Biblical Stewardship – Part 1
Bibleway Christian Life Centre
An understanding of the subject of Biblical stewardship will not only set you on the pathway to being mightily blessed by God, but will also give you insight into how you can be a blessing to others. The term ‘steward’ primarily refers to ‘one who manages another’s goods/household/ estate/money’. A steward, then, is not the owner, but the manager in whose care the owner’s goods have been entrusted. Jesus spoke many parables concerning stewardship. (Matt. 25:14-30, Lk. 16:1-12, Lk. 19:12-27)
From these parables we learn the following:
* Everything we have in this world is God’s property. (Matt. 25:14, Lk. 16:1, Lk. 19:12-13)
* God has entrusted us with the management of his goods. (Matt. 25:14, Lk. 16:1, Lk. 19:12-13)
* The fundamental qualification for good stewardship is faithfulness. (Matt. 25:20-23, Lk. 16:10, Lk. 19:17-19)
* God holds us accountable for our use of the things He puts in our care. (Matt. 25:19, Lk. 16:1-2, Lk. 19:15)
* Anyone who wastes God’s talents/goods/ money is in danger of loosing their stewardship and ultimately their souls. (Lk. 16:1-2, 19:20, 26, Matt. 25:24-30)
* All faithful stewards will be rewarded by the Lord. (Matt. 25:23, Lk. 19:16, 17)
1. Stewardship of Our Finances
One of the main areas in which faithful stewardship is required is the area of our finances. Scripture teaches that “the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Tim. 6:10). The Bible does not teach that money is the root of all evil, but the love of money. The only way that we can be free from the love of money is by the faithful stewardship of our finances. Before we can develop faithfulness in this area, we must understand two important Biblical truths:
A. All the money in the world, including yours, is God’s property. (Ex. 19:5, Lev. 25:23, 1 Chr. 29:14, Ps. 24:1, Ps. 50:10, Hag. 2:8)
B. Faithful stewardship of our money is primarily demonstrated by giving tithes and offerings for the support of God’s work, and in obedience to His word. (Gen. 14:20, 28:22, Ex. 25:2, Lev. 27:30, Prov. 3:9, Mal. 3:8-12, Lk. 6:38, 2 Cor. 9:6-7, 1 Cor. 16:2, Heb. 7:4-10)
2. What Is Tithing?
A. The word ‘tithe’ means one tenth. (Gen. 14:20, Heb. 7:1-2)
B. Tithing is the biblical practice (which began with Abraham, before the Law) of giving one tenth of your substances to the priest of the most high God.
C. The Old Testament priests (sons of Levi) were commanded to take tithes of the people of Israel. (Heb. 7:5-10, Num. 18:21)
3. The Purpose of Tithing
A. The priests (who ministered in the Holy Place wherein the rest of the people could not enter) were not permitted to have inheritance in the land – society being agricultural, this meant that they were not permitted to make themselves a living. They would thus live by the tithes from the other tribes. (Num. 18:20-24)
B. “Why is the house of God forsaken?” (Neh. 13:10-12). The children of Israel were not tithing, thus the Levities were trying to make themselves a living. If the men of God are busy trying to make a living, they cannot dedicate their full time to the work of God and thus everyone suffers.
4. Tithing Today
Tithing began in Abraham, was continued under the Law and today under the New Covenant, God still expects His people to tithe, because He still expects His ministers to give themselves completely to prayer and the ministry of the Word (full-time ministry).
NB: Society is no longer agricultural but industrial. We cannot tithe fruit or corn but we can tithe our income. Therefore, tithing today is not a farming issue but a financial issue.
A. Apostle Paul teaches on how preachers should live. (1 Cor. 9:7-14)
B. The Old Testament pattern of tithing is still God’s pattern for today. (1 Cor. 9:13)
C. The apostles did not work, indeed they were commanded to forsake their nets, except Paul who was a travelling evangelist/pastor and he financed his own crusades. (Acts 6:1-4)
NB: They that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:14)
5. Why Tithe
A. Because one tenth of all that falls into our hands is sacred and belongs to God (Lev. 27:30-34). Hence, not to tithe is theft. (Mal. 3:7-8)
B. Because tithing is God’s way of supplying your needs, protecting your goods and blessing you. (Mal. 3:10-12, Deut. 14:22-29)
C. Tithing demonstrates both faith in God and love for His work. It is evidence that you possess a genuine desire to see the work of God continue unhindered.
Everybody in God’s Church should tithe, including pastors (Neh. 18:21-28). In fact, tithing is practiced by all truly Apostolic churches worldwide. Tithing is God’s way of allowing His ministers time to care for you to the best of their ability. Despite the promises of God to bless the finances and work of all those who faithfully give their tithes, it must be remembered that this only happens if tithes are given with a willing mind, not grudgingly but with a sincere desire to free God’s ministers to minister and a burning love for the work of the Church, for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:6-7)
Whereas our tithe is a set amount that God has commanded us to give for the upkeep of the Levities (Pastor and other full time staff) among us, our freewill offerings serve a different purpose. We can only understand the giving of freewill offerings in the light of this fact: God allows you to determine how much you will give according to how much you believe He has given you. (Deut. 16:17)
The purpose of freewill offerings:
A. The giving of offerings is considered in scripture to be an act of worship to God. (Gen. 22:1-5, see Leviticus)
B. The Tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness was made from offerings that the people gave willingly. (Ex. 25:1-9)
C. The Temple that was rebuilt under Ezra was built through freewill offerings. (Ezra 1:3-6)
D. The giving of offerings was a strong practice in the early Church. It seems that they were given so that the Church would suffer lack of nothing. (Acts 4:34-37)
E. Paul collected offerings to help the church that was at Jerusalem. (1 Cor. 16:1-4)
It appears that freewill offerings serve many purposes. However, these purposes can be bracketed as follows:
* For the material needs of the Church, i.e., buildings, vans, electrical equipment, tracts, stationary, office equipment, etc.
* To meet any need that could further the spreading of the Gospel, e.g. crusades, radio and advertising, etc.
Understanding the purpose of freewill offerings can help you to determine how much you will give. How much offering you give will be determined by three factors:
* How much you believe God has given you.
* How much you love the Church.
* How much you love lost souls.
Anyone who will faithfully, willingly and cheerfully give tithes and offerings for the ongoing work of the Church will:
* Overcome the love of money, which is the root of all evil.
* Prove themselves a faithful steward over God’s money.
* Experience the opening of the windows of Heaven and the outpouring of God’s blessing.
* Be instrumental in winning many lost souls to God.
Practical Application of the Lesson:
1. If You Already Give Tithes and Offerings
A. Use this lesson to rekindle the fire of your commitment to God, His Church and lost souls.
B. Begin taking your tithes and offerings of the top of what God gives you, not the leftovers.
C. Give your tithes punctually, i.e., on time. If you are paid weekly, tithe weekly, if monthly then tithe monthly.
D. Clearly distinguish on your envelope whether your gift is tithes or offerings.
E. Read and memorize the many promises of blessing and prosperity that God has made to His people and start claiming them – they are yours!
F. Know that the spirit of blessing and prosperity is upon you and that God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. (Ph. 4:19)
G. Stop working for a living, God will take care of that. Start working for a giving. (Eph. 4:28)
2. If You Have Not Yet Begun to Give Tithes and Offerings.
A. Take this lesson to the Lord in prayer.
B. Repent to God for not supporting His work as you should.
C. Determine to start right away giving tithes and offerings.
D. Break the power of the love of money in your life right now, by working out your tithe and determining your offering for this week.
E. Now you are free to do the above seven points.
1. What does the term ‘steward’ primarily refer to? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. In what two primary ways can a steward demonstrate faithfulness in their finances?
i ______________________________________ ii ______________________________________
3. What does the word ‘tithe’ mean? __________________________________________________
4. Why was the house of God forsaken in Nehemiah 13:10-12? _____________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
5. Does God still expect His people to give tithes? Why? __________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
6. State the two primary reasons for freewill offerings
i _______________________________________ ii _____________________________________
7 Money is the root of all evil True/false
8. You should not give tithes and offerings faithfully and cheerfully True/false
9. It is a sin not to pay tithes True/false
10. How much offering you give is not determined by how much you
love lost souls True/false
11. Giving tithes and offerings does not prove that you a faithful steward
of your finances True/false
12. Do you give tithes and offerings? YES/NO