Stewardship Biblical Definition
DEFINITION OF STEWARDSHIP
Everything we have belongs to God; we are to manage it for His glory. A steward does not own anything—he is to make his master a profit (Ps 24:1-6; Matthew 28:18-20; I Cor 10:26).
Stewards are to be trustworthy (I Cor 4:1,2)
Parable of the Talents—Matthew (25:14-30)
We are to multiply the resources we are given.
God expects a return on the resources he entrusts to us.
We are whole-life stewards of our
Time—“redeeming the time for the days are evil”
Talent—stewards of the gifts God has given us.
Testimony—stewards of the grace of God.
Treasure—we are to make our master a profit
EXTREME VIEWS OF MONEY CHRISTIANS ARE TO AVOID
The Populist View—that money is the root of all evil.
Those that have money gained it at the expense of the poor and probably aren’t saved.
-We should stay poor so we won’t be corrupted by money.
The Prosperity View—that all Christians should be wealthy.
– If we tithe, God will provide everything we want; thus, we give in order to get.
– If we are not prosperous, it is because we do not have enough faith.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE EXTREME VIEWS?
It is not money that is evil, it is the love of money.
– You do not have to be rich to be in love with (or be obsessed with) money.
– Biblical heros like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, & Solomon had money & power.
– It is not the possession of money, but the reliance on and love of that money that causes us to no longer rely on God.
– According to Luke 18:18-30: anyone who loses in behalf of the Gospel will receive it back several times over, either in this life or in eternity.
– It is often hard for a rich man with power to see the need for God. If he has seen the need for God, his riches can become a powerful tool for furthering the Gospel.
– God wants us to trust Him completely and not have a “Plan B” if God doesn’t come through.
– Job was rich, lost it all during his tests and trials, but then became rich again after his trial was completed.
Expectation of prosperity can become the focus of your faith, rather than the result of trusting God.
– James says you have not, because you ask for the fulfilling of your lusts.
– When the focus of giving is what will be received, it is no longer an act of worship and does not honor God.
– When we focus on exercising our faith to receive from God, the focus becomes our own abilities to believe, rather than trusting in God’s faithfulness.
– Going through a trial can appear to be punishment for a lack of faith, rather than an opportunity to grow in the Lord.
WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF PROPER HANDLING OF OUR FINANCES BEFORE GOD?
We are to have no other gods before the one, true God (Deut 5:6-10).
We are to bring the first-fruit of our crops to God recognizing that God is our source (Exodus 34:19-22,26).
We are first to seek God and His righteousness and all of our needs will be met by Him (Matthew 6:19-34).
– The first part of Matthew 6:19-34 says that we are not to lay up treasures on earth. The word, treasure, implies a “strong attachment.” We tend to focus on the amount rather than whether it is treasured by us.
– We cannot serve two masters. God must be first.
– The second part of this passage states that God knows our needs and will provide them for us, if we put Him first and trust Him as our provider.
II Corinthians 9:1-15
– Verses 10-12. Here God provides “seed” for the sower so he can reap, resow, rereap, resow, etc.
– There is ample to go around for all good works, if we are faithful to continue sowing.
– Verses 6-8. We will reap as we sow—abundantly if we sow abundantly; and sparingly if we sow sparingly.
– God wants us to be cheerful givers.
– Giving should be an act of worship.
Philippians 4:10-19 God will meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, if we are giving as discussed in verses 10-18.
We are to give a tenth of all we get to God as our tithe (Leviticus 27:30-34).
– This is in addition to dedicating to the Lord each first born.
– One only gave God the first fruits and the best (no culls, no runts, no rejects).
– In the Old Testament, if the person sent money rather than the crops or livestock, he was to add 20% to his gift.
– When you add the “Temple tax,” (see II Chron. 31:12; Ex. 30:12-16) the “poor tithe,” thank-offerings and sin offerings, many Bible scholars believe that the level of Old Testament giving was 23% (not tax-deductible)!
IF WE FAIL TO PAY OUR TITHE, WE ARE ROBBING GOD—Malachi 3:7-12
We could be cut off from God’s blessing.
The tithe was to go to the storehouse—the temple.
God says to test Him by paying the whole tithe—to see if He won’t bless us. We must do our part first.
When God blesses us, He will give us more than we gave Him and He will rebuke the devourer so that our crops (work) will bear fruit.
Tithes were obligatory for funding the basic ministry. Offerings were designated for special things over and above the tithe.
The New Testament never overturned the tithe. Only the excesses of the Pharisees who turned it into a legalistic system were chastised.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT GIVING TO THE POOR & TAKING CARE OF BELIEVERS
Psalm 36:9,10; 112:1-9
I John 3:16-24
– We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
– We are to love the bothers even as Jesus loved us—enough to die for them.
– If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will help them in time of need.
– God gives us resources and He expects us to help our brother when he is experiencing trial.
– God says He will reward the one who helps the poor.
– James and John both say that if we have the resources to help a brother in time of need; and we refuse, then our faith is meaningless and we sin.
OTHER ASPECTS OF GOD’S FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Minimize Debt (Proverbs 22:7; Romans 13:8)
We should be wise with savings and investments
– We should lay up our treasures on heaven rather than on earth (Luke 6:19-21).
– When we have a surplus, it is given to us to help others.
– There is no scriptural command to spend all we receive.
– We are to put our faith in God’s provision rather than in the size of our investments (Luke 12:15-21). The key issues are where we put our trust and how we use our money, rather than how much money we have.
We tithe as a form of worship and as a way of proclaiming that we have no other God before Him. Tithing is a “Declaration of Dependence” on God.
Giving of tithes and offerings should be a giving of our best and our “first fruits” to God. It should be the first check you write each month.
Our tithe to the church is to be used for the furtherance of the Gospel and to help those in need.
When we tithe and give cheerfully, we sow the seeds for God to return financial blessings to us. It must be a form of worship rather than a duty or a means to have our needs met. God always looks at the heart and judges our motives as well as our deeds. For example, the Pharisees were tithers but saw it as a means of justifying their superiority rather than as an act of worship.
God promises to meet our needs if we trust in Him and truly put Him first in our lives.