Recently, I read Robert Morris’ The Blessed Life. It is a series that the Texas pastor teaches through every few years.
Like many things, there were good take-aways and other points that I did not agree with. I like the idea of “first-fruits” that Robert teaches about. That means giving God (Jesus) our best with our tithes. At the heart of the matter, giving shows our dependency on God.
Here is a list aspects that I liked or didn’t like about what Morris teaches:
- Morris makes the claim that we are under God’s curse if we don’t give to Him with our tithe (p. 24). I do not agree with this interpretation of Scripture on this one. How can we be a cheerful giver if we are afraid of being under a curse (2 Cor. 9:7)? The verse in Galatians about Christ being a curse for us should not be somehow twisted to mean that we are cursed if we don’t give back to God (Gal. 3:13) – see pages 31-32.
- p. 42 – I’m all for spontaneous giving, but is it really realistic to believe that if you increase your giving, God is likely to bless you materially, such as with an SUV? I believe the correlation between God blessing us materially and us giving to Him is a false dichotomy.
- p. 56 – “the spirit of mammon” should be a worthy concern for Christians. We cannot be consumed by the love of money.
- Starting on page 61, Robert Morris talks about how he and his wife, Debbie, have given a lot over the years. He and Debbie evidently have the gift of generosity. For this they must be commended (Rom. 12:8).
- I think it is noteworthy to point out that Morris encourages folks to get out of debt (p. 92).
- In Acts 2:44, the Early Church shared their possessions. This is a form of giving, and helped ensure that no one was in dire straits financially. Why doesn’t Morris talk about this in his book?
- On page 105, Morris talks about even giving his house away. While this is very generous, I would hasten to add that God does not call all believers to do this. Such decisions should be made with much forethought and prayer. You should consult your spouse before making big decisions like this.
- On page 161, Morris talks about how giving ensures “guaranteed financial results.” If this isn’t the prosperity gospel, I don’t know what is. This teaching is simply wrong. Being blessed does not mean experiencing financial gain. It is enjoying the freedom of giving without letting our possessions control us.
- In the Afterword, Morris explains his church’s heart for Israel, which is admirable and I think all churches should cultivate this.
So, there you have it – the good and bad. Perhaps the book could have talked about how God calls us have an international mindset—to be generous to people living in other countries. We would do well to remind ourselves the truth of 1 Timothy 6:8, that if we have food and clothes, we should be content. God will meet our needs.
Giving is personal. We should not seek validation from others when we do this. Like blessings, giving can be done in many ways and does not always involve cutting a check, but also means devoting your life to a cause, volunteering, etc.