God Is a Rewarder, Not a Hoarder
Nothing is more important about us than our image of who God is. Satan understood this from the beginning of creation. His seductive scheme with Eve focused on tempting her to believe that God was a Shalt-Not-God.
Satan as the Grinch
In conveying the essence of faith in God, the author of Hebrews reminds us that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). In Soul Physicians, I develop this biblical truth by reminding readers that God is a Rewarder, not a Hoarder.
Satan want us to believe that God jealously hoards His blessings. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Of course, God said something entirely different. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Satan’s original lie continues through the ages. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). So just what demonic deceptions is Paul talking about? “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods.” What? Paul calls that deceptive demonic doctrine? Why?
God As the Eternal Gift Giver
Because God who is a Rewarder created marriage and food “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:3-4).
James shares the same concern that Paul shares. In the context of people tempted to be enticed by sinful desires, James doesn’t counsel us not to desire. Instead, his biblical counsel is to remind warn us against demonic deception. “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-17).
And what good gift does the giving Father give His children? “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created” (James 1:18).
Am I Like Scrooge or Santa?
Interesting, isn’t it, that James makes a specific personal application. Those who see God as a Rewarder and not as a Hoarder should then be like God—the firstfruits of all He created. Like Father like son and daughter—we live out the image of God in us by being a Rewarder—a gift-giver, a Santa, a type of Christ; not a Hoarder—a Scrooge, a Grinch, a type of Satan.
Here’s the thing. When we believe that God is a Hoarder, then we believe that He limits His resources. And when we believe that God limits His resources, then we hoard our resources. We live life in a competitive mode and a miserly, selfish mood.
When we believe that God is a Rewarder, then we understand that He lavishes His unlimited resources. We believe that He can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). And when we believe that God lavishes His unlimited resources, then we give away our resources. We don’t see others are our competitors but as our teammates and family. We live life in a sharing mode and a giving, unselfish mood and spirit.
Walking the Talk
In leading RPM Ministries, I’ve tried to walk the talk and practice what I preach. I mean, it’s fine for me to write that God is a Rewarder and not a Hoarder, but am I eating my own dog food? Am I living out what I say I believe?
I’ve tried to do so by writing affirming, fair and balanced book reviews about other people’s books—books that some people might see as competitors to my own books. But, by God’s grace, I don’t see books on similar topics as competitors but as complimentary and as God’s gift to the church.
I’ve tried to practice what I preach with RPM Ministries by posting my weekly The Best of the Best Around the Christian Net. I link you to the top five Christian blog posts of the week. Some might see those websites as “competing” with RPM Ministries for your time, attention, focus, and loyalty. That’s Satan talking, not God.
I don’t share this to say, “Ain’t Bob grand.” I share this to say, “Ain’t God a grand Giver!” And to say, “Shouldn’t we give also?”
Does that mean that we give in order to get? That we give so that we can manipulate God into giving us back ten-fold what we have given? That’s not God’s economy. God doesn’t promise some health and wealth gospel.
God’s reward is not first and foremost a material reward or a temporal reward. His reward is spiritual and eternal as James already reminded us—new birth. But as the Giver of new birth, God the Father never abandons His children. Because I believe that, I give away book reviews, and shout-outs to other web sites, and hundreds of free resources—because God has never failed to provide for me.
What About You?
What’s your image of God—a Rewarder or a Hoarder?
If your image of God is a Rewarder, then how do you show it, demonstrate it? Where are you giving more than you get? Who are you sacrificing for, without any demand that they give back to you in return?
Join the Conversation
This Christmas season, how will you demonstrate that you believe that God is a Rewarder and not a Hoarder?