Being a Manager of God’s resources
1 Tim 6:17-19
There are three types of givers. The first is like flint. You have to strike it to get a spark they are hard and rough. The second is like a sponge; you have to squeeze them to get anything out of it. The third type of giver is like a honeycomb, oozing its contents out all over. Which one describes would describe our giving? If we want to experience God’s blessing, we need to be more like the honeycomb and let our resources flow out as a part of our nature. Moreover, God is in control of the resources.
In order for us to manage our finances is that we must first understand that God owns everything. The second part of Psalm 50:12b says; for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Also in Psalm 50, we see he owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Everything we possess is merely a loan from Him so that we can use his resources to bring Him glory and build His Kingdom. As Buster puts it sometimes in his prayer over the offering, he thanks God for the jobs we have and the ability to work. If we understand that we have an honor and duty to manage these resources well, we then can see that we can take God at his word.
As we see in the sports world, there are managers and there are owners. The owners trust the managers with the resources to take care of the team. Rarely does a manager start out with the big club. Usually a manager would start out coaching or managing one of the minor league clubs. Then as the person is successful in coaching or managing the minor clubs he or she moves up. Well that same principle is applied with our finances and other resources that God has left us to manage. LK 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
This passage shows that God entrusts more and more of his material resources to those who prove they can be trusted to manage it effectively. This is one of the reasons why God has always wanted his people to be generous in giving of tithes and offerings. It is a form of spiritual resource management.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people made offerings in order to support ministry projects and programs, like the famine relief to Jerusalem, the care for widows and orphans, to construct and maintain facilities for worship, to the physical needs of the leaders, teachers, and workers in God’s service. God wants his people to experience the privilege of giving-even those in poverty. All financial decisions are actually spiritual decisions. When we put God first, in our giving, we are involved in and act of worship to God.
We need to make some decisions:
1. Give to the LORD this Sunday.
Make today the day you take that first bold step of faith and follow God with our finances. The idea of giving on the first day of the week comes from the early church. First Corinthians 16 tells us 1 Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
Everyone is to be involved, the rich and the poor, the men, women and children, because everyone has some sort of income. Allowances, part time jobs, whatever we have received. Some might put in checks and include the tithe of the entire household. Children who learn to put in the offering plate will grow up trusting God with their finances. Proverbs tells us PR 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it. If we want our children to learn to trust God, we have to teach them.
2. Decide to give to the Lord every Sunday.
Now how do I fit that with those on fixed incomes and retirement. Well you could give every week or once a month tithing on that income. Since Paul is responding to their questions about when and how to give, these instructions also give wise counsel to us about the frequency of giving. Now in Paul’s day there was no such thing as social security or welfare as we know it. So Paul is encouraging the Corinthian Christians to set aside each week. Why is that? Paul knows a larger gift is possible when people set aside money regularly. It is a very healthy spiritual habit to get into.
3. Plan to give “tithes and offerings”
Paul tells the Christians at Corinth to set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income. There is no statement about percentages or amounts in any NT passage. The idea of a tithe being 10% comes from the OT, which was written to teach us and thoroughly equip us to every good work.. The tithe was to help the financing of the workers and temple upkeep, the offerings were given in addition to their tithes and were used for special purposes.
The plan is simple. Give to the LORD FIRST. Larry Burkett suggests we write our tithe and offering check first, before the rents, before the bills, give to the LORD FIRST. And trust God to help with the rest.
Tithe to the home congregation. In the OT, God wanted the center of Jewish worship and spiritual leadership to be strong. God’s people brought their tithes and offerings to the priest (Deut 12:5-6). 5 But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; 6 there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. This has a NT parallel from the teachings of Paul. In 1 Cor 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. The idea is to bring the tithes and offerings to your place of worship first. It is here that the church contributions were set aside and used for ministry. Today, as well, our home congregations need to be strong. It’s where you receive your greatest blessing. It is where your kids go to Sunday School, it is where your ministry has its greatest focus and where you share in your closest friendships. It is in the local congregation where you are most involved or at least have that opportunity to be involved and we receive our greatest spiritual nurturing. When we give to bless our home congregations, we in turn are blessed in many other ways. Sending your tithe somewhere else is robbing your home congregation of a blessing. It is stealing from your home congregation when you come here to be blessed, to be nurtured, to grow spiritually and send your tithes somewhere else.
I have heard from people everywhere I have been, I send my tithe to this mission or this program. That misses the point of what Paul is telling the Corinthians and us. The firstfruits belong to the LORD and in the local congregation. Will the TV evangelist come and comfort you when you are sick? Will that program director come and visit you in the hospital? Will the one you give to come and bury you? This is why the firstfruits belong to the home congregation first, in order to carry out the ministry of the home congregation.
Give extra offerings as the LORD prompts your heart. Have you ever noticed the separation of terms when it comes to giving? TITHES and OFFERINGS, what is an offering? It is over and above the TITHE. But sometimes the offering is part of the tithe when it is more than the first 10%. Don’t ever feel bound to stop at giving 10%. Our goal should be to excel in the grace of giving (2 Cor 8:7). But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Sometimes we will have extra, sometimes we won’t. The offerings are to be given as the LORD prompts the heart. Larry Burkett has said “Christians don’t have enough simply because they do not give enough.”
One the most frequent times when offerings are important occurs during a church building project. Effective, spiritually motivated churches shy away from making this time a mere fundraising experience. Instead they ask their members to pray about what God wants to give through them. Since God already owns it, what could be a more accurate statement about giving? It is truly amazing what people have the courage to do after they pray.
Bob Hope, a man known for his generosity said: “If you haven’t go any charity in your heart , you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
When it comes to giving we must have a special attitude. One day a woman received a letter from Jesus. I am coming to visit you tomorrow, it said. The woman hardly had anything in her house to offer the LORD during his visit. So she hurried out the door to the corner market with a few dollars she had left. She made her purchase and went out the door back to her home. On her way home she encountered a man, dressed in rags, he looked cold and hungry. Spare some food ma’am? As she looked at the man she noticed a woman and child with him. Been laid off ma’am we lost our home and haven’t a thing. She wanted to just move but something inside her compelled her to stay. She looked at the man and his wife, they were cold and hungry. But what could she give, she only had a few groceries for lunch with the LORD. She started on her way, “no sorry” she said. The man turned away and said “well thanks anyway” She took a few steps, stopped turned and went back to the man, giving him the groceries she had. She noticed that his wife was wearing an old torn coat, she took off her coat and gave it to the woman, and here you need this more than I do.
As she walked home, even though it was cold, she did not feel cold. As she approached her door she noticed another letter in her mailbox. That’s odd, the mailman does not come twice a day. She opened the letter, it was from Jesus. Thanks for the meal and the coat. Love Jesus
Jesus said “Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers, you do for me!
In order to help the local congregation be a strong influence to the community to which it serves, it needs your tithes to come here. Your tithes make this ministry stronger. Your tithes help this ministry grow. Your tithes help this ministry reach out to others in the community. Help this ministry do what it has been called to do since it started.
Give to the LORD first, Give each week to the LORD, and bring the full tithe to the local congregation to help it grow.