What does stewardship mean to you?

There are two words that send the average congregation and common churchgoer into fear and panic, from the leadership and pastorate, that fears to offend or drive people away, to the church member who may be too far stretched in time and giving, and cannot give anymore, to the person who does not want to be convicted, lest he be forced to reach for the sacred will of his wallet or the exercise of His call. Yet, these two words are simple, and needed, because the church and the body of Christ could not function without them being proclaimed and exercised: These simple words are Stewardship and Evangelism.  

Why such fear?

Perhaps they necessitate a response that requires us to get up and do when we would rather sit down and don’t.  So, a cold shiver goes up the back of our complacency. These two words strike at the very heart and will of plans and ideas that we have set up for ourselves. They strike at our comfort, and the way of life we like and have designed for ourselves. Perhaps they even put us in front of the mirror of duty and requirement, of responsibility and a response to our free gift of grace, which we would rather not give. Then there is the world of complacency, where a Christian will just “pew sit” his way though life in his walk with Christ. A Sunday visit from time to time is more of a greater sacrifice than he can handle. His time is booked with the duty of his own plans and ideas. So when stewardship comes up, he realizes his failings. Guilt rears its ugly head, and calls for the primeval reaction of fight or flight. Thus, we can think we can fight against such requirements and proclaim they are not needed so we do not have to meet them. Or, we can run to another church that has no such requirement, so we can hide our inadequacies. I received my gift of grace, yet I will not send a thank-you, nor will I use it. It is to sit on my shelf for my comfort and insurance only. And, for the most part, God will let us keep it there.  

That is the beauty of grace–no strings attached. But, what good is a car if all it does is stay parked? Without care, it will rust, degrade, and be of no value, even with 0 miles on the odometer. Yes, grace is given without strings attached, except for our faith. But, as the book of James proclaims, what good is it? What good is our salvation if it is only good for comfort and security? Of course, there is no greater Comfort or Security than our faith in Christ, so, why should we worry about temporary earthly pleasures, when so much more awaits us?  

But, these words of Stewardship, sometimes referred to as tithing or Evangelism, and sometimes said of discipleship, do not need to be scary. Stewardship can be an act of love, and even fun! It can be a response to His love, which will give us much, much greater comfort than any plans or ideas on our part. Perhaps Christians want to give, but they do not know how. Maybe they just need to be told that all we have is not really ours to begin with. We are just temporary stewards of His treasures, time and talents. With such a view, we may see a pleasure in giving, and see the benefits as they help build the body of Christ. 

Is tithing for today? PII

 

View your promise to give to God that which is referred to as your tithe, like an income tax. Although it is not mandatory, it is a reflection of your character and response to His grace. As the government so nicely swipes away your hardearned money from the top of your paycheck, consider joyfully setting also the top 10% of your net, or better yet, the gross income, for the Lord’s service– before the bills, expenses, and entertainment.  Do not include the tithe in your budget. Make your budget on the net assets you have after the tithe and taxes. Then, you will have a more realistic budget and keep yourself from getting into debt.  That way, it is done and out of the way. Then, carefully decide to whom it should go. The primary responsibility is first to your local church, and second to ministries that are doing the Lord’s work.  Remember, the people who set aside the first fruits of their resources to God are dedicating themselves to God, and not themselves to themselves. 

The tithe was fair and is still fair today. Every one is on the same playing- paying field. So the rich paid more and the poor paid lees.

If our taxes worked that way we would have a balanced budget and be a nation out of depth and not even have to pay income tax, if we went to a 10% national tax on all goods and serves sold! All you have to do is divide 10% from the gross national product and compare it to what the IRS gets annually and what the national depth is.

(Reference and History from “History of the Christian Church” by Schaff; “A History of Christianity Vol. I &II” by Latourette, “The IVP Bible Background Commentary,” by Keener, and “The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church”)!

Is tithing for today?

Tithing is a very misunderstood as is Stewardship. Postmodern thinking in Evangelical Christianity is to, think we “give.” But in actuality, we “bring!” it is about being obedient to what God has told us clearly, He bless us and we in turn are to bless others. It is all His to begin with, so we must adjust our thinking and lifestyle to correspond to a deeper spiritual formation in our thinking and behaviors. 

The answer is no–as a forced obligation. The answer is also yes–if it is a response from the heart.

We are not obligated to give any amount. But, when we have the right mindset, based on the Word of God and a heart that flows with gratitude for what He has done, yes, we will want to give all that we are able to. I believe that in the debates, occurring over the centuries since the early church, and now to the classrooms in seminary, and to the message boards I pursued, money and religion have always gone together.

Money and religion have always fought each other in people’s pride and inclinations.

Just as Jesus’ anger with the money changers in the temple and Luther’s outrage with the selling indulgences in the pre-Reformation period, to the TV preachers we have today saying, “if you give to me, God will give to you ten times as much,” it all comes down to motivation, greed, and the idol of money. We will bow to money or we will bow to God. The question is what do you truly worship? Where is your motivation? Where is your heart?

And, so the controversy continues, as the presumptions and feelings of men take over sound reasoning and dialog. I call you to search the Scriptures and see for yourself what God requires of you. As for my family and me, we will give all we can with our time, talents, and treasures for His glory. What about my opinion of ten percent? I agree with the Puritans and the early church. Give what you can, but not as an obligation; it all belongs to Him for His glory! Ten percent is a good place to start! Good stewardship is where we start! Sometimes you may not be able to give much. When I was in school I could not give most of the time, so I augmented more volunteer time. Today I am a missionary and struggle day to day. God has provided for my family, but not in any kind of abundance or what we call in the US, “discretionary income.” So, I volunteer in areas in my church outside of my pastoral responsibilities and give what I can of the treasures the Lord has given me. Even in my poverty, after doing my taxes, I realized I did give just over ten percent, and I do not know how I did! He provided

A discussion on Biblical Stewardship



As Christians who take the Bible seriously, we also need to take to heart the seriousness of being a wise steward. Stewardship is an act of worship and gratitude by the Believer, in response to His grace. In so doing, we acknowledge God’s power and authority over our lives. This leads us to realization of and response to His love, by caring about what He brings into our lives. This includes everything–our relationships, spiritual gifts, time, material goods, our monies, and even our very being. This act of stewardship is in response to the marvelous gift of His amazing, wondrous Grace given to us.  We begin by being thankful, and our thankfulness leads to the care of everything in our lives. Thus, our gratitude for what we have leads us to faithfully take care of the business of life. Gratitude is also worship, and our response to God for first loving us.

            In my experiences and observations, I have observed, with sadness, that most people in evangelical circles do not see stewardship as important.

A common response to the subject of stewardship is that all we need to have is a good heart, or be sincere in our faith. Our money, and how we manage life is irrelevant. But, is this true? Is God only concerned with our heart? If so, what does that mean? Well, when you read the Bible, you can see that it has a totally different definition of stewardship than what is popular in the church today!

God is concerned with what is in our hearts, and a good heart has responsible character assigned to it. That is what being a good steward means.

This is shown to us by our role in taking care of creation, the testimony of the Law, and the Psalms, to name a few. Stewardship, in Hebrew, means “house law and rule.” It means that the person who is hired is to manage the affairs for the owner. This means that the property, resources, money, and previsions are under the steward’s control and responsibility. They belong to God, and are entrusted into our hands. Thus, all dimensions of management are under the word and theme of stewardship! So, all that we do in the affairs of our daily life is under stewardship too! Is God concerned with what is in your heart? Yes, He is, and being a good steward will show that you have a good heart!

Thus, as good stewards, we cannot be wasteful. Being a bad steward was under penalty of death in Biblical times. Fortunately, we are under grace, and Christ’s atonement covers us from God’s wrath when we mess up, but that does not mean we are to be careless. We are not to go around thinking all we need to do is think we are good, just as we cannot think we are good at our job or school, and be late all of the time, or slack off. We have to think carefully about the most prudent way to allocate and manage the gifts and resources He puts in our care! This is in response to what He has given to us–abundant grace and love, and His mercy and care. We must understand that being bad at stewardship is wasting what God has given, and even wastes our lives, and opportunities, too! We are just to have a good heart? If you are not responsible, chances are, no, you do not have a good heart.

Stewardship means we must take care of His Word and world carefully, honestly, diligently, and faithfully in the character as revealed in His Word. 

It means remembering that God gives us everything, including Himself. So, how do we manage all of this with Biblical precepts and principles? One good way to view stewardship is to see what He gives us as a loan. We are to manage it with the attitude of giving back to God, of honoring Him, just like the Parable of the Talents teaches (Matthew 25:14-30)!  

A Template on How to Give

2 Corinthians 8:1-15 –  (NIV)

· …Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy…

· …and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity…

· …even beyond their ability…

· …Entirely on their own…

· …privilege of sharing in this service to the saints…

· …they gave themselves first to the Lord…

· …keeping with God’s Will…

· …in faith …excel in this grace of giving…

· …I am not commanding you…

· …you through his poverty might become rich…

· …you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so…

· …the gift is acceptable according to what one has…

· …not according to what he does not have…

· …eager willingness …the willingness is there…

· …your plenty will supply what they need…

What does stewardship mean to you?

The word, stewardship, simply means to manage someone else’s property. For the Christian, as Scripture proclaims everything belongs to God, we manage the property of our Lord. Since everything belongs to Christ, we need to have the attitude and view that our things are His things, our stuff is His stuff, that all we could have now, all we have lost, all we will have, is His, including our very bodies and spiritual gifts. We are mere lessees of the property, money, relationships, talents, time, and even our lives. That means all that we are and all that we have are not really ours to begin with. They belong to God. So, the duty of the Christian is to learn how to become responsible stewards of our Lord’s resources entrusted into our care. It means to manage everything to the best of our abilities for His glory (1 Cor. 4:2).

Verses on Stewardship: Psalm 24:1; Proverbs 3:9-10; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Ephesians 5:15-16; James 1:17

Understanding Stewardship