Give | Theirs | Financial Stewardship

Give | Theirs | Financial Stewardship
Lee Reams

GIVE | THEIRS | FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP |  LINK TO TEACHING PDF  

INTRODUCTION | A STORY 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.”

“What would happen if the Church tithed? | How giving 10%could change the world” Relevant Magazine Article | Mike Holmes

The church of today is not great at giving. This isn’t exactly news. But it is a statistical fact: 

Tithers make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation.
 Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income.
 Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate. 

• Numbers like that can invoke a lot of guilt, which isn’t really the point. The larger point is what would happen if believers were to increase their giving to a minimum of, let’s say, 10 percent. There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The global impact would be phenomenal. Here are just a few things the Church could do with the kind of money: 

$25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation, and deaths from preventable diseases in five years.
$12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years.
$15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
$1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
$100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion. 

Those are some amazing numbers.

THE TRUTH IS: GIVING IS A HEART ISSUE, NOT A MONEY ISSUE

So why don’t we give?

The real problem when it comes to our giving is not about money. Not really. Actually, the Bible says it’s about our eyes. Rather, it’s what Jesus called “the evil eye.” He said it like this.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:21-23 KJV) 

The term “evil eye” is a Jewish term. Whereas a “good eye” in Judaism refers to goodwill, benevolence and being genuinely happy when others prosper—the evil eye is quite the opposite.

The person with an “evil eye” feels distressed when others prosper, rejoices when others suffer, loves their money and would do nothing in the way of charity. 

So when Jesus spoke about the eye, He was speaking to a largely Jewish audience who knew what He was talking about. They knew a “good eye” was a generous person and an “evil eye” was a stingy, sour Scrooge.  

The truth is: Giving is a heart issue, not a money issue. 

When Paul spoke about the legendary giving of the Macedonian church he urged the Corinthian church to prove their love like the Macedonians proved theirs: 

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.” (2 Corinthians 8:7-8)

Then he took it a step further and talked about the highest standard of love and giving:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT)

God has always had a special place for radical givers.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) 

REVIEW | WHY SHOULD GOD’S PEOPLE GIVE FINANCIALLY

1. GIVING IS AN OBLIGATION | 
In the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Haggai 1:1-11; Malachi 3:7-12) and in the New (Romans 12:13; Galatians 2:10; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17), the people of God are commanded to give for certain needs. Failing to give for such causes when one is able is, therefore, an act of disobedience. Not all giving is required, however (see Leviticus 7:16; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15).

TEXT | Deuteronomy 14:22-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. 23 Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.

24 “Now when the Lord your God blesses you with a good harvest, the place of worship he chooses for his name to be honored might be too far for you to bring the tithe. 25 If so, you may sell the tithe portion of your crops and herds, put the money in a pouch, and go to the place the Lord your God has chosen. 


2. GIVING IS A PRIVILEGE |
The churches of Macedonia were models of generosity in giving, even though they were poor. They gladly gave out of gratitude toward God and love for their brethren (2 Corinthians 8 and 9; see especially 8:4, 9). Paul reminds us of Jesus’ teaching that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

TEXT | 2 Corinthians 8:4New Living Translation (NLT) 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.

TEXT | 2 Corinthians 8:9 New Living Translation (NLT) 9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes, he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.


3. GIVING IS ONE DIMENSION OF OUR STEWARDSHIP |
Very often Jesus spoke of the stewardship of His people in terms of money (see Luke 16:1-13). Our faithfulness as stewards in this “little thing” of money has a bearing on what other (and greater) responsibilities we will be given (see Luke 16:9-12).

TEXT | Luke 16:9-12 New Living Translation (NLT9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. 10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?


4. GIVING IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP | 
The Old Testament saints could only approach God in worship with a sacrifice, and this sacrifice was a contribution, whether whole or in part. In the New Testament, contributions were also described as sacrifices offered up in worship (see Hebrews 9:1-10; 10:1-25; 13:10-16). No offering is taken during the teaching hour. This is so that unbelievers will not feel obligated to give, or think that their giving would contribute to their salvation. Unbelievers do not need to give to God, but to receive the gift of salvation which He offers to them in Jesus Christ. The offering is taken during the worship time, after the Lord’s Supper, to encourage the saints to give as an act of worship.

TEXT | Hebrews 13:15-16 New Living Translation (NLT) 15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.


5. GIVING IS AN INVESTMENT |
Jesus encouraged believers to give in order to “lay up treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21). Investing earthly money in the advancement of the kingdom of God is one way in which we can lay up spiritual treasure in heaven (see Luke 16:1-13).

TEXT | Matthew 6:19-21 New Living Translation (NLT) 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroy them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.


6. GIVING IS AN ACT OF SELF-SACRIFICE |
All Christian service should be a sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). In giving, we should not seek man’s praise, but God’s (Matthew 6:2-4). We should not give with the hope of getting ahead in this life, but with the faith that God will reward us in heaven (Luke 14:12-14). We should not give under pressure, but willingly and cheerfully, with gratitude for God’s grace to us, according to our ability (2 Corinthians 8 and 9).

TEXT | Romans 12:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT) 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


7. GIVING IS AN EXPRESSION OF BROTHERLY LOVE | 
Giving is an expression of brotherly love and of Christian unity. The principle is set down in texts such as Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 3:11; Romans 12:13; James 2:15-17 and 1 John 3:15-18. The practice of this principle is seen in Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35; 11:27-30; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Philippians 4:14-19.

TEXT | Acts 2:42-47 New Living Translation (NLT) 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

THE NEXT STEP | EVERENCE FINANCIAL CONFERENCE FEBRUARY 17, 2018

THE GIVING PUZZLE 

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