Being Found Faithful In Our Giving
One of the areas that I was always being asked about when I was a pastor was the responsibility of stewardship. I got those typical “I don’t believe tithing is a New Testament practice” comments. I was often asked whether we should tithe on the gross or the net income. I was asked if giving to a Christian cause outside of the local church was a proper use of the tithe. I also learned that preaching on giving is not popular with most congregations. Even though I preached on giving only once or twice a year, I would still hear the comment, “the preacher is always asking for money.”
Over the years I have developed a strong personal doctrine of stewardship. It started in the early days of my marriage. I grew up in a denomination that had no clear teaching on stewardship. Her parents had taught my wife, who grew up as a Southern Baptist, from an early age about the responsibility of giving. She also heard a consistent message from her church about the biblical teachings on stewardship.
When we first married and went to seminary, we were making very little money. I knew that we needed to give to the church. So, I asked my wife what she thought about the subject. She gave a simple answer, “We will tithe, of course.” Since then we have consistently tithed and even learned the joy of giving an offering as well.
Through study of scripture and listening to the wisdom of pastors that I respected, I have arrived at several convictions:
1. Tithing is a biblical mandate in both the Old and New Testaments. I see it taught clearly in the teachings of Jesus (Luke 11:42). It is never negated.
2. Tithing is giving to the church not to other Christian causes as worthy as those causes might be.
3. Joy is the predominant emotion for a New Testament giver. Christ has redeemed us and we should joyfully give to the church that He established.
4. Liberality, not legalism, should be the standard of Christian giving. The tithe is the beginning point of giving, not the legal boundary of giving. This really ends most discussions about tithing on the gross or the net.
5. Giving is measured by sacrifice, not amount. Jesus praised the widow with her “mite” instead of the Pharisees with their great wealth (Luke 21:1-4).
6. Missional giving should be a goal for every Christian and church. We are called to take the gospel to the world. That will take our giving to get it done.
7. Christian stewardship is not only about money. It is a lifestyle issue.
Stewardship will be one of the great challenges of the churches of Nebraska and Kansas in coming years as we fulfill our responsibility to reach our “Judea.”
It is my prayer that we will not abandon solid biblical teaching, but that we will be found faithful in our giving.
Send this Column to a Friend
- Prayer for Our Nation August 2012
- Stand Faithfully With Christ July 2012
- A Greater Devotion To The Gospel And The Great Commission April 2012
- A Stewardship Thought - Christ’s Lordship February 2012
- The Great Commission Responsibility Is Ours May 2011
- Giving That Transcends The Tithe March 2011
- Separation Of Church And State December 2010
- The Lord’s Supper November 2010
- The Doctrine Of Baptism August 2010
- We Dare Not Forget The Order July 2010
- More Columns from Along the Journey