great strength

September 21, 2015

Treasure after

Two men were marooned on a tiny island. One man paced back and forth worried and dreadfully frightened, while the other man sat back, whistling and sunning himself. The first man said, “Aren’t you afraid we’re going to die here?” “Nope,” said the second man. “How can you be so sure?” the first man asked. “Well, you…” said the second man, “I make $100,000 a month and I tithe faithfully to my church… My Pastor will find me.”

 

This humorous story identifies one of the key reasons why many pastors and churches avoid saying very much about financial giving. There is a perception (and a reality in many cases) that pastors are motivated to preach on giving only because of their own selfish concern about the budget or a building program. For many years as a pastor myself, I ventured into the area of financial stewardship and especially giving quite rarely. As I would preach expositionally through a book of the Bible, I wouldn’t avoid the subject of giving, but I hesitated to approach the subject extensively as a topic, lest I appear to be focused too much on the bottom line of the church rather than spiritual discipleship. I assumed – and it was partly true – that if people are growing spiritually, they will learn to give.

 

However, there is no other area of spiritual growth where we make the assumption that believers will grow without reminder and exhortation. I have come to realize that we are not mature disciples if we have not embraced the reality that materially we are stewards instead of owners.

 

If churches and pastors they have communicated somehow that “stewardship” messages are primarily about fund-raising, then they are responsible to change that attitude internally. Stewardship is not fund-raising; it’s basic discipleship. But in a similar sense, each believer must come to understand that giving is not just about “doing their duty.” Giving is actually a deeply personal indicator of our spiritual maturity as well as our love for God. If we understand Jesus’ words that our “treasure” is an indication of our “heart,” how can churches and pastors avoid teaching on the important issue of giving?

Knowing God through Giving

 

Giving is a spiritual issue and in fact, a relational issue with God. In order to truly yield to God’s ownership of our possessions, we must evaluate carefully what may be the most telling evidence of our stewardship – the part we give. Just as we decide on what we spend on an appliance or how much we will put in a savings or retirement account, we must also have to decide how much money we will give. Even to give nothing is a decision. Stewards are accountable in each decision to please the owner.

 

Many see the responsibility of giving as a burden. How sad that is in light of Paul’s reminder that God loves a cheerful giver. Giving is actually a relational decision. In the process of making giving decisions we really establish our agreement with God about stewardship. As we continually decide to give, we constantly affirm how much we value our relationship to God as His children. And as God’s stewards, giving decisions are simply a matter of thinking through how He wants us to allocate His money.

 

An amazing benefit of giving as stewards is that it releases us from the real burden of our own financial needs. As we learn to trust God through giving, we can live confidently on what is left because we know that God is taking care of that. Giving is a freeing experience as it connects us more closely to God relationally. The ultimate outcome is that those who give as stewards experience a sense of intimacy with God that all followers of Christ long for. Giving becomes worship. Giving becomes a way of saying thanks to God for His grace and promised provision. Giving becomes a deep part of our personal connection to God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Paul K, strength and encouragement

Rohani, immigration approval

Kimika, stay off the streets and grow in God

Robert L, pray for his wife and their first child, complications

Pray for America, we are to far gone to come back, so what does God have in store for us.

 

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