Creflo Dollar - Giving in Partnership and Fellowship
Then he goes on verse 9. He says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich". Powerful Scripture. I wanna make sure you understand what he is saying here, because it's doing two things. Whether you look at this figuratively or if you look at this literally, you're still gonna get the same truth out of it. I wanna read the Mirror Translation before I dive into this. In verse 9 he says, "You are acquainted with what the grace of our Lord Jesus communicates. He exchanges his riches for our poverty. The depth of his poverty became the reference to our wealth. Everything he had is now ours".
Now, listen to me carefully. You got a couple of ways you can look at this. The fact that, you know, Jesus came from a much greater place down to earth and, in a sense, that would be a demotion kinda like because of where he was. That he became poor in coming here to allow us to be able to go there and become rich in what he had. And most people are so afraid of the other side that they've been comfortable with just, you know, figuratively defining it like that, but, ladies and gentlemen, there was an exchange no matter how you look at it. If you'll take some time to do some study and translate some of these words, you will found out that it also moved Jesus to a place, in some Scriptures, where he gave up what he had, became poor physically so that somebody he was ministering to could have something.
Gave up what he had, so here's the point I'm trying to make. That because of what Jesus has done, whether you are satisfied with a figurative interpretation or a literal interpretation, either way, he gave up poverty in every realm so that you can be rich in every realm, and that includes this physical natural realm, as well. People hesitate to say that. They don't wanna say that, but I wanna give you hope tonight that if you're on welfare, Jesus has made an exchange, and you don't have to stay there. He wants you to fare well based on the exchange that he made on the cross. He became poor so that through his poverty you might become rich. And they hate, "You know, you're giving those people false hope".
Well, listen, if I'd never heard that I'd have never pursued it. You know, here's what I've understood. Christian people don't get what they desire. They only get what they believe. Now, you can desire all day long, but you don't get what you desire. You get what you believe, and when you don't believe something, then the only thing that can limit God is your unbelief in the promises that he's made. If God has made you a promise, then the next thing you gotta do is, "I gotta believe that promise". And when you make your mind up to believe that promise, Christians get what they believe, glory be to God, but they don't get what they desire. You can go home and desire all night long a certain thing, and you won't get what you desire, 'cause you can't get what you desire unless you believe what it is you desire.
And so, say it loud, "I don't get what I desire. I get what I believe, and I believe the promises of God," amen. It's just something about, somebody says, "Well, how does that work"? It's just something about getting that Word, getting that promise on your mind and keeping it there. That's the most powerful thing we can do as Christian people: find out what the promise is and get it on your mind and keep it there. So, what's the battle? The battle is now trying to use different things to try to get the promise off your mind. You have to understand how this whole thing works. Satan's ultimate job is to try to attack your mind, to get your mind focused on something else, so you don't keep your mind focused on that which is about to come to pass in your life. Glory be to God.
So, discover the Scripture, get your mind on the Scripture, keep your mind on the Scripture, and watch and see some things begin to happen in your life. This Christian life is real simple, ladies and gentlemen. It doesn't take all of the extravagant, religious excerpts that we try to put forth to try to get something come to pass. It's just a matter of, "I just found out that that's mine, I'mma keep that on my mind, and I'm not gonna let it go until I get it," 'cause Christians don't get what they desire, they get what they believe, amen?
And so, I believe that. I believe in any area of my life where there is poverty or lack that Jesus has made the exchange, and I have a right as the righteousness of God to believe that. I have a right as a righteousness of God to receive that. It has been presented to me through his grace. I take it, and I believe it, and let the world try to talk me out of it, but I'm not gonna let it go. Poverty is not the will of God. It has never been the will of God. It will never be the will of God. In fact, the old covenant says that poverty is a curse. Please explain to me how if poverty is a curse that it's the will of God, and he's the one that delivered you from the curse.
Poverty is a curse, and the day you realize it's a curse you won't tolerate it, praise God? And he died on that cross, and it also makes prosperity a part of the finished works of Jesus Christ. It also makes prosperity in the same category as your healing, as your deliverance, as your salvation, but if you don't believe it then you won't see it. And that's what's happened to this world, is that they've been talked out of a piece of the pie that belongs to them. If you look at the pie, there's only one piece there, and that's that little prosperity piece, because they don't think they're worthy, or they don't wanna be all of the other things they talk about, you know?
I'm just trying to change your mind. I'm just saying, you know, 34 years ago I'd have said something to you, "You know, with your broke self and if you wanna be po', fine," dah-dah-dah. But no, none of that stuff work. I'mma just keep getting it and build your faith up, build your faith up, build your faith up. Get it on your mind. Show you what the Scriptures say in context. And who knows, you might have a dream and wake up, "I believe". And the angels be like, "Goddog, about time". Okay, look at verse 10. He says, "And therein I give my advice".
Now, notice again not "my commandment". Notice again "my advice". Notice again "my encouragement," not "my commandment". You can't take this and turn it into a commandment and then start preaching it to people, 'cause you put 'em back under the law. 'Cause the whole point is I give my heart to God, and I'm giving up because I love, and I'm having an opportunity to show the sincerity of my love. That's the whole point of it. "And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be willing a whole year ago".
And again, he's trying to encourage those guys at Corinth to be willing to go ahead and get involved in this. Come on and come through with it. Verse 11, "Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which you have". So, he says let's add some action to it now. The Mirror Bible says, "It can only be to your own advantage if you would now also complete your willingness by reaching into your resources and giving liberally according to your means".
So, he says, you know, you can sit and say "amen" all day long, but it's only going to be to your advantage if you would now also complete your willingness, so it's like you can't go around and be just willing. It's not gonna be to your advantage to want to. It's not gonna be to your advantage to say, "Well, I would really like to". It's only gonna be to your advantage, and I like what the Mirror says here, and I'mma say it like I wanna say. He says, "It can only be to your own advantage if you would now also reach in your pocketbook and pull out some money".
That's what he said, didn't he? In other words, the performance also has to come forth in order for you to begin to see what he's talking about here. Verse 12, "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not". The willingness of heart is matched by what someone is able to give. I mean, it is one thing to be willing to give a million dollars, but if you haven't got a million dollars then at least give the ten you do have.
In other words, he's only saying, "Man, you know, you can only give what you have to give". Verse 13, "For I mean not that other men be eased, and that you be burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, and that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality," equality in sharing the stress, equality in sharing the load of what's going on in that ministry to the poor.
Now, he goes on here, let me read this in the Mirror Bible again, verse 12 and verse 13 and 14. He says, "I'm not suggesting that others must be eased at your expense. The idea is that everyone should always have enough. Your abundance can now bring immediate relief to them and vice versa". It can bring immediate relief to you if you're in that situation. I think we have to begin to teach this because you'll see later on how Paul was really saying those who are the household of faith, and I don't think people should have to quit coming to church because they're having a hard time. I think as we learn how to put things away and put things aside, that we're always in a position to give what we have, except we just don't put things aside.
We're so busy trying to believe God for wealth and riches, we don't even know how to manage our money. We don't know how to make a budget. We don't know how to choose the right car or choose the right house or choose the right thing for you. Sometimes your taste gets a little bit expensive and, like I said before, your investment is a whole lot lower than your expectations. Your investments are low and your expectations are really, really high, and they don't match the investment at all. There just comes a time where people are growing and they begin to move that you understand how to take those steps. You understand that you're not gonna drive that particular car always, but for right now, on my way to this thing, I'm gonna drive this.
And you don't have to... you know, you can find a neighborhood where you have safe housing that's affordable, that you can live in, and you might have to pay a little bit more gas. There's lots of little things you can do, but you've got to be smart enough to start off with those things right there. You just can't ignore the practical that God has put in your life and try to bypass the practical by becoming so spiritual that you're no earthly good, and it does make sense to be able to keep up with what you're spending.
It does make sense not to take your check and go cash it and walk around with a pocket full of cash, because you're talking about a quick way to spend money, is when you have it in cash. Can I get a witness? Looking like a drug dealer walking around with all that money in your car. It's just little things like that. It's little things like that. I mean, what are you doing with three cellphones, you know? Get one cellphone, and a cheap one at that, because you know where you are. Don't go around take a Scripture and say, "Well, my God said that I'm rich in houses and land". Boy, you ain't even got an apartment yet. Be rich in an apartment first, okay? Be rich in an apartment. Stack your money. Get your stuff ready to go. Plan, you know? You gotta have some plans, you know, a short-term plan, short-term goals, and then long-term goals.
I see y'all looking at me, "I ain't come here to hear all that," but, see, a lot of your problem ain't the devil. It's just bad decision-making. It's just bad planning and bad decision-making and not thinking about, you know, doing stuff, and sometimes there are some people who spend money that they don't even have yet. Somebody promised you a contract, and they were gonna do that, and you just go all out. You just got to back up. I guarantee you there's... you know what I'm talking about. You regret when you blew through $100,000, and that could have been your house right there. That could have been your car right there. Oh, I got a witness over here on the right side? Amen.
And like I said before, when you're told to listen to your elders, it's not because they're perfect. It's because they have a whole lot of experience at making mistakes. Are y'all listening to me? So, it's those kinda things: understanding how to balance your checkbook, understanding that you don't have to be at one bank if they don't give you free checking. Somebody would love to have your business and give you free checking, knowing that when you order checks or when you go by the machine, that there's gonna be a fee, and you gotta take it out of your bank book so you can keep up with a perfect balance of what's going on, 'cause you need to always know where you're located at all times.
Know where you're located, but imagine if you could reduce your life down to living by 80% of what you have, and you've got 20% left over to give and to pay yourself. You have something that you can plan on doing, but sometimes we want it. This is the kind of generation and society we're living in. We want it, and I mean we want it rat, R-A-T, now. We want it rat now. "Oh, I got a deal on this gigantic house". But do you understand the maintenance on that gigantic house? Yeah, they got it for you cheap, but that house gonna have to be... And if you bought it for cheap there's probably a whole lot wrong. Probably a whole lot going on with the house that you ain't gonna know until it rain.
These are the commonsense type of things. That I believe if you accomplish those things first, then I think you'll begin to see even more and experience more the supernatural that God has. I mean, I remember when Taffi and I first got married. We were living off Riverdale Road, and I think they're called River Glen Apartments. And, you know, I rented furniture. I bought Wolfman Jack dinette set, with the little chairs that are made out of iron. When you sit on 'em, after a while they start getting lower and lower and lower. We had wicker furniture, wicker backboard, the little wicker hearts with the little stem at the top of it, and you put 'em all over the room in little plastic, little tables for end tables. And you gotta do what you got to do, but we know we were just visiting there.
Come on, somebody, so you gotta understand when you're just a visitor, and right where some of y'all are, you're just visiting. You're just visiting. That is not your abode. You are visiting there on your way to destiny. You know, destiny has a very interesting way of releasing servants that will help usher you to the place where you're supposed to be, and sometimes those servants are hard times and sometimes those servants is falling on your face and sometimes those servants is making a bad decision. But, you know, if you'll put it all together and just take heed to the things that have happened in your life and become smarter with what you have and listen to people who've been here longer than you. I gotta say that one more time. Listen to people that have been here longer that you, 'cause they most likely have seen stuff happen two, three times. Listen. Listen, amen?
All right, help me. What verse? Let's see, verse 15, right? Okay, so the equality was that we wanna, you know, we wanna all come together and be equal in what we do to help other people so that we can all be blessed. He says, "As it is written, he that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack". That's how it ought to be, especially in our church, especially in our church, especially in our church. You know, I'm not the kind of pastor that wants to spend a lot of time going overseas looking for the poor. I got some right here in College Park. You understand what I'm saying?
Not that we won't do that, but you have to pay attention to what's right in your church, what's right down the street, what's right around the corner, those kind of things, and we have to be a church without walls to be able to see that. Verse 16, "But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the hearts of Titus for you," so Titus got this same heart of wanting to bless the poor. "For indeed, he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brethren".
So now, Macedonia is saying, "Look, we're gonna send somebody with you, because, you know, we wanna make sure that everything is happening just like you say it's gonna happen". Say, "Accountability". "And we sent him the brethren, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; and not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us".
And so, they were concerned about accountability, and that's important. The fact that, you know, we don't want to be, you know, not accountable to somebody, and that's so, people are gonna talk, but you gotta make sure you have accountability with the money, with the finances. You know, there is no law that says a church has to have an audit. In fact, an audit can be very expensive. Our audits, you know, every year are what? A hundred thousand dollars or more. Depends on what kind of year it was, but there is no law to do it, and there are lots of churches who don't do it, but this is not one of 'em.
With a last name like "Dollar," I can't afford not to have an audit, which means, you know, even on our board of directors we have compensation committees. We have ethics committee, and there is one more. I can't think of it, either. Compensation, ethics. See, we have a ethics committee that goes around and check with people to find out if they know or have seen anything under the hand that has been taking place. That's important to me. It's important for me to have an audit done so that that audit can be seen, not by the public, not by the news media, but by members who have given their heart to God and to this church who would like to know, "Well, did that happen"? Yeah, it did happen, and we paid money to make sure that everything is in the row and everything is doing what it's supposed to be doing.
So, you ask me why can I be so bold? It's because, number one, I know Taffi and I are above board. But, number two, that we take the time to make sure that this ministry is operating above board by having an audit done on it and making sure that people, I've never even seen, like, money that's taken up. I don't know where it is. I don't know exactly where it goes. I prefer for somebody else to know that and be accountable. I know when it's missing, though. I know by the Holy Ghost when it's missing. You ain't got to show me nothing. I can wake up in the middle of the night and say, "Something wrong. Something ain't right".
And we did that one time with one of our churches, and I knew, I mean, I'm not even there every weekend, but I knew at that particular church, something was not right, and it turned out it wasn't, and it was corrected immediately. But I'll tell you what, man, it's above board. You can't count the money on a coffee table and then throw it in your trunk and that's not accountability, and that's what Paul was saying. They chose a person to go with them so that they could come back and bring the report of the money and that it was being used for what it was being used to accomplish.
I still think that's important. I think it's something that has to be done. We will continue to get our audit until Jesus come, because if that audit report is not right, then, you know, somebody's got to give an account of what wasn't right. And that's why we have it, because it's too precious for things that are going on in this world. I like when people call, this one lady called one time, and she says, "I want my money back". I said, "Ma'am, I'd love to give it back to you, but it's gone". She said, "What are you talking about"?
I said, "Some people think this is like a bank, that we get money and it's in a bank somewhere. It's gone. It ain't even nothing to rob. It ain't even here no more. As soon as it come in it's gone". "What do you mean it's gone? It's just Monday". "It left early Monday morning". Early Monday morning, amen? Then he goes on here, and he says, verse 21, "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men". That was important to Paul. Not honesty and integrity just in the eyes of God, but also in the eyes of men.