The Blessed Life by Robert Morris
2020, book #20: “People who have the gift of giving don’t want to be a Band-Aid — they want to be a cure.” — Robert Morris
Finished on March 29, 2020
This is one of the books on my annual reading list. It’s one that is always impactful in a different way than the time before. There were a few major changes in recent years that were inspired by this book. One, giving to God’s people first and directing a portion of my income to Jewish organizations as a Christian man. Second, seeking out opportunities to give and be generous at unforeseen occasions — sometimes giving the waiter or waitress a 50% tip or sometimes giving money to someone at the side of the road. It’s all about following God’s guidance and seeking His direction.
In much the same way, since I first started working at age 16, I have always given a tithe. Initially, it was on the money that touched my accounts, and now it’s the gross. Regardless, I’ve never had such a surplus. The more I give, the more I have left over. Sometimes people say I shouldn’t give so much but they don’t serve the same master. None of what I have is mine — I must be the best steward of these resources that I can be.
Pg. 18, As a traveling evangelist, all of my income came from the love offerings I received from the churches in which I preached. In those years, my income from offerings might be $800 one week and $200 the next. Debbie and I just never knew. But early in our marriage, we had learned to trust God where our finances were concerned.
We were diligent tithers. God had spoken clearly to us about the principle of the tithe several years earlier. And ever since we began honoring the Lord by giving the first tenth of everything that came in, our needs have always been met — sometimes miraculously.
This is such a simple yet powerful explanation. It’s all about living for God and giving Him all that we have. This life on earth is short, we must make it count.
Pg. 27, Before we continue, I should probably define terms. What do I mean by “the blessed life?” What does a life filled with blessing look like?
Being “blessed” means having supernatural power working for you. By contrast, being “cursed” means having supernatural power working against you.
Amen to this. Nothing to add, I just nod and soak it in every single time I read this. I know that my investments could be drastically higher if I were to give less right now but I also know my heart will be at a much better point if I continue to give as I am.
Pg. 33, It always requires faith to give the first. That’s why so few Christians experience the blessings of tithing. It means giving to God before you see if you’re going to have enough. By tithing, it is as if we are saying to God, “I recognize You first. I am putting You first in my life, and I trust You to take care of the rest of the things in my life.”
It’s a question that most cannot even fathom. Even amongst Christians, the annual giving rate is something like 2 or 3%. That’s ridiculously low. Who are you really worshipping?
Pg. 62, Can you imagine what the Body of Christ could accomplish if every believer tithed? What kind of impact the Church could have on our culture and on cultures around the world if heaps would begin to accumulate in our houses of worship? How much more effective your pastor could be if he had a support staff that liberated him to devote his time to the Word and prayer?
It’s tough. Many people think that Christians shouldn’t have nice things. Why not? Are we called to a life of poverty? Nothing like that, be a good steward and “those who can be trusted with little will be trusted with much.”
Pg. 91, Isn’t it amazing that so many of God’s people feel as if they must explain away the presence of anything good or nice in their lives; or if anyone compliments them on something, they feel compelled to justify it?
My friend, you don’t have to justify your purchases to anyone but God. If God gives you peace about buying something, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks about it!
If you don’t have these answers, that’s ok. The next time someone upsets you, be aware. Where are you focusing? There’s your answer. Don’t try to simply solve things on your own — go to God.
Pg. 92, God wants us to go after Him. It is the theme of this book: It’s the heart that matters.
How can you know where your heart is? First, ask yourself these questions: Am I looking to God or to people to meet my needs? Do I get angry or resentful with people who don’t help me as I want them to? Do I blame others for my circumstances?
Every single time I read this book, I read the following segment multiple times. I know that I sometimes have things that others might wish they had, it’s easy to strive to justify yourself and give reasons for having something that you enjoy and worked hard for, so why do we do it? Poverty mindset. Maybe it’s pride. Whatever it is, just say thank you and give glory where it’s due. No other justification or reasoning needed.
Pg. 92, Here are some tests to help you discern the difference between pride, poverty, and gratitude:
When you think about your situation in life…
Pride says, “I deserve more!”
Poverty says, “I should feel guilty.”
Gratitude says, “Thank you!” (Gratitude is an attitude of thankfulness that always acknowledges God’s provision.)
When someone says, “Wow, you have a nice house!”
Pride says, “We were going to build a bigger one.”
Poverty says, “It was a foreclosure.”
Gratitude says, “Thank you. The Lord has blessed us!”
When someone says, “That’s a nice suit!”
Pride says, “It’s tailor-made.”
Poverty says, “It was half price.”
Gratitude says, “Thank you!”
When someone says, “That’s a nice car!”
Pride says, “I’ve got three of them!”
Poverty says, “It’s a company car.”
Gratitude says, “Thank you!”
Pride wants people to think that we paid more. Poverty wants people to think that we paid less. Gratitude doesn’t care what people think; it only cares what God thinks! How about just telling the truth? When someone remarks about something you exercise stewardship over, just tell the truth and be grateful.
A strong prayer that takes a vulnerable heart. Remember that we did not get to where we are on our own. We did not create ourselves nor did we decide what to be interested in — God knew your every step before you were formed in the womb.
Pg. 94, Dear God, please forgive me for being selfish, prideful and covetous. Please forgive me for listening to the unholy spirits of mammon, pride and poverty. Lord, I ask You to break them off of me, off of my family and off of my descendants. And help me, from this day forward, to be a generous, extravagant giver to the kingdom of God. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
There’s a fine balance between relying on God and trying to get everything on our own. We need to prepare and develop skills for what God has for us but we also should not take matters into our own hands. It’s something I’m learning and being reminded of on a daily basis.
Pg. 123, People who operate in the gift of giving have the ability to discern manipulation in others quite quickly. And the Lord will not allow them to reward manipulation.
To be blunt, manipulation is a form of witchcraft. It’s relying on our ability to speak and persuade rather than on God’s ability to speak and persuade. God can get provision to you without your manipulative help!
Love this. Love the message behind the passage also. We need to remember that there is no benefit of fixing something that’s going to break again. There’s no reason to fill a pool with a hole in the side. Why pour money and resources into something that is not going to improve and become better before the next time?
Pg. 146, People who have the gift of giving don’t want to be a Band-Aid — they want to be a cure. In other words, they don’t want their money just to provide a short-term fix of something that is going to break again. They want it to bring lasting solutions to situations.
A beautiful beautiful example of strong stewardship. It’s one thing to do everything that is agreed to, but it’s another entirely to go above and beyond. Much like the following example, what if God puts it on your heart to tithe? And then you prayerfully consider upping that to 15%? You think God is going to say no? I don’t. I think He would gladly accept your additional generosity and bless you further as a result (but the heart must be in the right spot or it’s all for naught).
Pg. 152, Shortly (after Robert’s son moved into a different apartment during college), he called and said, “It’s working out like we thought; you can lower the amount you’re sending me now.”
Do you know what I did? I kept sending the same amount to him. I said, “Thanks, Son, but now you’ll just have more spending money. You’ve been a good steward, and I want you to be rewarded. You should enjoy the benefits of your good stewardship.”
According to Matthew 6, God rewards us when we pray or fast or give to the poor. And in 1 Corinthians, we find:
“Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” — 1 Corinthians 3:8 NLT
Prayerfully consider the following before continuing on:
Pg. 157, When the Lord returns, will He find you being a good and faithful steward? Are you doing the best with what God has given you? Do you know where your money is going every month? Are you tithing, giving, witnessing and praying?
I think that this is valuable also. We need to be good stewards of what God gives us — that’s money, that’s our mind, that’s our family. How are we doing in those core areas?
Pg. 183, As a pastor, I deliberately follow God’s example. This may shock some people, but I will never give a person a leadership in the church if he or she can’t handle money.
Frankly, you can what? Talk yourself out of it. It’s far too easy. But remember, God wants us to draw NEAR to Him. We wouldn’t have to do that if the Holy Spirit was speaking in an unmistakably loud voice. We need to seek God. We need to seek His direction. It’s not enough to simply go to church on Sundays, we need to SEEK.
Pg. 193, 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.
As I mentioned in the very beginning, this is something that was put on my heart after reading this book for the very first time. I prayerfully considered it and spent time in prayer with God. He led me to give to a few different organizations, and today, I continue giving to them. They’re all aware of my reasons for giving as I do and they’re all grateful for the support I provide. And I must say, my heart feels wonderful and excited every single time.
Pg. 209, God’s Order: “To the Jew First”
The first year we started Gateway Church, we began to give to Jewish evangelism — first. Before we give to any other ministries or missionaries, we give to Jewish evangelism. It’s such a priority with me that I told our business pastor, “On the first day of every month, I want you to write a check to such-and-such Jewish ministry. I want you to do it on January 1, February 1, March 1, April 1, throughout the year. Make sure the very first check we write each month is not to the electric company or even to pay the staff — the first check we write is for Jewish evangelism.”
I have heard numerous opinions about the following passage — I’m sure that if you’ve thought about what happens to Jewish people after death, you have too. What happens? What is God’s plan? That’s a great question and the Bible is not abundantly clear. The last portion of this is so incredibly important, “I’d rather temporarily offend them than deliver them to an eternity in hell.” That’s the ending for me. Give to God first, live for God always, and lead others to God every single day. Be a good steward with what is within your entrustment and become just a little bit better every single day.
Pg. 215, In the last generation, however, God has stirred the hearts of believers. We have begun to love Israel and to see that God still has a plan for them. More Jews have accepted Jesus in the last 40 years than in the previous 1,960 or so combined. Jews are coming to Jesus all over the world. Every month in Gateway’s Messianic service, Jews are accepting Christ. That was unheard of only a few decades ago. The revival has begun.
But here’s the latest lie of Satan: He’s telling the Church that Jewish people don’t need to accept Christ — they’re going to be saved anyway. Books are being published that promote this lie, and a few popular Bible teachers are teaching it.
I do believe Israel will be saved, but not apart from Jesus. Jesus looked at a Jewish leader named Nicodemus and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (Matthew 3:5–7). Jesus said to the Jewish apostles, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Jewish people must accept Jesus. Satan says, “You’ll offend them.” Well, I’d rather temporarily offend them than deliver them to an eternity in hell.