May 17, 2022

This Is The Truth About Stewardship

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

There are only three things that you can do with it: 1. Save it; 2. Spend it; and 3. Give it away.  It’s money–the most explosive and troublesome issue involving families today. It isn’t really how much you have, or how little you have, but what you do with what you have. The handling of money is the #1 problem facing people today. Our problem, simply put, is that we spend far too much, save far too little, and end up with nothing to give.

Martin Luther spoke of three conversions: the head, the heart, and the purse; and they usually take place in that order, with the purse being the last to be thoroughly converted.  Why should a person give away hard-earned money? Have you ever asked yourself that?  In asking, you, of course, forgot that God gave you the energy to do what you did, and that a combination of circumstances, most of which you could not control, made it possible for you to work and have a job in the first place. “Good luck,” we sometimes say, but it is more than luck that causes the fields of one farmer to produce while another sustains blight.

The Old Testament clearly taught that a tenth, or a tithe, of your income belonged to the Lord, and giving a tithe was one of the oldest expressions of worship, going back to the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, did God’s expectations change after Christ came?

In answering that question, I would say, “Yes and no!” Here’s how. No in the sense that God’s expectations–especially when it came to giving–were not lowered. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees of his day for their hypocrisy, but He commended them because they gave a tithe or a tenth of their resources to God (see Matthew 23:23). But, Jesus demanded more of His followers than was required under the Law. Here’s how. He challenged, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Whereas the Law required a tenth, grace requires ten tenths or my entire allegiance. It is the voluntary relationship of a slave to his Master whereby a person acknowledges Jesus–not as merely a Savior, but as Lord! As Luther put it, this means my head, my heart, and my purse as well.

It implies that I voluntarily acknowledge that what I have belongs entirely to the Lord; and, therefore, my resources, including my money, are mine to use–never to abuse. All right, then.  Should we give all our money away and expect God to meet our needs?

Some have done just that! William Borden gave away his millions and went to Cairo as a missionary, refusing even to own an automobile. His motto was “No reservation, no retreat, no regret.” Yet the Bible does not ask that we do this. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 stresses the fact that God expects us to use what He has given to us wisely for His glory.

No farmer sells his entire crop, he keeps some of the seed for the next harvest.

The New Testament shows that giving provided for the work of the churches (I Corinthians 16:1-3), the missionary journeys and the evangelistic crusades of the first century (II Corinthians 8:1-4), and for social needs including the poor (Romans 15:26). Giving is God’s pattern, demonstrated by the fact that He gave His Son that we might have eternal life. Amazing yet true is the fact that the person who acknowledges what he has belongs to the Lord, ends up with more than he had in the beginning.

Resource reading:  2 Corinthians 8-9