June 2017 - Week Three
As we grow as faithful stewards, rather than giving token amounts of our incomes, we become regular, systematic, proportionate givers of what we receive. Because the Lord gave us 100 percent of Himself, the least we ought to do as Christians is give back to Him a portion of what He first has given to us. Through faith, we begin to understand that our giving could more aptly be called “returning” because we are giving back or “returning” to God what He has already given to us. Paul wrote, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Because God has first given to us, we can give.
Shortly after God led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, they began to grumble and complain. Even in the midst of God’s provisions, they weren’t satisfied. Do we act like the Israelites? Rather than humbly acknowledging that all of our blessings come from God and praising Him for sending His Son to suffer and die for our sins, we, too, show our lack of gratitude by grumbling and complaining. We need to ask God for grateful hearts so that we will appreciate all the wonderful things that He does for us. Through faith, God will grant us the desire to respond with words and deeds that bring Him glory.
June 2017 - Week One
Our society has become more and more affluent. Most households have two or more cars, two or more television sets, cell phones, retirement accounts, etc. Materially we are growing richer. However, in many ways, we are becoming poorer. It is not because we lack money, but rather it’s because we are dissatisfied with what we have. We don’t enjoy what we have because we have lost appreciation for all of our blessings. No amount of money is able to make us content. Paul wrote, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). In Christ, we can stop loving money and the things that it can buy and learn to be content.
By nature, we are selfish and greedy people. Our society encourages that sinful mindset by telling us that more and newer is better. Although Scripture nowhere teaches us that being rich is sinful, it does warn us that wealth may be a trap and temptation “that plunges men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). An indication that our money has become overly important to us is when we ignore the needs of others and the needs of our church. With God’s strength, we can place God first and overcome the temptation to love our money.
As God’s stewards, our first assignment was given to us in Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ ” God delegated us as His representatives to rule the earth in His place. We have been given dominion over God’s creation. Because God has retained His ownership of all things, we are stewards who are responsible and accountable to God. God is the owner; we are the stewards or managers.
Worshiping the Lord
Stewards need God's wisdom
Our attitude toward money
Giving God our First Priority
On the Lighter Side
A Month's Wages
Choosing our Path
God's New Creations
God says, "Yes!"
Letting God's Light Shine
What have I done for Him?
Second Fiddles are Needed Too
Meditate on Christ's Sacrifice
The Nature of a Servant
Giving to God and Country
The Pharisees, who were trying to discredit and intimidate Jesus, asked Him a loaded question about whether or not it was proper to pay taxes to Caesar. Responding to the Pharisees, Jesus said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap Me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” After receiving the coin He said, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:18-21).
In His response, Jesus conveys to us our dual responsibilities to our country and to our God. We are to give to our country what belongs to our nation and give to God what belongs to Him.
What belongs to our country? What are our responsibilities to our country? Certainly, we are to support our nation with our words and deeds. If need be, we are to serve in the military. We are to pay our fair share of the cost to run our country through our taxes. We need to be obedient to its laws.
What belongs to God? As Christians, we know that it all belongs to Him. Everyone and everything is His. Our first responsibility to God is to love Him above everything else. We are to serve and obey Him. We are to obey His commands, and we are to return a portion of our money to Him.
Unfortunately, it seems that our nation gets a better shake than our God does. Our nation threatens, and we obey. God commands our obedience, but we often ignore His commands. Our country forces us to pay our taxes, and so, by April 15 of each year, we submit our 1040 tax returns. God wants us to give generously to Him; however, we often neglect to give our offerings to our church. Because our offerings are voluntary, they can be seen to be less important than our taxes.
As Christians, our commitment to our Lord must be even stronger than to our country. God has a claim on our lives, and we need to respond to that claim by giving to and serving Him with our time, our abilities, and our money.