Stewardship is all about God’s ownership and our management. We are accountable to God for everything in our lives. Today, I’m going to address the major dimension of stewardship that causes crisis for many. And, I’m going to teach on the subject that many fear the most when they come to church.
Furthermore, it actually is a value of our church. Our vision for ministry is to see unchurched people become disciples of Jesus Christ AND to see disciples grow through systematic teaching and application of Biblical Principles to daily living. One of our value statements actually says it this way: “Stewardship of God’s financial resources is practiced, modeled, and taught with passion and clarity” (Value #10):
Let me start us off with a few quick touchstones about money:
- A woman in Florida a few years back won $17,000,000 in a lottery. She called home to her live-in boyfriend and said, “I’ve just won the lottery! Start packing!” Her boyfriend replied, “That’s fantastic! Should I pack for warm or cold weather?” She said without emotion, “I don’t care – just as long as you are out of the house by the time I get home!” (That man had a crisis!)
- The pastor got up at the beginning of the huge stewardship rally, held his hands up for silence, and said, "Friends, I have a marvelous announcement to make about our building fund and our stewardship program for the coming year." He paused for the import of his opening remark to sink in. He then added with dramatic phrasing, "Friends, we have the money!" A buzz of excitement went through the congregation. He held up his hands for quiet once again. He finished, "Yes, we have all the money we need. Now all we have to do is give it!"
- “When it comes to giving, some people will stop at nothing.”
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: 'He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.' Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God" (II Corinthians 9:6-11).
Giving back to God is from the heart, not the wallet.
Giving back to God is an act of joy, not drudgery.
There are 3 types of giving:
- Grudge giving...I have to
- Duty Giving...I ought to
- Thanksgiving...I want to
Giving back to God multiplies our ministry
When we invest in His kingdom, we take part in a life-changing enterprise!!
Giving back to God brings Him glory
The world asks, "What does a man own?” Christ asks, "How does he use it?" (Andrew Murray, 1828-1917, S. African minister, church leader, writer. "Money II," Christian History, Issue 19.)
Remember, Getting the Brass Ring is hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (II Corinthians 9:12-15).
Giving to God helps us to “GROW UP” IN CHRIST
"Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth'" (Genesis 28:20-22).
When we give to God, we are really only giving back what He first gave to us.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’" “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse" (Malachi 3:8-10a).
Pretty stern discipline...but right for us to recognize because the nation of Israel in the OT is a good prototype of what we experience in our relationship with Christ.
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always” (Deuteronomy 14:22-23).
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former" (Matthew 23:23).
Getting your heart right with God means a whole slew of things....with stewardship of finances being a real “tangible” arena. It really is a basic issue: Can you break the hold of the “stuff” over you? If not, you’ll probably not be able to break the hold of sins over you. Finances are a real tangible “rubber hits the road” arena of spiritual growth.
Barna Research Group reports that the average American wants $8,000 more per year to rest easily (from The Contemporary Pulpit). You must learn to be at peace now; God will give you grace to go where you need to go.
3 Action Steps for Right Now:
- Surrender ownership of your finances to God
- Seek His will for how to manage His resources
- Submit to His answers