We have studied that Jesus is soon to return to earth In this crisis hour He invites us to consecrate all we have to the advancement of His cause. When we consider His sacrifice for us, we will be led to give our all to Him.
A proper understanding of Christian stewardship will help us realize the challenge and privilege of handling God's goods.
1. What does the Bible say regarding God's ownership of the world? Psalm 50:10-12; Haggai 2:8.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills, I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. . . . the world is mine, and all its fullness." " 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' says the Lord of hosts."
God is the owner of this world. Everything in it rightfully belongs to Him.
2. What right does God have to claim the world as His?
A. The world is His by right of creation. Psalm 24:1.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein."
The Bible teaches that the Father and Son participated in the process of creation together (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15, 16).
B. The world is His by right of redemption. Isaiah 43:1.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, 0 Jacob, and He who formed you, 0 Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.' "
When our Lord created this world, He entrusted it to Adam, who was to have dominion over the entire creation (Genesis 1:26). At the Fall, Adam surrendered that dominion. Lucifer, the fallen angel, usurped the dominion and claimed the lordship of the earth. Thus, Bible writers often refer to him as the "prince of this world" or "the prince of the power of the air" (John 12:31; 14:30; Ephesians 2:2).
Christ's sinless life and substitutionary death fully paid the ransom for man's sin. At the cross, Satan's fate was sealed, and complete restoration pledged for this planet (Ephesians 1:14;1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; John 12:31, 32). Thus Jesus is the true owner of this world, both by creation and redemption. Since He owns this world, the Bible refers to man as a steward.
3. Since God is the owner of the entire world and everything in it, what does the Bible state regarding man's responsibility with the goods God has entrusted to him? I Corinthians 4:2; Luke 16:10
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much."
God entrusts each man a portion of His goods, to manage. Everything we have is a trust from the King of the universe. God is testing us with earthly possessions to see if we can be entrusted with heavenly riches.
4. Where do mankind's earthly possessions come from? Who gives the ability and power to get wealth? Deuteronomy 8:17, 18.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Then you say in your heart, `My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, . . ."
5. How do we acknowledge that God is the owner of all we have? Malachi 3:8-10.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it."
6. How does the Bible describe the tithe? Leviticus 27:30, 32.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy to the Lord. . . . And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord."
Although all of our money belongs to God, the tithe is holy. As such, it is an acknowledgment of His ownership. It reveals that we really believe He owns all we have.
7. When does the Bible say the tithe is to be "set apart" as holy? Proverbs 3:9, 10.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine."
8. What man is an outstanding example of faithfulness to God in tithe-paying? Genesis 28:20, 22.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, . . . of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.' "
9. What did Jesus say about tithing? Matthew 23.23.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."
The tithe is sacred. It is set apart to accomplish God's goal of spreading the gospel message to the ends of the earth. In addition to this, the local congregation as well as the church at large has expenses not provided for in the tithe.
10. Although the tithe (the first 10 percent of our income) is set apart as holy, how are other church expenses met? Deuteronomy 16:17; I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8:12.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you." "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." "For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have."
11. What is the most important thing to God the amount given or the attitude with which it is given? Exodus 25:2; Luke 21:1-4.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering." "Then He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, 'Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty has put in all the livelihood that she had.' "
God promises to supply the needs of all who are faithful in returning His tithes and offerings. In Philippians 4:19 we have an eternal pledge: "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." To all who are faithful stewards, God gives the assurance of supplying their needs. The needs of God's children are already underwritten by the bank of heaven. Jesus stated, "Therefore do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or, 'What shall we drink?' or, 'What shall we wear?' . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:31, 33.
Our heavenly Father owns the world and takes the responsibility of providing for His children. Thank God, the promise to the faithful steward is certain!
MY DECISION: By His grace I will be faithful in returning His tithe and giving offerings as He prospers me.