This issue marks the beginning of SMI's 24th year. As is our custom, we celebrate every July anniversary by highlighting the primary reason we exist: we want to help you have more so you can give more to share the gospel of Christ with the world.
As you give more generously, you more fully reflect God's life in you, for God is a giver. You make God happy (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). You testify to His sovereignty in your life and ownership of all that is yours to control (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). You reflect where your treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21). You show your complete trust in Him to supply for your needs (Philippians 4:17-19). You ensure greater spiritual usefulness (Luke 16:11-12). You reap eternal benefits (1 Timothy 6:18-19). And, most importantly, you bring Him glory (2 Corinthians 9:13).
For these reasons and many more, I want to inspire you to grow in your giving. I selected this month's cover article with that goal in mind. At first, it might seem like a strange choice for an investing newsletter. It doesn't speak about financial matters at all. But it does something more important. It powerfully reminds us of eternal riches and the unshakeable truth of Paul's admonition to "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). In the story of Svea Flood, we see an example of God's resolute determination to use our sacrifices for His glory.
That's what I want! Don't you? To see God use our lives for His glory? After all, that's why He made us. As John Piper put it in Desiring God:
God created us "in his image" so that we would image forth his glory in the world. We were made to be prisms refracting the light of God's glory into all of life. Why God should want to give us a share in shining with his glory is a great mystery. Call it grace or mercy or love — it is an unspeakable wonder. Once we were not. Then we existed for the glory of God!
Therefore it is the duty of every person to live for the glory of God. "So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). What does it mean to glorify God? It does not mean to make him more glorious. It means to acknowledge his glory, and to value it above all things, and to make it known. It implies heartfelt gratitude (Psalm 50:23). It also implies trust (Romans 4:20).
Let me encourage you — if your stewardship and your giving isn't sufficiently pointed in the direction of God's glory, change directions. Give at a level that truly reflects your gratitude and trust. Many churches and Christian organizations are operating on a diminishing base of support, yet are faced with ministering to a growing level of needs. As a consequence, fewer are hearing the gospel of Christ, fewer are being discipled in their faith, and fewer are receiving help with their physical needs. This is so unnecessary. If we who follow Christ would give as we are capable of giving — some only a tithe, others much more of our incomes — there would be a great abundance of funds to do God's work.
We're passing through this life for just a short time. The Bible says we're strangers, aliens on earth, citizens of "a better country — a heavenly one" (Hebrews 11). Svea Flood knew that. You and I know that. May our response to that truth be as wholehearted as hers as we keep our eyes on the prize:
For now, our life is a journey of high stakes and frequent danger. But we have turned the corner; the long years in exile are winding down and we are approaching home. There is no longer any question as to whether we will make it and if it will be good when we get there. "I am going there to prepare a place for you," Jesus promised. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me" (John 14:2-3).
One day soon we will round a bend in the road and our dreams will come true. We really will live happily ever after. The long years in exile will be swept away in the joyful tears of our arrival home.… All we long for we shall have; all we long to be, we will be.… And then real life begins.