From the Desks of Steve Shultz and Julie A. Smith:
Wisdom and wealth go hand-in-hand...especially in God's Kingdom, as He trusts us to "build" for Him.
However, when we build for Him, it doesn't always relate to an actual physical building, but it may mean building up His people and investing in them!
Joey LeTourneau shares an incredible story from his own life where God called him to let go of a physical building and invest in God's people instead:
As we prayed, God made it clear that the funds which would go toward maintaining the building would be far better invested in the people He was calling us to empower around the world, and not in the building... In order to keep moving forward in the new season, we had to change where we placed our investment, not in a building but in the 'true house' – the people we are called to empower.
Now that is true godly wisdom, and there's more of it below... This may very well be a new "blue print model" that God is calling many to build from in this season. (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Steve Shultz and Julie A. Smith, Co-Editors
Elijah List Publications
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Building the 'True House'
"Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 'Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?' Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Consider your ways!'" (Haggai 1:3-5)
Recently, our family and community had been graced with the use of a big building and property for our mission. The large building was in very poor condition (physically and spiritually) after sitting empty and abandoned for over seven years. Through lots of prayer, people, work and resources, God helped us rebuild one room at a time throughout the building. We saw a lot of longtime vision come to life.
We also saw a lot of discipleship, community and movement cultivated during that time, and doors started opening to go back out to the nations – toward people and communities who couldn't afford to come to us. At the same time, we heard from the owner of the building that our monthly costs were going to go up considerably and would actually be quadrupled. We had a choice to make, whether to stay in this building we had put so much work into restoring – where we had begun to build something with God – or to let it go and keep moving forward.
As we prayed, God made it clear that the funds which would go toward maintaining the building would be far better invested in the people He was calling us to empower around the world, and not in the building. We had such a peace that letting go of this building was not a step back, but it was actually a huge step forward – no matter what we had invested into it that previous year. He wanted us to take our investment and put it into those who were ready to go – to be sent – and those who wanted to multiply.
The building served its purpose for a time, but it was simply a 'petri dish' (a small, contained area where cultures may be started and grown), and eventually anything of true life must go beyond such a contained environment.
In order to keep moving forward in the new season, we had to change where we placed our investment, not in a building but in the 'true house' – the people we are called to empower. By doing this, I believe we will discover even greater fruit than what that building could have ever held. The same is true not just with a building, but with all parts of our lives, ministries, purposes and callings.
Sometimes we have to deconstruct what served us in the prior season in order to find God's new and revolutionary answers for the new season.
The Wealth of God's Investment Understood
"...the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1:18) (Photo via Pixabay)
This is a scripture I have prayed for many years, but recently I felt the Lord take me back to camp on it, and I declared it for a number of days. It came to life for me in a greater way through the New Spirit Filled Life Bible footnotes for Ephesians 1:18:
"Eyes of your understanding being enlightened literally means that your heart may receive the brightness of hope resulting when the wealth of God's investment in you is understood."
Simply put, we cannot fully see or understand the hope of our calling, or our commission to make disciples of all nations, until we first understand the "wealth of God's investment" in each person throughout the world, near and far. And we cannot see or go after the wealth that is hidden or stored in others until we recognize and become secure in the wealth He has already put within us. Otherwise, we will seek to build or prove our own wealth through platforms and ministries on the backs of people, rather than empowering those same people to go and multiply.
Going After the Gold in People
This question has to be asked by us all: Are we truly going after the wealth the Father has invested in people, or are we going after the surface numbers, platforms, following and influence that people provide us with? We may have to let go of whatever 'house' we are building in the name of the Kingdom in order to invest more fully in the people that are called to be God's Kingdom.
We can go after the wealth in people and the inheritance of the Father, like the parable of the treasure in the field, where the man went and sold all he owned in order to buy what was buried in that field (Matthew 13:44). What might that look like?
Look at Boaz and Ruth. Ruth was poor – a widow and a foreigner – so under the law at the time, Boaz could have just "ministered" to her by letting her glean from his field. But he went deeper than that. She wasn't just one of many; he loved her more abundantly, seeing the gold in her and bringing it out of her.
In Ruth 4, the "close relative" had his chance first, but he didn't redeem her because of what it might cost to his inheritance. But look at the inheritance he missed out on! Boaz didn't worry about what Ruth might cost him; he invested in the wealth he saw inside her. This eventually led to them having a son, Obed. Then Obed had a son named Jesse; Jesse went on to have a son named David, and David became the line of Christ. That's how God does some of His best building – through a family plan of multiplication and growing inheritance.
The Power of the Seed
It is difficult to count our fruit very well when it multiplies further than our eyes can see, but isn't that exactly the point? We should want more fruit than what we can count, see or gather; we should want impact that goes beyond what we can build or call our own, because it means that we really are building a bigger Kingdom than our own.
It's about learning to trust the power of the seed, rather than the immediacy of the apple. If I hold out my hands and offer a small seed, or a luscious apple, most people will choose the apple. They will eat it and throw away the core. The seed may have seemed too small and familiar. You need to have the vision of faith to see that inside the seed, there is a tree, and on that tree there are branches, and on those branches there are many apples! And within each of those apples, inside the core that we usually throw away, are many more seeds.
Unfortunately, it is common to build our "house" – whatever that is – according to the apple. But true discipleship lives by the seed, which creates many more apples for generations to come. (Photo via Unsplash)
This is very difficult to live out if we find our identity or value from our position, what we do or the external results that are attached to our lives. And that is exactly why Ephesians 1:18 tells us that when our eyes are opened, we will know the hope of our calling, and we can finally understand the wealth God has already stored up inside us. When we know this, we won't need to gather numbers or titles and more to prove our fruit; rather, we'll take our seed and invest it in the wealth God shows us, which He has buried in others.
The Great Multiplication
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
So what do we do? We fulfill our commission to make disciples of all nations the way Jesus made disciples. He discovered the wealth in a small, unlikely group and then invested in them – one person at a time – until He gave His life to invest in us all! Jesus didn't keep power; He constantly gave it away to send His disciples to carry out the Kingdom and multiply further.
By sending us His indwelling Spirit, He made a way for us to do the very same in an even greater way. He gave us everything we need to go after the wealth in others and invest in them the way He did. We just have to become so secure in the true wealth He has already put inside us that we can trust the process of long-term multiplication through others. In this way, we won't want to build our own ministries; we will want to help empower others to build theirs!
What will happen when we consistently make disciples like this? What will happen when we see value or growth through a heavenly lens, not an earthly one? What will happen when we leave our 'houses' and what we are building in order to invest in and empower those in whom the Father has stored up His greatest wealth?
The eyes of our understanding will be opened. After all the searching we have done, and the breakthroughs we have been waiting for, we will finally start to realize, truly, what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
There is a harvest of harvesters out there, in fields that are white for harvest. They might not find their way to our churches, conferences or ministries, but I pray we are secure enough to let go of our 'kingdoms' and go and find the wealth God has hidden in them!
A great awakening will become a great multiplication!
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Joey and Destiny LeTourneau¬†are parents of seven, and grandparents of one precious granddaughter. They are visionaries and pioneers who have lived and traveled all over the world, helping transform communities, cultures and nations by empowering people to discover and live out their unique, God-given purpose. They founded a missions school and movement – Freedom U – and have authored ten books, developed resources, curriculum and more. See their newest book release, Advance: Counter Cultural Leadership to Make Disciples of All Nations.
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