattern and set them where the animals mated, producing spotted animals, which were all his for the taking by agreement with Laban. But in 31:10-13 he said he received the idea in a dream with instructions from an angel. He had made a vow to be a giver to God, and God poured out water - creativity - to water his crop (livestock). The 'water' was the idea to peel the bark, flowing from that revelation.
To an engineer the water poured out might be a word of knowledge how to solve a problem. To a mechanic it is a word about what is wrong with that motor. With an accountant it is a creative idea to help the company's profits. With the menopausal woman it may be a word on why you are standing there staring into the pantry...oh, no, sorry, maybe not that! Ha! Point is, the kingdom works by revelation, and as we give the Lord promises to pour out ideas and wisdom that water our field of life which in turns increase the 'crops' of life.
Point number 3 - it is up to us not God to change our ability to handle money
In Matthew 25:14-29 Jesus taught the parable of the talents, a unit of currency back then. Today we might say 1 talent equals say for our example, 1,000.00 USD or Euros. In the parable the master gave 1 servant 5 talents, another 2 talents, and another, 1 talent.
In this parable Jesus taught the only 3 things that can be done with money: Trade with it, gain interest on it, or bury it. All financial efforts on the earth will be within one or more of those categories. But the fact the master gave 5 talents to one man, and when he had doubled the master's money by trading with it (buy/sell) he got the 1 talent from the man who had buried that 1 talent. The master told the man with 1 he should have traded with it or at least put it in the bank for interest - it was up to the man to change how he dealt with money, not the master's. This shows us it is up to us change our ability to handle money, and the master will give us what we can handle, no more. So don't cry out to God for more money if you aren't handling well what you have. Change how you handle money by education, discipline, or otherwise studying an area of interest.
Wisdom: Money will flow away from you if you don't know the area you are putting it in. Learn by book and experience before investing large sums - learn enough so money will flow to you.
God will not allow you to be tested above what you are able, and will make a way of escape. (I Cor 10:13) So if you want to handle more, then educate yourself and gain experience. Today with computers you can learn things on a college level for free on the web, and you can invest in getting to know people who are doing what you are interested in doing, and learn from them.
Point number 4 - the Bible teaches multiple streams of income produce wealth
Never, no where, does it say 1 source of income will make you wealthy. It does pattern multiple streams of income however. In Job 1:2-3 it says he had 7,000 sheep. He would later tell of using his own wool to clothe those in need. Sheep provide meat to eat & sell, wool to sell and weave into material and clothes to sell.
He had 3,000 camels which were used for desert caravans to import and export goods. They were the long-haul what we call in the US, semi-trucks (lorries) of the day. He had 500 yoke of oxen (1,000 animals) which meant he was a rancher and farmer as he had to have much more cattle to have at the ready 500 yoke, which were used for plowing fields and grinding grain. He had 500 female donkeys, which were the short haul trucks of the day. Job was wealthy due to multiple streams of income which he managed well.
In Proverbs 31:10-31 we find the 'virtuous woman', and find she owns a business - a weaving company with employees, and she works alongside them arriving early, and providing for her family. She is a giver as was Jacob and Job. She weaves flax (linen), wool, silk. She exports her product, and then it says; "She considers a field and buys it." This shows she is expanding her streams of income, investing in a vineyard to produce wine and juice, etc. She "considered a field" the text says, meaning she studied it, learned, so that money wouldn't flow away from her, before buying the field.
You've been taught wrong if you think by giving x percent God will suddenly bless you. The money is on the earth, you have the responsibility given by Him to change your ability, to establish multiple streams of income for yourself - if you want His guidance you should be asking Him where to invest, what creative ideas He has for you, and know your own heart to know where you want to change your ability.
Point number 5 - the New Testament doesn't teach giving 10%, but 100%
The NT teaches we are to lay down our lives for each other, giving 100% of ourselves, our skills, our resources to one another as part of a lifestyle of giving within relationships so that there are no needs in our midst. WE are the temples of God, not a building, therefore we continue to give to the temple(s) in great freedom and responsibility to one another. See how they gave in Acts 2 through 6 for examples.
Giving in the New Testament is outlined in I Corinthians 16:2 and II Corinthians 8 and 9, a few verses of which are highlighted here. "Let every person set aside something weekly according to how the Lord has blessed them that week." and "(Giving) ...is accepted according to what a person has, not according to what they have not." (I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8:12-13)
This means we are to discipline ourselves to set aside something as Christ in us and we determine, based on what we have. We can charge donations if we can pay it back, but don't give your food money away to build a well in some far off land, nor give your power bill money to someone else's power bill money. But if yours is covered you'll have some to give to others.
"For I don't want you to be burdened while easing their need." Giving to another is not to be a burden, it is to be a joy as he says in II Corinthians 9:7 - not grudgingly or out of need, but cheerfully as he purposes in his heart, for God loves a cheerful giver.
"Now He who gives seed to the sower also provides bread for your food, and He will multiply your seed sown." II Corinthians 9:10. This teaches God provides each of us seed to sow and bread for food. You don't want to give your bread away, but you also don't want to eat your seed. It is up to us to discipline ourselves to set aside something, to determine with Christ in us what He wants as seed, and act on it.
You never lose money, talent, resources, or work that you give to someone, what you give enters into your future to supply your future need. (Luke 6:38 among others)
When you put these things together you realize money is on earth, not in heaven. He gave us the responsibility to manage it, and to live a lifestyle of giving within a network of relationships. As we give we can expect revelation from heaven to water the fields of our lives, so our 'crops' may be blessed...but the motivation on all giving is love, simply, purely, no strings-attached, love...
Next week a prophetic update, until then, blessings,