By Rick Warren, September 26 (and 25), 2018, Daily Hope devotional, at: http://www.pastorrick.org
God wants you to invest in other people in God’s family. This is what I call the “Mutual Fund.”
The Bible says in Romans 12:10, “Love one another with mutual affection” (NRSV).
How do you invest in this Mutual Fund? By using some of your money to encourage fellowship, to build relationships, and to demonstrate love.
Anytime you give your money to God, it draws you closer to God. Anytime you give your money to someone, it draws you closer to that person. Anytime you write a note of encouragement, you’ve invested in the Mutual Fund. Anytime you prepare or buy a meal and take it to somebody who’s sick, you’ve just invested in the Mutual Fund. Anytime you provide a babysitter for somebody who needs to go to a conference or retreat, you’ve invested in the Mutual Fund. When another believer is discouraged and needs somebody to talk to and you take that person out to lunch and pay for the meal, you just invested in the Mutual Fund.
You can give to God, and God says that’s storing up treasure in heaven. But you can also give to other people. God says that when you do that as an act of love, it’s like banking it in heaven. Anytime you use your funds to show love to somebody else in the family of God, you’re investing in the Mutual Fund.
Why should you do this? Why should you give to encourage fellowship? The Bible says, “This service you do not only helps the needs of God’s people, it also brings many more thanks to God. It is a proof of your faith. Many people will praise God because you obey the Good News of Christ—the gospel you say you believe—and because you freely share with them and with all others” (2 Corinthians 9:12-13 NCV).
When I was a little kid I used to buy or make all these little cheesy gifts for my parents. When I look back, the gifts were really lame. But every time I gave my parents a present, they were overjoyed. It wasn’t like they needed anything from me, because they didn’t. They just enjoyed the fact that I thought of them.
One time when I was 8 years old, I went into a thrift store and bought my mother a dress for 25 cents. I thought it was a really cool dress. It was about a size four, and my mom was a size 12. The clerk said, “Ricky, your mom couldn’t get her big toe in that dress.” I was so offended and went home crying. When I gave the dress to my mom, she was so thrilled. After she died, I found that dress in one of her dressers. She’d kept it all those years.
There’s nothing you can give God that he needs. But when you give him an offering, you’re saying, “God, I love you. I’m thinking of you. I want you first in my life.”
II Corinthians 9:7 — Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
II Corinthians 9:12-13 — This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
Romans 12:10 — Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Make us always eager, Lord, to share the good things that we have. Grant us such a measure of your Spirit that we may find more joy in giving than in getting. Make us ready to give cheerfully without grudging, secretly without praise, and in sincerity without looking for gratitude, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
–John Hunter, Scottish pastor (1849-1917)