Stewardship Under the Cross

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Stewardship Under the Cross for May 2018

Stewardship Under the Cross: Luther on Tithing and Stewardship

We’ve said quite a bit about stewardship over the past few months. We pray that it has been a benefit to you and your family and helped you grow in this area of your faith. To bring this emphasis to a close—and, perhaps, encourage you to reconsider if you aren’t yet persuaded—let’s take one last look at stewardship through the words of Martin Luther. Martin Luther had much to say about being a good steward of God's gifts. Below are a few quotations from the great Reformer about faithful, Biblical stewards.

On Vowing to Support the Church with Tithes

Thus it is said (Prov. 3:9): “Honor the Lord with your substance.” This must be understood not only of words and of the worship of the mouth or genuflection but of the deed itself.... Gal. 6:6: “Let him who is taught in the Word share all good things with him who teaches.” Therefore when God wants to be honored, then He wants sacrifices to be offered, not only sacrifices of the mouth but also the reverence of the heart, yes, the deed itself. He wants us to help the ministry, and He wants everyone to contribute for the purpose of supporting the studies of the pupils and of propagating the doctrine. Then God is truly praised and glorified there. Make a vow there, and say: “I promise that I am willing to contribute something for the assistance of the churches.” That is St. Jacob’s vow. Therefore this example should be diligently inculcated, namely, that Jacob vows tithes, not in order that God Himself may eat or be enriched; but he gives them to the poor ministers and to those who are always the least of the brethren or disciples of Christ on earth. For all other arts are gainful and have their profits. This profession alone is in need of bountiful giving. We must live from the altar, as Paul says (1 Cor. 9:13). Accordingly, he who is godly and loves the Word of God contributes something. He who hates the doctrine along with those who teach and learn it robs and despoils.

Otherwise God has so ordained that we should live from the vows, sacrifices, and alms that are owed to us by divine right. When the godly see the poverty and need of the ministers of the church and the school, they make vows and obligate themselves to give tithes, as Jacob gave them. (Luther’s Works, v.5)

On Tithing to Support God's Work in the Church

Therefore this text shows that Jacob did not make such a foolish and godless vow, but that it was a vow of thanksgiving. For he says: “If I come again, etc.” It is as though he were saying: “I shall now obligate myself to pay a debt, and I shall make satisfactory reparation when I return. What? I shall build a school and a church here, and I shall give a tithe of bulls and goats and fruits for its establishment and upkeep, likewise a tenth part of the milk and the butter.” Of course, God does not need these things. For He does not eat bread or drink wine, as He says in Ps. 50:13: “Do I eat the flesh of bulls?” What, then, are you doing? I answer that Jacob is already righteous. Accordingly, he does not make a vow to placate God by making it; but he wants to do this to give thanks, to glorify God, in order that He may conduct him and bring him back according to the promise. Who will receive these tithes? Not the angels, not the sun, not the moon. But he will perform that extraordinary and glorious work for the purpose of preserving the ministry and founding churches and schools. . . .This is how Moses should be understood when he says (Deut. 23:21): “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not be slack to pay it.” What does it mean to make a vow to God, or whom is Moses addressing when he says: “The Lord your God”? It means to give tithes to the disciples, sons, and wives of the prophets, to the poor and needy. These are the ones who are to be supported by the tithes offered to God, and through these tithes God is supported. For God says: “Whatever you give to the children of the priests and prophets through whom the doctrine is propagated you must regard as given to Me, not that I may justify you through this work, but it should be a thanksgiving and a sacrifice of praise because I have justified you and have also blessed you in temporal matters. In addition, I shall bless you even more if you give ear to, support, and cherish the poor sons of the prophets.” (Luther's Works, vol. 5)

On Abraham's Stewardship

(Editor’s note: In one much-discussed passage in Genesis 14:17-21, Abraham—still known at the time as ‘Abram’—gave a tenth of his wealth to a man named Melchizedek, who is described as a “priest of God Most High.” No context is given and nothing more is known about Melchizedek, leading to quite a bit of speculation about why Abraham would give him a tithe. Below is Luther’s explanation of what happened.)

This was not the first time that Abraham gave tithes of these to the priest Melchizedek; he did so every year. Even before that victory Abraham conducted himself humbly, acknowledged Shem as a priest of the Most High, and gave him tithes, as did Lot and the other fathers who lived at that time. (LW, vol. 2)... To be sure, Abraham had property; but he did not love it, since he showed that he was a manager and knew that by God’s will he had been appointed a steward of his goods. (LW, vol. 30).

Final Thoughts

As we observed back in January, at the very beginning of this study of what God’s Word has to say about the topic of stewardship, God’s word contains statements of Law—think the 10 Commandments, which show us our sin—and statements of Gospel—the message that, even though we cannot do anything to earn it, God has given us the gift of forgiveness, life, and salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for us. For Christians, the Law serves another function, as well. It instructs, or guides us, in how to live lives that honor God and serve our neighbors. That has been our goal throughout this study: to use God’s Word on stewardship as a guide for our lives.

However, one of the things that we noted at the time bears repeating here at the end. “[The Word] is our guide for how to respond to God in thanksgiving for His gifts to us. But even this Law will always accuse us and show us our sin. So…, if you are convicted that you have not been faithful with your finances in thought, word, or deed, then know that this is God's Law at work. He is calling you to repentance. So repent and trust in the Lord Jesus who died for all sins – including our sins of greed and miserliness. You are forgiven in Christ and as the forgiven child of God, you can lead a new and more faithful life in the power of Christ's Gospel.” That’s what we’re challenging you to do: to live in the new life you have been given in Christ.

Stewardship Under the Cross for April 15, 2018

Stewardship Under the Cross: The Treasure Principle

Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ said those words, so we know they are true – where your treasure goes, your heart will go also. But why is that so? It is because our income represents our lives – we had to put in a certain amount of time, a certain amount of our lives, to gain that income. So every purchase we make is a confession of how we want to spend our lives, what we think is important, where we want our hearts to be.

This is one of the reasons God’s Word encourages us to cheerfully give a faithful, first-fruits, generous proportion of our income to God’s work in the Church: God knows that where our treasure goes, our hearts will follow. Our tithes and offerings are a confession that we trust in God’s provision and a response of thanksgiving for all His gifts to us. Christians are generous because God has first been generous to us in sending His Son to die for us and provide us with salvation and eternal life.

Randy Alcorn, a writer of several books on Christian theology, calls this The Treasure Principle. Consider these thought-provoking words from his book of that title: “God’s money has a higher purpose than my affluence. Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. Giving affirms Christ’s lordship. It dethrones me and exalts Him. It breaks the chains of mammon that would enslave me.”

Over the past year, only about 55% of the households in our congregation have given to support God’s work in the church. As you’ve heard, giving is not for God’s benefit, but for ours. God does not need our money. It is a spiritual exercise, of sorts, that God has commanded for our benefit. That’s why we’ve set a goal of increasing the number of households that give to support God’s work by 15%. If you are among the 45% who have not been giving, will you consider taking that step this year and commit to giving, even a small amount?

Many others are already giving regularly. Will you consider taking another step toward tithing?

Whatever your current level of giving might be, please prayerfully consider the words of Jesus quoted above as you decide what your commitment to giving to God’s work in the church during the coming fiscal year will be. As we do, we as a congregation, will be blessed in the process. 

Finally, here is a thought to ponder from Martin Luther:

I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.

Stewardship Under the Cross for April 8, 2018

Stewardship Under the Cross: What Now?

So we’ve covered a lot of ground in God’s Word. We’ve spent quite a bit of time and effort seeking guidance from God on how He would have us use the earthly blessings that He has entrusted to us. We have also considered how regular, generous giving in response to God is part of the life of freedom that Christ won for us. But what now? What, specifically, are we asking of you? What are we trying to persuade you to do?

After hearing God's Word about stewardship…

1.   Receive God's gifts

The importance of this can not be overstated. To paraphrase our Lord, “What does it a profit a man to give away the whole world, but lose his soul?” Christians live from the Word of God and the Sacraments. Continue to receive these gifts to be strengthened spiritually. That is where our faith is sustained and where we find the ability to honor God with our lives.

And be ready: the more you strive to live a holy life, the more you will see how far short even your best efforts come. As often as that happens, return to God again and receive His grace.

2.   Pray

Go to the throne of grace and ask for strength to follow the Lord faithfully. If you are still living in this world, you know that the devil is trying to lead you to your destruction. Entrust yourself to God’s care, guidance, and provision.

3.   Consider what God does in the Church.

The Church is called to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel to all who will hear it and administering the Sacraments to the faithful. You are a part of God's Church on earth and are called upon to support God’s work in the Church.

4.   Examine yourself.

Consider the commands of God from the New Testament about supporting His work in the Church and examine your own giving. Are you:

  1. giving of your first fruits – that is, does your offering come out of your income first, not just from what's left over?
  2. giving voluntarily and cheerfully?
  3. giving proportionally in a generous way, beginning with a tithe?
  4. relying on God's promise to provide for you? Trust in God's provision and remember that all of God’s commands are for your blessing: for God gave the life of His Son on the cross to forgive you all your sins – He will certainly not abandon you in your physical needs. Trust His Word, and trust that God wants to bless you in heeding His Word.

The more honest you are in answering these questions, and the more diligent you are in trying to do these things, the more you will see your sinfulness. Receive again God’s grace to strengthen you to honor Him.

5.   Decide on your proportion.

Based on this, consider what proportion of your income you will give faithfully, proportionally, generously, and cheerfully to God’s work.

 

Sample pledge card:

 

 

Name: ______________________________________       Envelope No. _______________

(optional)

 

I am currently giving ________ dollars per week to the work of the Church, which is about ____% of my weekly income.

 

In thanksgiving to God and in the sure faith that he will care for all my needs, I will now give:

A Tithe (10%) or A Tithe and a Half (15%) or A Double Tithe (20%) (circle one)

or

______% of my weekly income to the work of the Church,

 

which equals approximately ___________ dollars per week.

 

 

 

Stewardship Under the Cross: God's Word on How We Manage His Gifts

Everything we do in the Church and each of our own personal spiritual lives must be based on the Word of God alone. Therefore, as we here at St. Paul prayerfully consider our stewardship of God's gifts, we must base that consideration on what the Bible says. Over the next couple of weeks, as Stewardship Consecration Sunday (April 22) comes closer, please read over these Scriptures, think, and pray about what proportion of your income God is calling you to give to His work in the Church.

How Much Does God Love Me?

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son.

God loves me more than I could ever know -so I know that what He says about stewardship is for my benefit.

 

To whom does my money belong?

Haggai 2:8

“‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

1 Chr. 29:14

King David said to God, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us!”

Psalm 24:1

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…

Deuteronomy 8:17-18

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

 

What Does Jesus Say About our Stewardship of God's Gifts?

Luke 16:10-13

Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

With What Heart Should I Give My Tithes and Offerings?

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

“The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.”

 

What Priority Should My Tithes and Offerings Have?

Proverbs 3:9-10

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first part of everything your land produces. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.”

 

How Often Should I Make my Tithes and Offerings?

1 Corinthians 16:2

“On the first day of every week, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering.”

This tells me that the Lord wants me to make my money offerings to Him regularly, that is, whenever I have income, whether I am able to go to church that week or not.

 

How Should I Give to the Lord's Work?

1 Corinthians 16:2

“On every Lord’s Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering.”

Deut. 16:17

“Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”

Mark 12:41-44

And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

The Lord tells me that it is not the dollar amount itself that is important. What is important is that I make my money offerings proportionately. In other words, I should give a generous percentage of the income the Lord enables me to earn through my work and investments.

 

What Proportion of My Income Is God Calling Me to Give?

2 Corinthians 8:1-3, 7

“Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. . . . But just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us --see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

Luke 7:47

Jesus said, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Malachi 3:8-10

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you? ’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

So my money offerings to the Lord should also be made generously. In the Old Testament, this was set at a tithe (10%) - and in the New Testament Christians are urged to “excel in this grace of giving.”

 

Summary

Recognizing that what I have is from my loving heavenly Father's hand, He is calling me to give: 1. Willingly, 2. As my First Priority, 3. Regularly (whenever I have income), 4. Proportionately (a percentage of my income), and 5. Generously (Faithful Christian giving starts at a tithe).

Stewardship Under the Cross for April 2018

Stewardship Under the Cross: Putting It All Together

Putting It All Together

Over the past several months we have set out as a congregation to learn what God's Word has to say about stewardship. One thing we learned is that faithful stewardship is a lifestyle. So here is a review of God's Word for you to study with the year ahead in mind. No matter where you are at in your stewardship – tithing, going beyond a tithe, or still considering the concept of tithing – let this study lead you to think about pray about stewardship based on the Word.

Your heart will always go where you put God's money.

Jesus said that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. One of our hymns says, similarly: “We give Thee but Thine own.” God is the ultimate giver of our incomes: all these gifts come from Him. To acknowledge this gift and our dependence on the Lord, God calls us to give a portion of our income back to Him for the maintenance of His Church. Indeed, the Scriptures are very clear: God calls His people to give at least a tithe of their income (10% of whatever “comes in”) back to Him at their place of worship.

This calls for faith. Do we trust God's Word? Do we trust that what He says is for our benefit, not our harm?

If you have never tithed before, it can be a scary proposition.

Some of you are thinking: “Give 10% of my income away!? You've got to be kidding.” But God doesn't ever kid us in His Word. Instead, He tells us how to live holy and blessed lives full of peace and contentment.

That’s how faith works, isn’t it? Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the certainty of things not seen.” A ‘leap of faith’ is an action that we take, based on our trust in something that we don’t—in fact, that we can’t—see. If we could see, measure, and expect that it would come out the way it has been promised, then it wouldn’t be an act of faith.

Your heart will always go where you put God's money.

Jesus said that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. As the hymn verse has it: We give Thee but Thine own. God is the ultimate giver of our incomes: all these gifts come from him. To acknowledge this gift and our dependence on the Lord, God calls us to give a portion of our income back to Him for the maintenance of His Church. Indeed, the Scriptures are very clear: God calls His people to give generously to the work of the Church. As we have seen, God commanded Israel to support the Word and Sacrament ministry of the Levites in the Temple with a tithe (10%) of their income. Can we call ourselves generous by doing less?

This calls for faith. Do we trust God's Word? Do we trust that what He says is for our benefit, not our harm? If you have never tithed before, it can be a scary proposition. Give 10% of my income away!? You've got to be kidding. But God doesn't ever kid us in His Word. Instead, He tells us how to live holy and blessed lives full of peace and contentment. Consider these Scriptures:

Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Malachi 3:8-10

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

1 Corinthians 16:2

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as each one of you may prosper.

2 Corinthians 8:7

But just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us --see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.

We do not make God poor when we fail to give money to Him properly, but we do make ourselves poor if we do not give according to the standards He sets for us in His Word, the Bible. God does not need our money, but we need to give the way the Bible tells us to in order to overcome the negative influence money and the things of this world can have on us.

God will never tell us to do something that will be to our harm – He loves us too much for that. Jesus gave His life on the cross for me. He loves me and knows what is best for me – so I can know that what He says about stewardship is meant for my benefit. He wants my heart to be with Him – and my heart will always follow where I put God's money. Tithing is not easy: it is godly. It will change your life. Stepping out in faith always does. You may have to change your lifestyle to accommodate following God's Word in this matter. But tithing will change your life in other ways too: it will give you a peace and contentment that can only come from actually putting yourself in the hands of the Lord.

So read through those Scriptures again. Pray through the questions on the next page. And step out in faith this year with giving that is in accord with God's Word. And just see if you are not blessed in it.

We do not make God poor when we fail to give money to Him properly, we make ourselves poor.

   

It really isn’t about money. It’s about trust. God does not need our money, but we need to give the way the Bible tells us to in order to overcome the negative influence money and the things of this world can have on us.

God will never tell us to do something that will be to our harm – He loves us too much for that. Jesus gave His life on the cross for me. He loves me and knows what is best for me – so I can know that what He says about stewardship is meant for my benefit. He wants my heart to be with Him – and my heart will always follow where I put God's money.

Tithing is not easy. However, it is godly. And it will change your life.

Stepping out in faith always does. You may have to change your lifestyle to accommodate following God's Word in this matter. But tithing will change your life in other ways too: it will give you a peace and contentment that can only come from actually putting yourself in the hands of the Lord.

So read through those Scriptures again. Pray through the following questions and step out in faith this year with giving that is in accord with God's Word. And just see if you are not blessed in it.

The Lord loves me and gave Himself for me on the cross.                                                       Y          N

All that I have comes from the Lord.                                                                                 Y          N

The Lord blessed me to live in the richest land in the world.                                                 Y          N

If I had to start living on 90% of my current income tomorrow I, or someone in my family, would starve. Y           N

I/We have been making first-fruit, regular, proportionate and generous (at least 10%, a tithe) money offerings to the Lord from the heart.                                                                                                           Y          N

If “Yes”, the Lord gets all the glory for that.                                                                                   Y          N

If “No”, the Lord wants me to change the way I make money offerings to him.                         Y          N

If the Lord wants me to change, I should change now, not later.                                              Y          N

It is the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ that changes me for the better.       Y          N

 

Stewardship Under the Cross for March 25, 2018

Stewardship Under the Cross: Considering Our Giving in Light of God’s Word

Why do you give what you give? Is the amount based our giving on what you think the church and school need (or, worse yet, only your part of the spending that you approve of)? There are many ways that we could come up with to figure out how much we “should” give. That’s why we have spent the past several weeks looking to God’s Word for guidance. This week, consider these words of Jesus and how they apply to this question, “What percentage of my income is God calling me to give to His work in the Church?”

Jesus speaks about stewardship as trust in God’s provision.

Matthew 6:19-33

19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Jesus speaks about giving in proportion to what God has given us.

Mark 12:41-44

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Consider Your Giving

At the end of April, we’ll be asking and inviting you to make a pledge for your giving during the next budget year (July 2018 – June 2019). It is not required, but it is beneficial in at least two ways. It is beneficial for us by helping us be more responsible in setting our budget. It is beneficial for you by encouraging you to give thought to this aspect of your faith life.

This second benefit is far more significant than we might think. A pastor once said that making a commitment limits your battle against the devil to once per year. Rather than struggling weekly over the question of how much to give, that question is decided once you have made your commitment. Unfortunately, the devil won’t stop. He’ll make it as difficult as possible to follow through with the commitment, but the harder part is behind you.

So we’re back to the refrain that you often hear: please “prayerfully consider your giving.” We’ve asked that of you a number of times recently. But what does that mean? What should you be considering, exactly? How do you decide what sort of commitment to make?

The first step in answering that question is to look at what God’s Word says about how He would have us use the earthly blessings He’s entrusted to us. That’s what we’ve been doing since the beginning of January. So now we ask you to consider the following statements that are based on the lessons we have drawn from scripture. If there are others in your household, please talk and pray about them together and consider how what we have learned applies to your life.

  • The Lord has blessed us with all we need for this body and life.
  • Have we been making first-fruit, regular, proportionate and generous (at least 10%, a tithe) money offerings to the Lord from the heart?
  • If so, what other needs in our church and community can use our attention?
  • If not – what steps can we take to move in a faithful direction?

Stewardship Under the Cross for March 18, 2018

Stewardship Under the Cross: What have other godly individuals said about faith and finances?

Martin Luther

“I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

St. Augustine

“Tithes are required as a matter of debt, and he who has been unwilling to give them has been guilty of robbery. Whosoever, therefore, desires to secure a reward for himself, let him render tithes, and out of the nine parts let him seek to give alms.” (Augustine quoted in Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, 173)

Jim Elliot

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

C.S. Lewis

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” (C.S. Lewis quoted in Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, 282)

John Piper

“The issue of money and lifestyle is not a side issue in the Bible. The credibility of Christ in the world hangs on it.” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, 109)

“…our lives must look as if God, not possessions, is our joy”

Randy Alcorn

“Before anything else, giving is an act of worship.” (Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, 2001, 33)

 “He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain.” (Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, 2001, 45)

“As base a thing as money often is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” (A.W. Tozer quoted in Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, 2001, 57)

“The issue is not what I would do with a million dollars if I had it, but what I am doing with the hundred thousand, ten thousand, one thousand, one hundred, or ten dollars I do have. If we are not being faithful with what he has entrusted to us, why should he trust us with any more?” (Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, 146)

Stewardship Commitment Sunday April 22

Stewrdship Commitment Sunday is April 22nd. Our members will have the opportunity to give thanks and praise for the blessings God has entrusted to us. In addition, the celebration will include a congregational dinner afterwards.

The dinner will be a planned potluck. Members will have the opportunity to sign up for specific menu items. In order to know the quantity of food items, the committee is asking for a commitment of attendance. We need to have a head count by April 8th. Watch the weekly bulletin for more information on how to RSVP. 

Mark your calendars for April 22nd when we will share in a time of good food and fellowship.

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