If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
–1 Timothy 5:8
For some senior adults, the older they get, the more conservative they get with their money. That is a euphemism for “stingy.” They run around turning out the lights, lowering the thermostat, and eating tuna fish–not because they have to in order to get by, but because they do not want to let go of their money for anything or anybody.
Abraham was not like that. His bullishness in his final years was exemplified by a growing generosity. When he was seventy-five, he gave his nephew Lot the first choice of land in Canaan in order to be obedient to God. When he was offered all those riches by the king of Sodom, he said no so that God’s glory would not be diminished. When he met Melchizedek the priest, he voluntarily gave 10 percent of his assets to God.
As Abraham approached the end of his life, Genesis 25:5-6 says he made a generous financial provision for his children, especially Isaac. If you are an adult, I hope you have a will that specifies what you want done with the assets God has loaned you. That is part of good Christian stewardship. In 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul said, “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
But when you look at Abraham’s example, the money he gave away was not at his death but while he was still alive. There is a great saying: “Do your giving while you’re living, then you’ll be knowing where it’s going.” Abraham chose to live by that maxim; he was generous.
Several years ago, while our church was raising money for a new campus, I received a letter from one of our members. She was a widow, a retired foreign missionary, and she said, “I am now in my eighties and on a limited income–Social Security and a small mission board annuity. I wanted to give to the new campus. As it turns out, in early October I decided I could no longer drive because of eye and health problems. I sold my car and now I no longer have to pay car insurance. God laid it on my heart to give that hundred dollars a month toward the new campus. I may or may not be here to see the completed campus, but I know that I want to have a part in it!” She was saying, “Whether or not I get to benefit from it, I want succeeding generations to benefit from it.” That was the attitude of Abraham in his final years–his optimism produced a growing generosity.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Finishing Strong” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org