The Value of Stewardship
By Donald Bryan
I. What is Stewardship?
The management of someone else’s affairs. Luke 6:27-38 records what should be the lifestyle of Christians! Looking at verses 32-24 we can see that this sets us apart from the world. Verse 36 shows that this principle is modeled after our Heavenly Father, and verses 35, 37, and 38 reveal we will reap many benefits from this lifestyle. This is the only TRUE alternate lifestyle!! If you follow these scriptures, then God’s promise of blessing is for you. To receive the promises found in Luke, chapter 6, all you have to do is:
* Love your enemies
* Do good to those that hate you * Pray for those that despitefully use you * Turn the other
cheek to be struck again
* Give the shirt off your back to those in need
* Everyone who asks you for something-Give
* When someone takes something of yours, do not ask for it back
* Do for others as you would want them to do for you
* Be MERCIFUL as your Father is merciful.
* Do not judge others
* Do not condemn others.
II. Put Material Wealth in Biblical Perspective!
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) God has never promised He will give us MORE than we need; only what we need. How to develop a lifestyle of giving: Totally give yourself to God. Learn the biblical principles. Apply these principles to your life. Once you have surrendered yourself to Jesus Christ and have allowed Him to begin the process of molding and making you what you need to be, then and only then will the principles of giving come into true focus. What are the Biblical principles of giving? The scripture setting in Luke chapter 6 is a good start. Why such an emphasis on giving and money anyway? Well, the Lord felt it very necessary to share with us the principle of stewardship and He devoted 1,565 references to Christian giving in the New Testament. This is one in every five verses talking about money of stewardship. Nineteen of the 38 parables talked about stewardship.
III. There are three types of giving in the New Testament:
• Tithes • Offerings • Alms
What are tithes? Hebrews 7:1-10 gives us a base from which we see that Abraham tithed 10% of all he had taken from the battle. The question for you is: What percent of your income is God’s? The checkbook is one of the greatest tools to determine PRIORITIES in our lives. Tithes are paid to GOD, not to a church or a preacher. Remember, the money you have is on loan from God and he expects you to be a good steward over all of it, not just 10%. God can do more with the 10% than you can with the whole 100%.
Offerings are different from tithes because they are given above and beyond tithing. Offerings are given freely of the heart and wallet for a cause you feel God wants you to give towards. Offerings are freely given; do not give with clenched teeth and a fist. II Corinthians 9:7 tells that “as a man purposeth in his heart so let him give….for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Three levels of giving:
TOP – GRACE- “What do I want God to do through me?”
MIDDLE -GRIT- “What does God want me to do?”
BOTTOM- GET EVEN-“What do I want to do?”
ALMS Matthew 6:2-3 Alms are done in secret with no attention focused on ourselves for the good deed we have done. Example: Take a bag of groceries to an elderly couple in need and leave them on the doorstep. Only you and the Lord will know of the good deed and your reward will be great! The world will know that you are my disciples because you LOVE one another.
Your most valuable possession is time. How you use your time will reveal volumes as to what type person you are. Your calendar is another item that can reveal your priorities. Who do you affect by your schedule? What do you spend your time on? What are your priorities? We should arrange our priorities in such a way that they look like this: Personal relationship with Jesus Christ -Family and all related responsibilities -Personal Ministry -All other areas. Without proper alignment of our priorities we will have a difficult time realizing God’s intent for our lives. If you wonder “Why is my life in such a mess?” where are your priorities?
V. TRICK OF THE ENEMY
DEBT is a word that is familiar to all of us today and most of us think that it is just another part of life that we have to accept. Credit or debt, what is the difference? Are they not the same thing? Credit is a good thing to have. Credit is simply the relationship between your income and your expenses and your risk factor. Credit cannot hurt you because it is simply a statement made by a financial institution saying you are good for that amount. Debt on the other hand is misusing your credit which results in too much month for your money. Debt is subtle. It doesn’t overtake you suddenly but usually occurs over a period of time. Soon you are snared by the enemy and all those $25 payments, along with all the others, overwhelm you. Forty-eight percent of all family problems are money related. God asks you which will you serve? Him or mammon (material wealth). Money is not bad, but the love of money is. Keep God in your finances and He will help you in your decision, making regarding the use of your money. Your buying should be approved of God and you should pray about each major decision you make. If you are in debt, how can you get out? (You are in debt if you do not pay tithes and offerings because you need that money to pay your creditors.). Realize you have a problem. Turn it over to God (prayer and commitment). Seek help to develop a budget and a plan to eliminate debt.
This is the entire key to stewardship and your blessing factor. Giving has nothing to do with assets but has everything to do with attitude. You can never out-give God and I challenge you to try! “Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over.” (Luke 6:38)
From, “The Louisiana Challenger”/May 2009/Page 6 & 9, by Donald Bryan
This material is copyrighted and may be used to study & research purposes only