Double Blessing by Mark Batterson
2020, book 35: “It’s much easier to act like a Christian than react like one. You cannot control how people treat you but you can always control how you treat others.” — Mark Batterson
Finished on May 27, 2020
My grandmother first shared a Mark Batterson book with me a few years ago. I read the book Draw the Circle which was a prayer-oriented book as a follow up to the book The Circle Maker (you can find my thoughts about both on my website also). Since reading those, I saw this book of Mark’s pop up on Audible and thought it would be great to gain his perspective and understanding in this area. It was quite insightful to understand at a deeper level what his approach is on everything. He’s a very Bible-oriented man which is the type of person that I always look to.
This is a powerful statement. No matter what situation we are in — we must move. We cannot remain stagnant and wait and wait and wait for something that is waiting on us.
“We need to get under those things that God has put over us so we can get over the things God has put under us.” — Ed Young
No matter what situation we are in, or what we are experiencing, our foundation should remain. What do you do when the rain is pouring and the walls are falling down? It should not change or influence the way that we are treating others. Jesus led by example by saying to, “turn the other cheek.” When people attack us, when people wrong us, when things happen against us, it is NOT our place to incur justice. God is the avenger and will give justice in HIS time — whether on this earth or the next.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” — Romans 12:19 NIV
“Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.” — Proverbs 20:22 NIV
“It’s much easier to act like a Christian than react like one. You cannot control how people treat you but you can always control how you treat others.” — Mark Batterson
MORE responsibility. If you don’t want to work… you can do that. It’s simple — be bad at everything, quit, give up, and lean on others. People do that all the time and many people will save them time and time again. We can get help and get back to zero, but it’s tough to go beyond that — if not impossible — without claiming ownership for our actions and actually moving forward. When we do a good job with what we have, God will give us MORE. Those who can be trusted with little will be trusted with much. There is always going to be wealth, there are always going to be extensive resources, who is going to manage them? You? Me? Somebody else?
The most important thing about the parable of the three servants is what happened after the master returned. The master gave the servant with five talents MORE work. “With each blessing comes a greater responsibility.”
“Anything you think you own probably owns you.” That’s a strong statement but if you look at your life without bias, I’m sure that you could see this is the case. There are many things that we think we can control. People will say that with drinking, with sex, with cheating, with stealing, or so many other things. “Oh I only steal gum at the store.” Maybe today, but you might want to review what the Bible says about giving the devil a foothold.
It’s all from God and it’s all for God, that’s the beginning of the double blessing. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. That means we don’t own anything. In fact, anything you think you own probably owns you, even your talent is on loan from God. That’s what gives us the ability to produce wealth. What God does for us is never just got us. It’s ultimately for others.
If you can read the following statement and not feel as though you are stabbing yourself in the heart then you are doing much much better than I am. I ground myself in the Word and in prayer every morning and still feel as though there are extensive levels of my potential that I am not taking advantage of in the way that God desires.
“Your greatest asset will become your greatest liability if you don’t use it for God’s purposes.” — Mark Batterson
As God’s creation, we want to remain in the blessing. We want to remain in a position from which we can hear God clearly. Sometimes God will speak, other times nudge, and other times direct. Robert Morris remarks, “Hearing from God isn’t hard or complicated. The Spirit wants you to know God’s will and ways. He is always speaking. The voice of the Spirit is rarely a loud or booming voice. It’s usually a very soft impression. And, frankly, you can talk yourself out of it.”
Wow. If hearing God is that easy to miss, I need to do my absolute best to ensure that I am regularly in a posture of listening. We want to be able to hear God as often as we can so we can live out the purpose that He has created us for. Giving is good, giving regularly is better, giving sacrificially is even better, and giving all we have is best. It’s all about offering all we have to God and allowing Him to direct what we have. There is nowhere in the Bible where God says that His people should not have nice things. Money is not the root of evil, the LOVE of money is. We can see this all over the place in the world. There are numerous people who are rich and wealthy yet unhappy and unfulfilled.
To grow in the grace of giving:
1. Give spontaneously, you must create financial margin to meet needs and opportunities when the Holy Spirit prompts you to do so.
2. Giving consistently, establish consistent habits, daily disciplines, and regular habits.
3. Giving proportionately, to give this way you can’t think in terms of dollar amounts, you must think in proportion to what you have.
4. Giving radically, over and above the 10% tithe. A free will offering with an abundance mindset. Giving above and beyond your ability.
These 4 levels of generosity must be applied to time and talent as well as treasure.
There are so many aspects of giving — like those 4 levels that are God-driven and heart motivated. Yet, the regular giving is essential. We want to ensure that we are regular and consistent with what we are doing. The story of Cain and Abel is a great example of this. God desires our first fruits — not our second best, not our leftovers, none of that. He created it ALL, so God asks (and really commands) our first fruits. “Thou shalt have no other gods above me.” — Exodus 3:5 KJV
Tithing is trusting. It’s as simple and as biblical as that and those two tango. Tithing is the best way to keep greed in check.
This was a great book and now, rereading my notes, I feel the strong desire to reread a Mark Batterson book again. I’ll probably look to begin one of the prayer books in the coming weeks. As with all teachings, I strive to look at everything directly with the Bible. People can always use scripture and misconstrue certain things or take parts of context, it’s essential that I maintain the right center through all that I’m learning and studying.