Summary: God is the owner and we are the managers.
“Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.” - 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NLT)
In an article in Relevant magazine, writer Mike Holmes shares the following statistics about giving in the American church:
Only 10-25% a normal congregation practice tithing.
The average Christian only gives 2.5% of their income.
If, American believers would be faithful to only practice tithing (giving 10%), there would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute in a year. The global impact would be phenomenal. Here’s a sample:
$25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases in five years.
$12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years.
$15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically where 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day.
$1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
$100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion.
Those are some amazing numbers. But such potential can only be reached if God’s people will give faithfully. Why aren’t God’s people more faithful when it comes to giving? Well, the real problem when it comes to our giving is not about money. Actually, the Bible says it’s about our eyes. That it, how we look at things. Jesus put it this way:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and
despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” - Matthew 6:21-24 (NIV)
The term “evil eye” is a Jewish term. A “good eye” refers to good will, benevolence and being genuinely happy when others prosper.
But an “evil eye” means the opposite. A person with an “evil eye” feels distressed when others prosper, rejoices when others suffer, loves their money and does nothing in the way of charity. So a person who does not give has an “I” problem.
When Jesus spoke about the eye, He was speaking to a largely Jewish audience who knew what He was talking about. They knew a “good eye” was a generous person and an “evil eye” was a stingy, sour Scrooge. The bottom line is that giving is a heart issue, not a money issue. Generosity has to do with the attitude of the heart.
So, what is the attitude of the child of God who gives faithfully?
1. God is the owner.
The faithful giver recognizes that God is the one who has entrusted us with what we have, because He is the source of everything.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” - Psalm 24:1 (NIV)
When God created man, it’s clear that man’s assignment was to manage of all the creation God had given him (Genesis 1:28).
But man chose to live life according to what he thought to be right and wrong; good and evil; rather than take God’s word for it. And part of the significance of man’s sin was that through choosing to go his own way as opposed to God’s way, man chose to manage everything he touched as though it belonged to him; not God. This is a part of the curse that sin has brought on the human race - greed and selfishness, and all the injustice associated with those attitudes.
We should not be surprised then, that in saving us and transforming us and making us new, that God calls us to adopt a different attitude than the world has toward those things we have in our possession. He calls us to embrace our original assignment.
“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” - Deuteronomy 8:17-18a (NIV)
“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.” - C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
When I see God as owner, I look to His Word to learn how to give in a way that pleases Him. Which means I’ll give at least 10% to His work through my church and offerings beyond my tithe as He leads. And when I see God as owner, I look to Him in prayer to hear what He has to say about how I might grow in the grace of giving, and I’ll give as He directs. Because God is the owner and . . .