Horizontal View: A belief that one’s resources, provisions and wisdom come from other people.
Vertical View: A belief that one’s resources, provisions and wisdom come from God.
“God is the source, not our donors, not our plans, not our hard work.”¹
Mixed Up Thinking
Too often we view life (our walk as people of faith, our parenting, our children, our material needs) horizontally. Do we do things as unto men? Or do we do things as ultimately unto God? We have often found ourselves ascribing a human hero to a need met, when it is God who supplies our every need.
This is especially true as it relates to things we give and receive. We often think our gifts, whether financial or material, are to people (horizontal). In reality, we are giving back to God what already belongs to Him to be used for His purposes. We are caretakers of His wealth. In the same way, we aren’t receiving from people, we are receiving from God (vertical).
Why Do We Think Horizontally?
1. God often uses other humans to distribute His resources on earth. It’s easy to begin ascribing the gift to the messenger rather than to the Sender. It’s like sending a thank you card to the Mailman for a package your Aunt sent, instead of thanking her!
2. We like to think that we are in control of our lives. Trust is hard work! So we choose to trust in our own abilities (or those of others) to meet our needs instead of the sovereignty of the one who gives us those abilities!
Why Think Vertically?
Instead, I [the Lord] give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD.
1. “The phrase “which they offer as an offering to the Lord,” shows that the lamb or bundle of grain was not a horizontal gift from Israelite to Levite, it was a vertical gift, to God from the Israelites.”² We have Biblical examples of God as the distributor of all things, in His timing and in His way.
2. We release others from our sense of entitlement! When we understand that our needs are met by God alone, in the way He chooses, we can’t be resentful of others for not meeting our needs in our way.
3. We are released from greed as we freely trust God to continue meeting our needs as He prompts us to give.
“Certainly we must communicate well. We must do our part, but lets depend on the Lord, not on our skills, not on our hard work, because God is the source.”³