Do You Have a Living Trust? 11/14/99

Genesis 22:1-14

Jesus Christ said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6: 19 – 21).

Question: Where is your heart?

In dealing with Abraham God went right to the heart of the issue. Knowing Abraham’s treasure to be his only son Isaac, God tested Abraham. Keep in mind as the story is summarized the purpose is for God to let Abraham establish his loyalty and devotion.

God instructed Abraham to take the pride of his life, his son Isaac, to the land of Morian and offer him as a living sacrifice. Give it up, Abraham, give it up!

Early the next morning Abraham and Isaac set out to the mountain of sacrifice. When the altar was completed Abraham put Isaac on it and prepared to obey God by sacrificing him. As he lifted the knife God spoke: “And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me’” (Genesis 22:12).

God didn’t want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. He did want to see his willingness to sacrifice him. God at no time has sanctioned human sacrifice. Once Abraham evidenced his sacrificial heart God had accomplished what the experience was intended to achieve. Abraham had proven his devotion and loyalty.

What is your Isaac?

What would you find difficult to put on the altar and sacrifice to God? Tough question isn’t it?

In the world of finance there is a process used by some persons. All of the individuals wealth is put in a living trust which is managed for them. One form is called an irrevocable trust. Meaning once given it is not possible to take it back. Technically it then belongs to someone else. The individual continues to manage it and have the use of it through out life.

That’s the relationship Abraham had with God. That’s the relationship we need with God also. It means to put everything on the altar of sacrifice and give it to God. That includes such things as your car, your house, your bank account, your friendships, your family, and all favorite items. Make it an irrevocable trust belonging to the Lord.

Then if something happens to your car you can say, “God, this car I gave you isn’t working. It is yours and if that is the way you want it that’s OK with me. Bless me as I seek your solution to this need.”

“God this job I gave you is over. I’ve been terminated. If that’s the way you want it OK. I look forward to your replacement. Bless me as I seek your replacement.”

That helps avoid bitterness when things go wrong.

What is the Isaac you don’t want to put in that living trust?

We gain sweet release when we transfer ownership of every possession to God. Every! That means our time, family, education, material possessions, finances, and every earning potential.

This is basic to experiencing the Spirit-filled life. God, the Creator, retains ownership to everything but He gives us the joy of managing it with Him.

“You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6).

God has given us “dominion” over things, which means He has entrusted operative power over them. Meaning we are to manage them for Him.

If you believe you are the owner of even a single possession, then the events affecting that possession are going to affect your attitude.

God will not reveal His perfect will for our life until we first surrender our will to Him.

Once you make a total transfer of everything to Him then He demonstrates His managerial ability.

God’s instructions given His people through Moses gives the conditions of His control:

“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess” (Deuteronomy 5:32, 33).

For those who have not made this transfer of everything to God doing so is a challenge. Though difficult it is the right thing to do and once it is done life takes on a totally new dimension.

Having long considered ourselves as owning things it becomes challenging to transfer them. Being accustomed to self-management and control it is found difficult to rearrange our thinking.

Freedom comes from knowing God is in control.

Financial freedom, which all too few people know, is dependent upon letting God be in control of your finances. That means turning them over to Him and following His guidelines for managing and using them. That is financial freedom.

Are your finances the Isaac in your life you find difficult to put on the altar of sacrifice? Is it difficult to put them in a living irrevocable trust? Once begun it soon becomes a life-style. When it does the style of life resulting is a joyous one. It isn’t free from trials and adversities, but there is then an invisible guiding force working on our behalf —- the Lord.

Mark these simple but significant facts regarding finances.

1. To control a person’s finances means to control the individual. It literally means to govern that person. In the Great Tribulation spoken of in the Bible the anti-Christ will control all money. Thus, he will govern the people.

If we let the Lord control our finances that indicates He governs us. That’s ALL of our finances. That includes our debt profile, or investment portfolio, our purchasing habits, or giving regimen, and God’s tithe.

He who controls our money controls our life. He who controls our life controls our money.

2. Financial problems are symptoms not causes. If a person is a slave in financial bondage that is a symptom of God not being allowed to govern in the matter of finance. It is a symptom that we want more than God intends at a given time. If we can’t manage well what He has gives us He isn’t going to give us more not to manage well. Simple isn’t it?

3. Financial practices affect all of our priorities, our inter-personal relations, within and without our family, and our goals.

Let’s take a thing that is a challenge for some persons to put on the altar of sacrifice, the tithe.

Our “What’s in it for me?” mentality evokes some questions.

1. If I tithe, will God increase my income? Perhaps not. Let’s even change that “perhaps” to a likely not — but He may. In Malachi 3: 11 He promises to bless us if we do. That blessing might not be in the form of money. It might be even more valuable. It might be with health, friends, joy, or any one of many other more valuable properties.

2. If I increase my giving will God give me even greater wealth? Perhaps not, but He will give something even more valuable.

“… without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Having proven your faith by trusting Him with the tithe you are in position to be blessed with even more faith. Faith is the quality in life that enables us to venture and achieve.

An Alabama business man who had given generously to the cause of Christ lay dying. A friend visiting him asked when he trusted Christ as Savior. He replied, “Do you remember that first time I gave a significant gift to the cause of Christ? Well, I traced that money and I ran right into Jesus.”

He had faith enough to give and was given more faith.

1. Identify the thing you love most. What is your Isaac.

2. Do as Abraham and present it to the Lord.

3. Die to it emotionally. Abraham had to die to his loving devotion for Isaac to evidence his undying love for the Lord.

4. Once you have done this prepare for a sincerity check. Inevitably an opportunity will present itself for you to show your’s is an irrevocable trust of the Lord. That’s what God did for Abraham. Early the morning after God told Abraham what to do he set out on the road to the land of Moriah. When he lifted the dagger he proved his sincerity and God stayed his hand. Again I say, God didn’t want him to sacrifice Isaac. God wanted to see his willingness to sacrifice Isaac.

Tests like that come to us.

5. Next, expect God to provide what you haven’t been able to provide. Once Abraham evidenced his willingness to make the sacrifice, God spared Isaac and provided a lamb for sacrifice. He always provides what is needed once we evidence a willingness to sacrifice what He wants.