Stewardship – Systematic Benevolence
PURPOSE: All belongs to God. As His stewards, we are responsible to Him for our time, talents and material possessions.
FOCUS: Jesus gave all and wants us to be more like him by our willingness to be faithful with what He has entrusted us.
Greed is said to be the root of all evil. Today we will look at some principles that are God’s antidote to this problem.
Let’s begin by looking at the first principle of stewardship…
How much does God own? Does it include our money? (Hag 2:8, Ps 50:10-11)
But God has made man His steward…
Who is the man? Who are the servants? (Gen 1:26) How many received some talent? Did all receive the same amount? What were they supposed to do with the talents? What happened to the one who refused?
How much of what we have does God expect us to return to Him?
That’s quite a lot!
Does this mean that every Christian need to sell everything they own and live in a monastery?
How much did Levi Matthew leave? But wait a minute! At whose house did he afterwards throw a party for Jesus? How could he leave everything and still own a house? IE: Slave owner, roll in mud. Jesus might not expect you to literally leave all your belongings… but He expects you to be willing to do it! Everything you are not willing to give up for God is your god.
How can Jesus ask so much of us?
First of all, He is our Creator (Ps 119:73) IE: Volvo, manual. He knows how we function best. Wouldn’t our world be a better place if every person was willing to give up everything?
Secondly, He is our Redeemer…
1 Cor 6:20
IE: Toy sailing boat, boy. What was the price paid for us? (1 Pet 1:18-19) Could He give any more? So who is God asking us to be like, when He asks us to give up all? Is it your desire to be like God in character? Are you willing to give up all? Let’s get into some practical aspects of this philosophy. Let’s talk about money. God doesn’t need your money; He owns them already. But He has set up a system of systematic benevolence which is the antidote to greed, so that we can be more like Him. Have you heard about tithing?
Let’s look at what the Bible says about this; we will begin in Genesis…
To whom did Abraham give tithe? (Heb 7:1-6)
Abraham taught this principle to his children and grandchildren…
How much of his earnings did Jacob commit to give a tithe of?
When Israel became an organized nation, the system of tithing was still binding…
Who does the tithe belong to? Is it holy?
What was then done to the tithe?
Numb 18:21, 23-24
Who did God give the tithe to? Why? They were supposed to work fulltime in ministry. This principle was also true for the NT preachers (1 Cor 9:13-14).
What happened if they neglected to return their tithes?
Who did they rob by neglecting the tithe? Will a practicing robber inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Cor 6:10) What does God promise those who test His promise? IE: Testimony. Where does He want us to give our tithe? (1 Tim 3:15)
Finally, I’d like us to look at one passage in the NT…
Mark 10:21-22, 28-30
Why did the man leave Jesus? He gave up eternity in order to gain what he couldn’t keep anyway. What promise did Jesus give to those who left all?
Peter left all and won all. The rich man left nothing and lost all. Are you willing to give 10% of your income, in order to advance the work of God?