Do you remember the story of Abraham?
Hebrews 11:17-19 – “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God has said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the death.”
I have a question to ask you: How do you think Abraham’s actions regarding Isaac, his son looked to the casual observer? To the unbeliever? To even his friends and family?
Now, let me ask you another question: What was Abraham risking by obeying God?
That leads me to another question: Upon what was Abraham basing his actions?
Which leads me to another question: What if God didn’t come through?
He probably looked like a kook to even his friends and family. He was risking his son’s life and his own reputation. Abraham was basing his actions upon his belief in God’s ability to raise the dead.
If God didn’t come through: Abraham would be a murderer. He would have lost his son and heir. Isaac, his apparent link to the fulfillment of God’s promise would be dead. His ability to hear God would come into serious question and his future confidence of being able to be led by God would be destroyed.
I have a question for you: What are you doing right now that requires faith? That requires you to risk?
Is the goal of your life to create situations in which you never have to take a risk? Could we characterize your life as one of comfort?
It convicts me greatly to realize that I often play it safe in my decisions. Why do I do that? Why do you do it?
What causes this type of living?
Our beliefs about God are revealed by how we live. Abraham believed God had authority in the present to raise the dead. His faith rested not in the presence of Isaac, who we know was a key to his future, but his faith rested in the power of God to raise the dead.
Do you have that type of belief regarding the authority of Jesus Christ in your life? If you don’t have belief in Jesus as the ultimate authority in your life, you will not take a risk. Abraham could have easily thought this, “I’ve waited so long for Isaac. There is no way I’m going to take a risk by obeying God. A bird in my hand is worth more than a crazy step of faith.”
People who don’t understand the authority of Jesus will not live by faith but will build a life so that they don’t have to.
There is another factor that fights against the type of life that Abraham lived; a life of faith. It is living with a view that extends no further than the horizon. In other words, a life which doesn’t believe that the best life is found in eternity.
There are many people, who if they were asked the question, “Would you like Jesus Christ to return today?” would respond, “No, thanks. I’m doing just fine where I’m at.”
I know some of us would be concerned about loved ones who don’t know Christ, but many answer “No” because they are pretty comfortable right where they are.
The Bible clearly tells us in Hebrews 13:14 – “… For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. …
If we live as if we believe this, how will it change the way we live as Christians? What about the way we give?
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.” 1 John 3:16-20
This scripture tells us that how we handle our material possessions tells a lot about what we believe about the truth.
“Test me in this and see if I will not pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
Testing is risky business. But, God has said that to see God’s hand, you must risk.
What type of person are you? You will have what you are willing to risk for!!
Many people are discouraged, especially when it comes to giving because they say, “I’ve tried this and it doesn’t work.”
Okay, this type of thinking overlooks two key components of biblical truth: stewardship and eternity.
Many of us give so that we can increase our standard of living and increase our standard and increase our standard. God doesn’t give to you to constantly increase your standard of living. You’re already in the top 10 – 20%!
God wants to increase you to give more not increase your standard of living which according to standards in the world is already lavish.
He increases you to use it for His kingdom not yours.
Second, don’t forget eternity.
Did you forget that when we give, we are storing up treasure in heaven?
Malachi 3:13 – “Your words against me have been harsh, says the Lord. What have we spoken against you, you say? You have said, it is useless to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance?”
Verse 17: “They shall be mine, says the Lord, on the day that I make them my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
If your focus is entirely on now, you won’t act for later.
One last thing: when Jesus sent out his disciples to do His work in Luke 9, he said this:
“Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.”
Why would he give such foolish instructions?
Without risk, there is no reward. He wants us to believe in His authority in the now, and to live for His reward in the future.
“Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.” Deuteronomy 15:10