Richest Rewards

Your riches are calculated not on your bank balance, but upon what you've been doing to bless other people.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:17-18, Malachi 3:10


Alright, thank you very much. Always nice to be put on the air with a friendly voice. And hello, radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend Bob Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. Feeling great, happy in the Lord. Glad to have the privilege of sharing God’s Word with you. God’s inerrant, infallible, inspired Word, the Bible. Sharing it with you and trying, as we oftentimes say, to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself.

We’re finishing up 1 Timothy chapter 6, we’re in verse 18, 6:18. Paul is talking to people who have some of this world’s goods. He says, “Tell people that are rich that they be not high-minded, don’t look down on other people because the ground is level at the Cross. And our trust in uncertain riches, it could all be gone tomorrow, but do trust in the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” Everything you have is provided for you by the Lord.

That works on the other side of the ledger as well, everything you don’t have. Because you see, most of us are not rich. I’m not. And most of you who listen day by day are not rich. And we oftentimes think wistfully, don’t we? “Oh, boy, I wish I could win one of those publishers’ awards with $10 million. Wouldn’t that be great? Oh, boy.” Yeah, I suppose. I can guarantee you this, if you want something like that, you’d have more friends and relatives than you ever dreamed about, they’d line up, I’ll tell you, each one of them with their hands out. [chuckle]

But we think wistfully, “Well, boy, wouldn’t it be great to have some more money? To be rich, not to have to worry about whether I can meet the rent payment next month.” The point that I’m chewing on right here, beloved, is this. What you have or what you don’t have is part of God’s provision for you at this time. Now, set aside the fact that many of our difficulties are our own doing.

Dear friend of mine, I suppose 40 years ago and now, overextended himself, borrowed on his receivables. And when the borrowing process was exhausted, he still was broken, he went out of business. And now, he was a praying man, he was a Christian man. I’ve had many a time of prayer with him. But he made a mistake, a business mistake.

So, lay aside the fact that many of our difficulties are our own fault. We can’t blame anybody else, certainly not God for that. But if you’ve made allowances for that condition, then look at your life and realize that Almighty God is still God, He’s on the throne, you’re His child, and where you are and what you are and the situation in which you find yourself is part of His perfect provision for you right this minute.

And either He wants to teach you something, or do a miracle through you, or win somebody else through you, or prove His righteousness even to the accuser Satan, as it was in the case of Job. What is happening in my life this minute is part of God’s eternal purpose because I’m His child. “Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. I am the Lord, that is My name, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. I change not,” God says.

All of His purposes are set, known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven.” So, there’s no question about the fact that if you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s hand is upon you, or put it better still, you are in God’s hand. Jesus said, “No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” And so you can look up and say, “Lord… ” now you may not like your circumstances. I very frequently find myself in circumstances that I don’t enjoy. Isn’t that true with you as well? So you may not like your circumstances, we can look up and say, “God, I don’t particularly like this, but I receive it as from You and I wanna learn what I need to learn and I wanna be a blessing in it.” And let God live His life and speak His Word, and prove His truth through you.

When I got started in all of this, when we talked about rich people, most of us are not rich. Although sometimes, as I say, wistfully, we say, “Oh, I wish I were.” Well, remember this. God will give you as much as He can trust you with. He’ll give you as much as He can trust you with.

Do you tithe your income, beloved? Now let’s say that you don’t have much. I was brought up poor. We were so poor that the poor folks called us poor folks. That’s pretty poor. And every penny, every nickel, had to be accounted for. So, I know something about this. Now, what are you doing with the little that God gives you? Do you tithe? Do you take care of your local church? Do you send something to your missionaries and to your Christian radio stations and to people who are trying to win souls among the young or among other subcultural groups? Are you honoring God with your tithes? Even in times when you’re not really flushed, you don’t have as much as you wish you had, but are you being faithful in that?

The reason I’m asking, and no, this is not a financial pitch, this is God’s Truth. The reason I’m asking is that God will give you as much as He can trust you with. “Well done, thou, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee rule over many things,” Jesus said in His parable of the talents. Start somewhere, start with God today, and start honoring Him in a special way, in matters that affect your pocketbook, and see how He blesses you. You see, Malachi 3:10 is still in the book.

No, a Christian doesn’t have to tithe. Don’t write and argue with me about that, I know that’s true. We’re under grace, not under law. So you don’t have to pay a tithe, but that’s a pretty good place to start, isn’t it? Why should you do less under the grace of God than people did under the law, the Mosaic law? So Malachi 3:10 is still there as God’s promised. “‘Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove Me now herewith,’ saith the Lord. “If I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes.'”

JC Massey was my professor at Eastern Baptist Seminary many years ago, great evangelist and pastor, and a great man of God. But he told this story before his students- I can’t verify it because I don’t know the name and the address and the date, but he told it and I believe him. He said, as he was talking about this matter of honoring God with your tithes and offerings, he said there was a farmer who had an orchard and he was located in the midst of a fruit-growing area.

Now there was a disease which Dr. Massey called “the San Jose scale.” As I say, I’m no expert on farm matters. I know how to milk a cow, and gather the eggs, and slop the pigs, and bring in the hay, but I can’t tell you much about the technical side of it. But he said there was a fruit disease called “the San Jose scale,” which was devastating those areas of fruit-growing orchards.

Now this farmer, said Dr. Massey, was a devout Christian and also a faithful tither of his farm income. And Dr. Massey said the farmer, as he saw this disease that was ravaging the apple trees, as he saw it advancing, he got down on his knees, he said, “Now, Lord, I’ve been faithful to you,” and he opened his Bible to Malachi 3, where the promise to the tither is, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes.” And he said, “Now Lord, I’ve been faithful and I want you to keep Your promise.” And he began then to pray and to believe God on the basis of that promise. Well, said Dr. Massey, the San Jose scale came up to his line fence. And so, Malachi 3:11 was fulfilled for that man, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before her time in the field.”

Now does that prove that you will always, in answer to prayer if you’re a tither, avoid any of the farm catastrophes that might be called the grasshoppers, the locusts, the wheat rust, the potato rot, the tomato worm, and so on? No, I don’t think it proves it. It does prove that one man trusted the promise of God and God came through. You can always depend on the promise of God, His promises. Every promise, the Bible says, is yea and amen. Yea means “yes,” amen means “so be it” unto us, it says, by Jesus Christ. So because of the Lord Jesus, you can trust the promises of God.

Well, all of this grew out of 1 Timothy 6:18, talking about people who have some of this world’s goods and the rest of us who don’t, and how we should react. Tithe your income, give God 10% off the top. Pray about what you should do with it, take care of your church and your pastor first of all, that’s your number one assignment. Never take a dime or a dollar away from that number one assignment under God, your local Bible-preaching Christ-honoring church and your faithful pastor, they deserve your number one support. And then remember, the rest of God’s people all across the world who are preaching in, printing in, and broadcasting, and teaching, and all of that. Good idea? Be a tither, God will bless you. Yes, He will.

Now, we come back then to 6:18. It says, “Tell rich people that they do good.” That’s where we were the last time we got together on the air, we were talking about this matter of planning to do something good for Jesus’ sake.

Did you take that seriously when I talked with you about it the last time? Have you done anything? If not, work on it today, will you? Do something good. It says, “Do good.”
Plan to do something good for somebody because of Jesus and your love for your Savior. And then it says, “Be rich in good works,” rich in good works. Your riches are calculated not on your bank balance, but upon what you’ve been doing to bless other people.

I think this lesson has to be learned again and again-every generation has to learn it. The recent scandals in Christian work have highlighted the fact that misuse of money can be a very great grief to everyone and an embarrassment and a source of glee to the Devil. “The real riches,” Paul says, reminding us once again, he says, “Your real riches is not money, but it’s what you’re doing that’s blessing other people.”

Would you use that measuring stick for your life today? It’s far better than your bank balance in calculating where you really are. Now we come back to this the next time we get together.

Father God, grant us today to put Thee first, good works being our riches. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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