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An Investment of a Lifetime... and Far Beyond


   Aside from being the one and only salvation guide, the Bible is a history book - the greatest of all time. It gives the true account of creation and the Creator and a history of faithful Abraham and his progeny, both in the Old and in the New Testaments. Beyond that, though, Scripture teaches us about our Creator Yahweh.
   From the Word we also learn about the physical world. But the Bible is a message of the spirit as well. As we read Scripture, we sense, below the surface, a moving of the heart's emotions. We receive a depth of understanding beyond the physical. The Bible's words are spirit, and they are life!
   Each time we read or study the Bible, we can sense a profound change coming over us. Our thinking ascends to new heights; Yahweh's Spirit works with ours, prompting us to seek higher levels, to a plane that takes us beyond the physical, material realm. We enter a kind of twilight zone, approaching an awesome celestial sphere we have never encountered before. We become acutely aware that we are approaching the threshold of the spiritual where Yahweh is reached and where He communicates with us.
   By reading His Book, we grasp, in a small measure, the fullness and depth of His power and majesty. He teaches us His truth through His Word.

Dealing with Selfishness
   The Bible renders unembellished accounts of its heroes just as they are; successes with blemishes and hopes with shattered aspirations. Always hovering over the scene is the concept of a loving, forgiving Almighty. He is Yahweh, One Who willingly extends His tender mercies to all who will turn from their wicked ways and follow Him with a full heart. Readers of Scripture often are unaware of the virtues of giving, receiving, and reciprocating. Spiritual values are learned through physical acts. A deeper comprehension of our purpose in life is gleaned from consideration of spiritual aspects of Yahweh's methods in dealing with humans. Being good custodians of what Yahweh has given us is one aspect of this spiritual acquisition. It includes much more than the tithe.
   The basic problem with carnal mankind everywhere is selfishness. All good things come from Yahweh, Who provides everything we need to live and Who has given us life itself. The Bible subtly relates Yahweh's giving something to mankind and expecting us to use it wisely.
   Gifts He gives include property, family, wisdom, possessions, liberty, freedom, and longevity of life. These are given, expecting they will bring glory to Yahweh, while the use of them will benefit the recipient.
   We should all feel a deep responsibility for anything Y ahweh has given us. W e must learn to be accountable and have such a deep respect for His creation that we in return always feel obligated to Yahweh as the owner of everything we have.
   Merely fulfilling the requirements of the law but lacking the spiritual understanding for doing it, is not pleasing to Yahweh. This is what our Savior was trying to explain when He extended the dimension beyond a quoted maxim of law with the preface: "But I say unto you ... "

We Are Given a Trust
   Our perception or attitude toward Yahweh and His laws must be one of deep respect with a keen desire to please Him. He is the owner of all and expects us to show our gratitude by giving Him the best that we have, the firstfruits of our increase:
Honor Yahweh with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase, Proverbs 3:9.
   The writer of Proverbs goes on to explain the wonderful blessings that follow when honoring Yahweh with what we have.
   The firstfruits are the best of the crop. The later yield doesn't measure up to the fruit that first appears in spring. This is the produce that belongs to Y ahweh (Num. 28:26) and giving of those firstfruits honors Yahweh so that we, in return, receive His blessings, His good things. He expects us to give from the best that we have.
   The first, the best, whether it be efforts, waking moments, wages, whatever ... He is worthy of our best.
Firstfruits may be assumed to be a tenth or tithe, but Proverbs does not mention how much. It may be more than a tenth.
   That which dominates our mind, the greater part of our waking moments, determines most of our activities. Our secular world has enticements all around us, night and day. We often fantasize and dream of a better life here on earth through obtaining more and more creature comforts.
   Dreaming of a better life is something many turn to often for solace and comfort, relaxation and enjoyment. It is what some think on most, lost in a dreamy, wishful wonderland. Whatever occupies most of our thinking controls our subconscious and motivates our actions. Yahshua said to all of us:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, Luke 12:34.
   The Old Testament reveals that Yahweh had turned His earthly creation over to man as a trust. Man was to manage the earth with its flora and fauna and to govern himself. Yahweh continues to be the owner, but has placed man in charge. We recognize His sovereignty when we return to Him a portion of the increase of our labors.
   The New Testament emphasizes the spiritual application of Yahweh's laws far above satisfying any physical desire. We are to develop the proper attitude as we grow and mature in the stature of the Savior.
   Keeping His laws out of mere obligation is not pleasing to Yahweh. We are to comprehend His purpose, His goals, His loving and tender mercies. He sent His Son to teach a deeper spiritual aspect of His truth so that we perceive things from His viewpoint ― to think like Him, act like Him, and walk in His very footsteps.

Your Treasure in Heaven
   Yahweh reveals to us that our goal in life is beyond this mundane civilization and society. There is a fantastic world ahead, and we are invited to be participants in it. W e must realize we are being tested to reveal our ultimate intentions.
   What is it that prompts us to seek Y ahweh's truth which is found in His Bible? To some it is mere curiosity at first. The Bible is a fascination for some, yet it can bewilder and mystify. It holds a perplexing attraction that demands further investigation.
   Yahweh owns all things. During the three score and ten years He has allotted us, we appropriate from His earth those things we need to survive:
The earth has Yahweh given to the children of men, Psalm 115: 16b.
   Yahweh has made a way for us to take some of our assets and reach beyond this mundane world into the next. We can turn some of our resources into investments in the everlasting Kingdom. "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven," our Savior said in Matthew 6. But how do we do that?

Help Someone Find Truth
   The Bible likens our life to a vapor. Our 70 allotted years are soon gone. The things we possess, the goods we have, the life we live, and we ourselves will soon pass from the scene. It is possible to turn some of our transitory, tangible, capital into eternal gain. The world's goods, much like the grass that today is, and tomorrow is gone, if handled properly, can become a permanent investment that will endure throughout the ages.
   All too often our earnings are spent on material goods that perish and soon disappear. Those things we desire, the things we treasure, the possessions we covet now will not last. A house or home in which we live may endure for a few generations, but eventually who lived there will be forgotten.
   We can, however, invest in a house that will endure forever. That house is the household, the family of Yahweh. Our tithes and offerings can make the difference as to whether or not someone comes to a saving knowledge of the Messiah Yahshua, and becomes a son or daughter of the Most High and lives forever in the Kingdom. What could be more important? What better use can we make of our brief time on earth than to use our personal resources to help others?
   Yahshua said,
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal, Matthew 6:19-20.

Giving - the Bible Way
   Are we to understand, then, that we should give everything we have to the ministry? Or do we turn all we own over to the poor, which Yahshua demanded of the rich young ruler? (Matt.19:21). No other individual was asked to divest himself of his wealth. This man's wealth happened to be his greatest obstacle. He apparently worshiped his wealth, and our Savior gave him an option: its your wealth or its Me. Choose.
   Rather than giving away all that we possess, Scripture does demand of all of us that we manage our resources well, and to be good stewards of all that we have.
   This means that we do both. We manage carefully what we have, and give away some of our resources in a way that pleases Him. The proper handling of our goods and the Scriptural investing of what we have is the work of Yahweh.
   The focus of the New Testament is investing in the "spiritual realm." That investment begins in the Assembly, with those who are doing the work of the ministry. Paul's inspired understanding in this regard is found in 1 Corinthians 9:3-14:
   Mine answer to them that do examine Me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Master, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goes a warfare any time at his own charges? Who plants a vineyard, and eats not of the fruit thereof? Or who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? Or says not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, you shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn. Does Elohim take care for oxen? Or says He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plows should plow in hope; and that he that threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the Good News of Messiah. Do you not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so has Yahweh ordained that they which preach the Good News should live of the Good News.
   In Malachi, the prophet issues a sobering chiding of those who allowed the work of Yahweh to suffer for personal gain. Notice:
Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, says Yahweh of Hosts, 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, Malachi 3:8-10.
   The economic principle of Scripture is simple: Put Yahweh first, and He promises that His blessings will be returned many times over.
   Simply put, worship is more than service of the lips. It involves doing and sharing, and putting Yahweh foremost in our lives.
   The question is, do we worship "me" first and Yahweh second (or not at all) by our unwillingness to return a tenth part of what is rightfully all of His to begin with? Let Him not charge us of robbing the Most High of His portion. To do so is theft of the HIGHEST proportions.

-Elder Donald R. Mansager (deceased)

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