By Ron Wood
I opened up my on-line
banking service to monitor my checking account balance. Since our return from
I looked more closely and
studied this puzzle. I saw that I had full access to their account. I could see
deposits, withdrawals, and the daily balance. My password had the power to move
money from their account into mine! Then, some clues started to give me a hint
of what happened. I saw a deposit that had a familiar name on it. It was my
older brother's account in
In heaven's banking
system, our Older Brother has left an account to us in His name. He has on
deposit untold riches awaiting distribution. How do we know this? Because of
repeated references found in the New Testament to "the riches of Christ's
grace." Paul mentions withdrawals from Jesus‚ bank account in Philippians
4:19. "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches
in glory in Christ Jesus." Material resources are already allocated to
partners in the mission, those with a heart for extending Christ's kingdom. (See
vs. 1:5, 4:15) This apostolic promise has a basis in fact which is still true.
It is not an empty promise. The riches are very real, but stored in a realm
accessed only by revelation. God's riches are "according to"
something-according to the surplus, the super-abundance, of Christ's glory and
Checks drawn on the bank
of heaven require two signatures: one written by grace in Jesus‚ handwriting
and sealed on the cross, the other written by faith by our own petition and
profession. The faith is on our part, the grace is on God's part. Cashing the
check requires agreement between God and man in order to release the riches of
heaven into our human situation.
But-- a fundamental shift
must occur before we can be trusted with riches. We must move from the attitude
of ownership to thinking and behaving like trustees. A trustee doesn't own
anything-- all they do is administer the estate according to the will of the
owner. A change of heart necessarily precedes a change of circumstances. To
hasten that change, God permits painful ordeals.
The season we are in is a
perilous time. It is a season of shaking, sifting, and sorting. Nothing will
escape scrutiny. God has initiated this period of time to help examine His house
that is under construction before permitting its completion. The shaking is external,
of structures and foundations. (Haggai 2:7, Luke 21:25) This hits our economic
and political bases, plus our religious worldview. Everything that can be shaken
will be shaken. (Heb. 12:26) Everything with a false foundation will be shaken.
God is shoving the house back onto the foundation He built. We have mistakenly
built the church on a false foundation. We have learned the kingdom doesn't end
with establishing denominations and pastors trying to do the work alone. God
wants us to build on Christ as the chief cornerstone, and on the foundation of
apostles and prophets. (Eph. 2:20)The sifting is internal. The light hits
our motives and methods. God wants to adjust our ways. (Haggai 1:5) Get
away from religious ways and into apostolic ways. Don't just change churches or
methods- change your ways. This is reflective transformation. We behold
Him, and become like Him. Deep change does not occur without pain. This can be
an excruciating ordeal. It can seem to last for an eternity. God seems silent,
like He has abandoned us. In the sifting, we come to see the truth about
ourselves. Do we really love the Lord? Do we love one another? Is our faith the
real thing? Jesus told Peter "Satan has desired to sift you, but- I have
prayed for you-" I am glad that "but" is there! Yes, sifting is
permitted. Why? To do us good in the end (Deut. 8:16), to humble our hearts, to
purify our motives so we can handle holy things. (Malachi 3:3) Testing lets us
see our self and adjust our ways. Afterwards, we can truly repent. The Lord
Jesus is interceding for us during our trial. (Heb. 4:14-16) Peter was boastful
until his ordeals refined him, but he had to keep his faith intact even while
failing the test. The sorting is based on assignments, according to our
anointed function in the body of Christ and new identity in Jesus
-- into churches, networks, or teams. We get grouped according to divine calling
and our response to it. This includes sorting by gifts, by degree of revelation,
and by levels of obedience. God has the right to deploy us according to the need
for workers. How do we get sorted? Basically, by the obedience of faith.
Do we listen to God's word to criticize it or to hear and obey it? Do we see
present-day truth or cling to a familiar old order? Do we believe what God said
or do we dwell in doubt? Are we people-pleasing priests or faithful sons of
Zadok? Are we wheat or tares, sheep or goats? Do we run to the light or
run from it? Do we have extra oil or is our lamp empty?
Do we follow Jesus or
men's traditions? God's grace always demands a response on our part. In one
sense, we sort ourselves into categories of usefulness or idleness, becoming
vessels of honor or dishonor, until we become set in our ways and the sorting is
finished. "He that is holy, let him be holy still. He that is filthy, let
him be filthy still." (Rev. 22:11) The goal is more of Jesus on earth,
Christ Incorporated. The shaking will affect many things we have relied upon.
Many hearts will fail for fear as they endure sifting. Transition times are
always turbulent as individuals and people groups are sorted into camps. This
global upheaval will also shake loose incredible wealth for building God's house
and extending the borders of the gospel. (For more on this prophetic season of
fresh foundations, read Haggai and Zechariah.)
This is a season when it
is vitally important for finances to flow into foundational offices. The
architects of a new age need to be fully funded in order for them to do
their work. The construction money sitting in the bank needs to be drawn down
by the contractors. Riches need to be released, not hoarded. Wealth for
the work is on the way! So by faith I continue to confess, even while feeling
absolutely foolish as I say it, that our ministry of Touched by Grace will
handle millions of dollars for missions. I am not boasting-I am just
saying to you what I believe I have heard the Holy Spirit say to me.
How can I confess such a
preposterous thing? I must feel like old Abraham as he was telling his friends
"Sarah and I are going to have a baby!" Can you imagine how foolish he
looked to believe such a thing, let alone declare it? (See Romans 4) If you knew
our present circumstances, you would say I was a fool to have such outlandish
hope. Yet I believe God. Yes, while we wait on God, things may look bleak.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the journey, we have learned to say with the apostle
Paul, "-I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know
how to get along with humble means, and I know how to live in prosperity; in any
and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going
hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)
Why would God be shifting
wealth from the wicked to the righteous? He won't-- unless we become trustworthy
stewards with a kingdom vision and a heart of mercy toward the poor. Assuming
that there are such people becoming qualified, then here is the great reason
why: The Father is intent on finishing the House He began building for Jesus
2,000 years ago. Unlike carnal contractors who lack wisdom, God never starts a
project that He can't finish. He counted the cost before He began to build. If
He did run out of gold, He could always make more!
Succinctly stated, the
funds are flowing because it is time for them to flow. God's work
requires it. Jesus wants His inheritance to be released on earth. The harvest is
ripe and the laborers are few. When Lana and I left
When King David was near
death, the time came to prepare for transition. Leadership transition is tricky
at best. Yet the
When this miracle of grace
happened and riches were released to finish the
God's kingdom rules over
everything, including businesses and enterprises that make jobs and create
wealth. God doesn't confine Himself to Sunday activities. He is head over all.
God can give riches and honor to strengthen anyone He wishes in order to achieve
His will. Do you believe this?
A similar miracle of
supply happened when
He addressed the need for
strong hands (the apostolic builders who marshal the resources and the people so
the work can come together) and hearing the words that encourage the builders
(the prophetic architects who see the heavenly blueprint and describe what they
see), for the foundation to be laid, and the house to be built. The beginning of
the laying of the foundation is a sovereign signal that the entire house
will be built. Jesus said, "I will build my church!" That
church, when it is finished, will overcome the forces of hell.
A similar miracle of
giving happened when the early church was growing so fast that the new community
of faith had to raise funds to care for people. Believers sold their extra
houses and lands and laid the proceeds at the apostles‚ feet. They trusted
their leaders with wealth when they saw the wonderful care being given to the
poor. (Acts 4:32-35)
The house that God is
building has greater glory than the first
The greatest riches are
not yet on earth, but are held in reserve in glory awaiting access by the
obedient-- those who love Jesus and keep His word. Whenever I give special
offerings, I celebrate and I say, "There's more where that came from!"
I know my source is heavenly, not earthly. I cheerfully give generously because
God isn't broke. There are abundant resources available for those who affiliate
themselves with "David's Company," the end-time reformers teaming up
with Christ's ministry team. (Eph. 4:11) Their faith and vitality is replacing
the stagnant Saul-system still lingering in these last days. They encourage the
builders. They don't weaken the workers. They don't rob from the ministers. They
put their hand to the plow and don't look back. There is where God commands the
blessing, in that place of harmonious commitment and aggressive faith.
Where is the blessing? In
symbolic language: there, in the corner of the house, the
"knitted-together" place of the three-fold cord, the junction of the
load-bearing beams, the safety vault concealed beneath the garments hidden in
the secret prayer closet, the private place where apostles and prophets join in
partnership to each other and to Jesus our cornerstone and our chief apostle. Here,
the treasure is both stored and released for our welfare and for our work.
These lavish heavenly
grants disbursed from heaven's storehouse are especially available for
businessmen and businesswomen who serve God's kingdom by using their faith and
grace in the market place of ideas and commerce, who have faith for seed to
God is creating a new
business class, Kingdom Entrepreneurs, like the "beloved physician"
(Dr. Luke) who travelled with the apostle Paul. They will partner with last-days
ministries to impact nations. They will team up to contribute their gifts and to
model the message of the kingdom. They understand that God's covenant to create
wealth is not just for their own enrichment. (To learn more, read Deuteronomy 8,
Proverbs 8, and 2 Corinthians 8.) God has a special anointing to create
wealth. God is giving ideas, opportunities, and key team players to business
people of faith in order to extend His kingdom. These "Business
Warriors" will work with the "Word Workers" to push back darkness
with the gospel. Business owners will team up with apostles or prophets or
teachers to serve pastors or evangelists in cell groups or congregations or city
It takes a team to reach a
city. Cities are the gateway to nations. Teams can do what individuals can't.
Business owners can go where preachers can't. Teams are assigned tasks by God.
They are Mission-Oriented, not Maintenance-Oriented. In this sense, they are
more apostolic than pastoral. A new type of flexible and mobile team is forming
with diversity of gifts and clarity of purpose, bigger than our old notion of
church, but inclusive of a reformed vision. It will include workers who don't
wear church robes.
All work is holy if it is
done unto the Lord. Everyone is called to a vocation, only in different fields
of labor for the glory of God. Find
your purpose and you will find your place. Not all grace-gifts
are designed to function within religious settings. This activating empowerment
to create wealth will augment talent and dedication with divine favor. Why?
Three reasons: because extravagant honor is due King Jesus; because gospel work
requires abundant finances; and because the poor are crying out for help.
In heaven, we won't need
wealth, since the streets are paved with gold (Rev. 21:21). But here and now we
need abundance in order to do God's will. We are commanded to pray for money,
for our needs to be met. (Matt. 6:11) Wealth is a form of power. God is
empowering teams of witnesses in order to take the riches of Christ to the poor
of the earth. That's why the world's wealth formerly held by the wicked is
suddenly shifting toward the righteous. (Prov. 13:22) We are in a new and
startling season. God has begun to enter into judgment with the stewards of
wealth, shaking loose the unsanctified gold and making it holy to the Lord.
(James 5:1-11) Hear the lament of the prophet Jeremiah: "The arrogance
of your heart has deceived you." (Jeremiah 49:16) Money matters to God.
God keeps good books. Warning: Your checkbook and receipts may be used as
evidence against you in the court of heaven.
Having wealth is not
a sin: in fact, if you obey God's word, it is hard not to prosper! But,
as we grow older in our walk with the Lord, as God teaches us His ways, the sins
that tempt us become subtler yet the consequences of disobedience become more
May be Dangerous
As with any topic,
Scriptures can be taken out of context or truth can be repeated in part without
adequate safeguards thus making the immature stumble. Money issues can be a
cause of stumbling. Let me set some parameters to my doctrine lest you think I
am naïve. I know God loves poor people. (Matt. 5:3) He expects us to
help the poor. (Matt. 6:2) He warns us to not accumulate wealth, but to quickly
distribute it (Matt. 6:19-21) I know many servants of God have suffered
and have never seen prosperity. God has not forgotten them and they will be
rewarded. I know many people live in dire circumstances where war or
corruption or famine or failure of fathers to stay with their families makes
life tough. I know God sometimes puts His chosen people (especially
future leaders) through the trial of insufficiency in order to shape their
character and test their faith. These issues are real. The bottom line is this:
suffering from poverty may prove our faith, but it is intended to be a temporary
state, not a routine condition. Poverty
is not a blessing, but a curse. (For more on this topic, see my book
"Thief in the Storehouse" available on our website.) Jesus warned us
not to seek after wealth for its own sake, that covetousness could get a grip on
our heart and cause us to commit idolatry. (Matt. 6:24)
Wealthy people run the
risk becoming lawless, ignoring moral absolutes and ethical constraints. The
headlines tell how a few corporate executives cook the books to fake the profits
then use (secret) stock options to steal from the firm's investors and thus
destroy the little man's hopes of retirement. This is greed and a sin. Famous
athletes or celebrities commit serial adultery while soaking in affluence or
arrogance. Politicians elected to serve the people think of their term in office
as their personal turf and fight to keep power rather than stand on godly
principles for the greater good. Even
priests are now being shielded from the consequences of sexual abuse and
depravity. Right and wrong are blurred. Greed is justified. Lies are
tolerated. Sin only counts when you get caught. Really? This is wicked!
(See Malachi 3:5) God requires repentance and righteousness of men and women,
businesses and bankers, and nations and leaders.
If we fail to see that God
has blessed us for a higher purpose than our personal peace and prosperity, we
will fall into pride, deception, and moral depravity. Wealth, apart from abiding
in Christ and embracing the cross, has a way of blinding those who possess it.
is a Heart Issue
Blessed are the "poor
in spirit." Even if you are fabulously wealthy, by God's grace you can be
humble. You can make your wealth serve God rather than you serve your wealth.
Remember, God loves the poor. And so do His genuine leaders. Christ was rich but
He became poor. Why? So we could be made rich! (2 Cor. 8:9) God wants us
to prosper as our soul prospers. (3 John 2) Why? So we can enjoy the blessing of
giving! Our attitude should be as Christ's, that of blessing, giving,
empowering, releasing. If you can be satisfied with sufficiency for yourself so
you can have abundance for God's work, then you will be made rich in every way.
(See 2 Cor. 9:10-11 NIV) This is especially true for those who help the poor
in Jesus‚ name. God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith
and to become heirs of His kingdom. (James 2:5)
In the last days, just as
in the first days, the Bible says the kings of the earth will bring their gold
as tribute to honor the Lord. (Rev. 21:24) Jesus is worthy to receive wealth!
What will He do with it? The same thing He did while on earth- give most of it
away to aid the poor. Jesus was a giver. Judas was a thief. Whose nature do you
Most people still see
Jesus as poor and powerless. The writer of Hebrews says we can see Him crowned
with glory and honor! (Heb. 2:9) Which way do you now see Him? I sat in a
Crowns symbolize power and
authority to rule. Intercessors can be crowned as they prevail in prayer. We are
in a new day in God, when there has come a union of peace between two offices,
that of apostles and prophets. That unique union of matured workers, as they
join in prayer, will become the place of crowning with silver and gold and
jewels. (Zechariah 6:13) This united team in its two-fold function can both
branch out and build up through their grace gifts. Prophets will become conduits
of abundant blessings to apostles, and vice versa. Synergy occurs when we
combine our efforts and achieve more than we could alone. God will forever
withhold from us in our independence what He will freely reveal and release to
us in our unity. Unity requires the recognition of our need for one another and
mutual respect for each other's gifts.
Money inflates egos and
hardens hearts and thereby causes problems. Money has to be ruled over or it
will rule over you. Too much money or too little money both cause serious
temptation. The biggest danger is not external abundance but internal poverty.
It is not wealth that destroys a man, but what wealth uncovers: the lack of
internal integrity. Money is neutral but the love of money gives the
devil power over your life. Money doesn't corrupt: it can only reveal the
corruption concealed in your heart.
Money gives you power to
act out your sin or fulfill your God-given dream. Which will it do to you? In
Luke 19, a story is told of servants given riches. It was when their master
entrusted them with wealth and departed to receive his kingdom that they began
to act like selfish owners instead of stewards. These servants declared,
"We do not want this man to reign over us." When they were poor, they
were content to respect his authority to rule them. (Luke 19:14) But riches
enticed them to behave as independent rulers rather than obedient servants.
Which are you? More people reject God's authority over their lives regarding
money than any other issue, with sexual indulgence being a close second.
Remember Zaccheus? He
climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus went home to his house for dinner. But it was
only when he said he would give away money and restore to anyone he had
defrauded that Jesus declared, "Today salvation has come to this
house!" (Luke 19:1-9) Zaccheus showed the fruit of repentance. Our use of
money manifests whether we have truly entered the
Remember the rich young
ruler? It was his failure to give it away that caused him to turn away from the
The Fire of God
Now we come to the reason
why God allows good people on the way toward finding and fulfilling their
destiny to undergo the refining fire of trials, tribulations, and tests.
Character deficiencies set
the stage for corruption in financial affairs. Just like powerful spiritual
gifts can operate through immature believers or undisciplined ministers to their
own hurt, so riches can come to the selfish or unruly and ultimately destroy
them. What we gain with our gifts we can destroy with our character. God wants integrity.
"Humility comes before honor." (Prov. 15:33) If humility doesn't come
first, honor will only lead to your downfall. Humility is not a feeling of
worthlessness. Rather, it is respect for your place in the universe. It is
submitting to God's order even when it is costly. It is keeping your word,
showing honor to your spouse, staying true to your calling, and respecting your
boundaries. Humility is integrity in your heart that can be observed by
righteousness in your actions. Humility has fruit. Real fruit tastes sweet.
It was the mercy of God to
put Joseph in prison before elevating him to rule in
An inheritance gained
hurriedly in the beginning will not be blessed in the end. Most lottery ticket
winners are broke a year later. They lacked the character, the skills, or the
discipline to handle their blessings.
Today, many of God's
servants have been enduring years of testing, false accusations, rejection by
their brethren, insurmountable obstacles, pressure from within and from without,
denials and delays without rational explanation, all to one noble end: to refine
and purify their hearts, their faith, and their motives so they can be worthy to
wear the kingly robes God has prepared for them in the day of accelerated grace
and elevation to authority in servant-leadership.
God needs trustees who
won't mishandle their "once in a lifetime opportunity" in this day of
wealth creation. These trustees are disciples, servants and workers, willing to
follow Jesus into poverty or prosperity with equal delight if only they may see
the true riches of heaven.
Anyone who has seen heaven's true riches will trade all earthly goods for one more glimpse of that which is eternal: the revelation of Jesus in all His glory, the privilege of taking His good news and great mercy to the poor, the honor of knowing and doing His will and giving away His life-giving love while we have time.
© 2002 by Ron Wood. This
article may be duplicated and shared free of charge provided it is copied
unchanged in its entirety and includes all the by-line information printed
Ron and Lana Wood
this article plus many others from our ministry website- www.touchedbygrace.org
<http://www.touchedbygrace.org> . A new article for your
consideration is "Random Notes on A.D.D.", written from a Christian
perspective and incorporating many helpful insights about this challenging
Touched by Grace is a
501-c-3 corporation dedicated to extending the gospel of Christ by humanitarian
relief, by biblical training materials and overseas seminars, and by strategic
investment in the work of key Christian leaders serving on the frontiers of
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