Robert Wurtz II
“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15 ESV)
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10 ESV)
The seed and soil motif is a familiar one in the New Testament scriptures. Our passages above represent two seeds: 1) the word of God and 2) material resources. These two types of seeds are directly related as is demonstrated in Luke 16:10-13:
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:10–13 NKJV)
The way that we distribute our material goods has a direct impact on whether or not God will esteem us worthy of distributing His Holy Word. This is the clear implication of Luke 16:10-13. Unrighteous mammon is material wealth. The true riches are the riches of the Kingdom of God (or more specifically the Word of God). No person can be stingy with their material goods and expect to have a word from the Lord. It just doesn’t work that way. For some people, this truth could radically change their life if they took it to heart.
Moreover, in Luke 8:15 we also have an implication that the reason why some people are never fruitful is that the condition of the heart is not one of goodness and generosity. They are selfish. When God’s word comes to us it often challenges that selfishness. If our heart is bad rather than good, it will reject the word of God when it challenges selfishness and makes a demand on our personal possessions. For example, Jesus tells the Rich Young Ruler to go and sell all of his possessions and he will have treasure in heaven. What did the young man do? He went away sorrowful because he had a lot of possessions. Most ministers suggest his money was his god. This may be true, but equally true was that the young man was clearly a stingy person. Jesus exposed that reality from the beginning and expected him to repent.
We could belabor this truth ad infinitum. Sadly, it would still be resisted. Why? Because stinginess is commonplace. Generosity is the exception. This ought not to be the case among believers. God’s attitude of heart is one of great generosity. Remember, it is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. What does that mean? He provides for peoples’ needs as a demonstration of his goodness. This attitude is the essence of goodness. It is the essence of love. There is a common saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I suggest that people know how much we care by how much we are willing to give.
The scriptures use the illustration of material goods being like seeds. The more you sow — the more God gives you to sow. What does that mean? God expects us to do with our resources what He would do with them if He were us. I’m not talking about tithing or what those who lust for filthy lucre preach (prosperity); I’m referring to a general and everyday attitude of heart that is willing to give without hesitation when a legitimate need is encountered. When we do with our resources what God would do with them if He were us, He will provide us with even more resources. This is the basic principal of Godly stewardship. This is what it is to be “faithful with the unrighteous mammon.”
Some of you are probably saying, “Wow! I never heard such a thing!” That’s true and it’s also a large reason why the world is in the shape it is in. Some Christians speak of revival and spiritual renewal. If we woke up tomorrow and every professing Christian in the world took on God’s generous attitude we would probably be in revival! Why? Because God is forever working towards making His people good by nature. Instead, we hear a chorus of excuses. However, if we would follow God’s principals of generosity He would increase our capacity for righteousness. How? Each one of us is limited in how much goodness (acts of righteousness) we can do because we have limited means. If we would be faithful with the little that we have, God would give us more. If we were faithful with that new amount, He would give us even more. In other words, He keeps increasing the size of our seed container as we are faithful to distribute it.
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
What an amazing verse! It follows on the heels of a powerful passage, So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:7–9 NKJV)
We get our word hilarious from the Greek word translated as “cheerful” in this passage. Again, I’m not referring to padding preachers pockets or anything foolish like that. I’m referring to using your resources in a way that God would use them if He were you. This is being faithful with the unrighteous mammon. Moreover, if we will be faithful with our material resources, God will provide us with the riches of the kingdom to fulfill His work. I suppose we can say it’s a test. Do we want to move in revelation? Do we want to move in the manifest power of God? Let me ask you, what are you doing with your material resources? Do you do with them what God would do?
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?