November is open enrollment season.
It’s the time when employees double-check their company sponsored benefits and make any necessary adjustments.The benefit packages at some companies are awesome. However, it is up to the employees to leverage the benefits available to them.
Many benefits are forfeited each year.
Are you aware that less than 10% of employees use tuition assistance when it is available to them (WSJ)?
Americans are leaving $24 billion in available 401(k) matches on the table each year.
There were 658 million unused vacation days in 2015!
We do a poor job of taking advantage of our benefits. Vacation time is unused and money is left on the table.
Regrettably, we’re not much better in The Church. I want to change that today.
Psalm 103 is a benefit summary.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1-5).
Boy, Change Your Drawers
The psalmist indicates that these benefits are God’s. Interesting. They are God’s benefits but He gives them to us.
When I was a little tyke my mother had a common phrase she would share with my brothers and me. Perhaps your mother shared a similar statement. She would say, “Boys, make sure you are have on clean underwear before you leave this house!”
Why do you suppose she was concerned about our underwear?
She continued, “If you end up in the emergency room I don’t want you wearing ratty old skivvies!” You see, it was for her benefit. We reflected our mother. Just as we, as Christians, reflect The Most High God.
Shouldn’t we be fully satisfied with whatever we have in life? Yes, to a certain degree we should. However, most of the financial issues we have are not because God is working overtime to keep us poor. No, many of our money mistakes are self-inflicted. If we’re the cause of our monetary missteps, then something needs to change. We need to change.
God Is Loading Us With Benefits.. Daily
Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah (Psalm 68:19)
According to David, God is daily loading us with benefits.
Most businesses are cutting back on benefits. God is not cutting back. He is LOADING us with benefits on a daily basis.
When I think of the word “loading” I picture a dump truck making a delivery! We can very easily refuse God’s benefits or we can receive them with grace and gratitude and use them to be a blessing. The choice is ours.
What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people (Psalm 116:12-14).
The writer of Psalm 116 did not say, “Oh, I am unworthy of God’s benefits. I just want to get to heaven.” No, he said, “I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord!”
Remember, these are HIS benefits!
There are hundreds of benefits! Some are spiritual and some are practical. Today, I will focus on the practical.
Benefit #1 – The Blessing Of Abraham
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law so that the blessing of Abraham could come upon us. Yes, there is a spiritual component to the blessing of Abraham but it’s not exclusively spiritual. There is also a material blessing that can be found in the 12th chapter of Genesis.
God gave Abram some specific instructions and then told him, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing (Genesis 12:2). We’re called to be a blessing. Shortly after this encounter with God, we are told that Abram “was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold (Genesis 13:2). The blessing that God proclaimed, began to take root in Abram’s life. The blessing included his children as well.
Isaac, Abraham’s son, began to prosper, he continued to prosper, and then he became very prosperous. Isaac’s wealth was so vast that we’re told that the Philistines envied him. Envy is never our goal, but the illustration remains. The blessing continued with Jacob. Jesus brought us into the blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:13-14). I encourage you to remain open to it.
Benefit #2 – The Power To Get Wealth
We learn in Deuteronomy 8:18 that God has empowered us to produce wealth.
Consider the idea for a moment that the God of the universe has give you the power to generate wealth. Isn’t that a remarkable idea? Why would He empower us to produce wealth? The answer is provided in the same verse, “that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers.” What does that even mean?
I’ve heard people indicate that the covenant is salvation and that wealth is needed to fund the Gospel. That is very possible. I woke up to today with an urgent message from a medical team from my church. The team is in Haiti doing great work. There was a financial need to fund an emergency surgery that could not be done in their pop-up clinic. I was able to give towards that surgery as were others. I have no doubt that the surgery was paid in full.
Could it be more though?
Contextually God is speaking to Moses in the book of Deuteronomy. God declared, “that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers.” I suggest that the fathers mentioned in this verse are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Recall, that God stated that He would bless them and they would be a blessing.
Benefit #3 – Lord, Teach Me To Profit
Power is great but it is not enough. I could be on a work crew with a powerful machine but if I had no idea how to use it, it could be catastrophic! I would need someone to teach me how to use the machine. God empowers us and teaches us!
The prophet Isaiah wrote the following: “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.'”
God knows it all. I realize that in our modern society we are persuaded that Google has all of the answers, but that is not the case. God has the answer to your work problem, your marriage issue, and anything else you can imagine. We must take the time for Him to speak to us and then to have the courage to act upon what is revealed.
Benefit #4 – The Blessing Of The Lord
According to Solomon in Proverbs 10:22, “the blessing of the Lord makes one rich and adds no sorrow with it.”
Not only do we have the blessing of Abraham, but we also have the Blessing of the Lord! Sometimes this all seems too good to be true. Notice that the writer clearly states that this blessing makes one rich and adds no sorrow with it.
This blessing comes from the Father of Lights. This is another one of His benefits that He is daily loading upon us. God further encourages us in Deuteronomy 28 that the blessing will come upon us and overtake us. Plus, there is no sorrow.
Benefit #5 – Wisdom
Wisdom operates closely with benefit #3.
We’re told in Proverbs 8 that with wisdom are enduring riches, honor and righteousness. I don’t always feel as though I am wise. There are many situations in which I struggle and need wisdom in order to solve difficult situations. Gratefully, God indicated that if I would simply ask, He would give it to me and not make fun of me!
We can also glean wisdom by surrounding ourselves with wise people rather than with fools (Proverbs 13:20). What if you don’t know any wise people? I suggest that you read books and listen to podcasts. Wisdom is the principal thing!
Benefit #6 – Prayer
James wrote that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Why don’t we open our financial issues up to God more often?
Jesus encouraged us to ask, to seek and to knock. The person that asks receives. If we don’t ask, we won’t receive. Why? Beats me, that’s the way that God designed it. I could bang my head against the wall in disagreement or I could follow His instructions by praying. I will pray.
Is it wrong to pray for financial provision? David, in Psalm 23, didn’t seem to think so.
The writer of Psalm 115 made bold proclamations of provision. Jabez, the obscure person mentioned in I Chronicles 4:10, asked for financial provision and God granted it.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said, “Give us this day our daily bread.” God is not obligated to answer prayers that are outside of His will. God, unlike most parents, is perfectly fine telling His children “no”.
Benefit #7 – Reciprocity
While the earth remains seedtime and harvest shall not cease (Genesis 8:22). As believers we’re called to radical generosity. In every biblical example I can recall, there is a promise attached to obedience and generosity. Does the process operate as linear as a physical garden, field, or orchard? Absolutely not. We sow naturally and the harvest returns to us supernaturally.
Personally, I’ve had years where we were sowing and giving and we didn’t notice a harvest. But then, when I looked back on my life, I could see where God supernaturally produced a harvest.
Should we give to get? I don’t know about that. Maybe we should just give and leave the harvest part to God. Father knows best.
In the letter to the church in Galatia, Paul stated, “whatever a man sows that will he also reap.” Let’s flip that scripture. “Whatever a person is reaping is a direct result of what that person has sown.”
Is your harvest a bit paltry? Perhaps it’s time to change your method of sowing.
Open Enrollment – Don’t Leave God’s Benefits On The Table
Look over Psalm 103 and determine if you’re leaving any benefits on the table. Are you leveraging everything that God has done for you?
Are you honoring His benefits and representing Him well? How about these seven benefits? Are you leaving anything on the table? Could we represent Him better on earth?
Remember, if you don’t use these benefits you will lose them.
One last thing. Don’t leave the house with holy underwear.