Friday, April 30, 2010

Ka-$hing

According to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 the purpose of spiritual discipline is godliness. If we are to be like Christ—that is what Godliness means—then we must be good stewards of our time and our money. This post will focus on the stewardship of your money. Before continuing with this post, I recommend that you read Psalm 24 in order to gain some much needed perspective.

Why is the Biblical use of our money and resources so crucial to our growth in Godliness? There are at least three reasons…

  1. A matter of obedience
  2. An indicator of spiritual maturity
  3. A self-representationhow you use your money expresses that you are, what your priorities are, and what you value.

Most of the principles discussed in the disciplined use of time post also apply here. The exception being that time cannot be replaced, but money and material resources can be replaced. Let’s consider how the Bible would have us discipline ourselves for the purpose of Godliness in the specific area of giving our money and resources for the sake of Christ and His work.

(1) God owns everything you own.

  • Psalm 24; Exodus 19:; Job 41:11; Haggai 2:8; Leviticus 29:23; Psalm 50:10

This means we are stewards of God’s possessions. We are to use and enjoy the things God has allowed us to have, but as stewards we are to always be mindful that they belong to the King and are primarily to be used for His kingdom! Essentially, we do not own anything. God owns everything, and we are His stewards.

(2) God wants His wealth in circulation.

John 3:16— “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God is a giver. All creation is designed by God to give. In his sin, man tends to be a taker rather than a giver

Ecclesiastes 5:13— “There is a sore evil [which] I have seen under the sun, [namely], riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.”

(3) Giving is an act of worship.

Philippians 4:18— “I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.”

Not only our praying, singing, preaching, and response to the preaching are worship, but giving a tithe and offering is also worship. Giving is much more than a duty or an obligation; it is an act of worship to our God!

(4) Giving should be planned.

1 Corinthians 16:2— “Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

This principle connects with the previous one. When the church assembled—on the first day of the week—they were to give an offering. The point is that our giving should be planned; when to give and how much to give. All worship should be offered according to preparation. This includes giving. Be prepared to worship.

(5) Giving reflects faith in God’s provision.

Mark 12:41-44 The poor widow was willing to give “all her living” because she believed God would provide for her. The more we believe God will provide for our needs, the more we will be willing to give, and the less we trust God, the less we will give.

(6) Giving should be done with the right attitude.

2 Corinthians 9:7— “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

You do not “pay the church” because God does not send a bill. Not only should our tithe and offering be cheerfully given, but it must never be offered with a legalistic mindset. Your giving and how much you give should be determined by love not legalism. Giving is a matter of the heart not a matter of manipulation; a matter of the heart, not the calculator. I don’t know anyone’s heart but my own. I gladly leave your heart to you and God, but I do know that our giving must be done with the right attitude and generous.

(7) Giving should be sacrificial and generous.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5— “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

Christ was not then and is not now impressed with the dollar amounts. How could He be?! Remember Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Whatever we give we are simply returning what is His anyway. It’s not “one for God and nine for me”; instead, it’s “all is His so I will sacrificially and generously give.”

(8) Generous giving will be blessed by God.

Luke 6:38— “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8; Proverbs 3:9-10; Mark 10:28-30)

Give generously because you should, not because you want a huge return on your investment. God blesses generous giving so that we may give even more! When we generously give God is glorified. It starts and ends with God. It’s all about Him! The God who gives everything is the God who made everything.

Stop and Consider

If you…

  • Grudgingly give – your approach says, “I have to”
  • Dutifully give – your approach says “I need to”
  • Thankfully give – your approach says “I want to”
  • Joyfully give – your approach says “I love to”

Which two approaches do you think are best? Which best describes your giving? This is assuming, of course, that you do give.

When we have given to God all that we are and all that we have we are simply giving Him what is already His own. God is never in our debt. He owes us nothing, but He is so generous with everything! We should be likewise.

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