Summary: Do not crave for what you do not have (principle of contentment). Save faithfully and spend wisely (principle of prudence). Give generously and share your blessings (principle of giving).
In the last session, we talked about money - the TRUST fund – what God has entrusted to us. Everything belongs to Him but He has given us money as a trust in this life.
• We talked about the tithe – 10% of what we have. God wants us to RETURN to Him as a way of honouring His ownership over everything we have.
• We do not want to rob God (principle of OWNERSHIP), we do not want to rob ourselves of His blessings (principle of TRUST), and we do not want to rob His church (principle of SUSTENANCE).
• That’s how God wants us to support the work of His Kingdom in these last days.
It is a practical way of expressing the recognition of God’s Lordship over our lives.
• Strictly speaking it is not a law, because Abraham and Jacob tithed even when there was no Law.
• It is something we do willingly and cheerfully, without compulsion.
Before I go on to today’s topic of managing the other 90% of our money, I like to highlight a few more things about the tithe.
• The teaching of the tithe unfortunately is not something that all Christians agreed upon. Majority of the churches agrees with it but some disagrees.
• Joshua mentioned to me a book that is against tithing, and so I thought I need to highlight this to you.
• You are going to come across books or articles on the internet against the teaching of tithing. They say it is an OT Law and we shouldn’t be teaching it, because we are saved by God’s grace and not the Law. Teaching the law makes it legalistic and we are putting people under a yoke. We should be teaching God’s grace and love.
• Don’t teach the tithe (legalistic); let people offer by their own freewill.
Let me put it this way. We tithe not because it is a law to follow but a principle to live by. And it is a good one.
• Jesus says in Matt 5:17-18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
• We are not saved by keeping the Law and it is powerless to change us, but the Law is not useless – it shows us God’s way of righteousness and holiness.
• We teach the Ten Commandments, not to put our trust in our own efforts in keeping the Law, but to get us to understand the heart of God.
I go to church on a Sunday, not because the Ten Commandments say ‘Observe the Sabbath’ but because I love Him and I want to worship Him.
• I honour my parents not because I am commanded to do so, but because I love my parents and I want to bless them.
• So I tithe not because it is a law but because it is my way of thanking God for giving me everything in life.
In fact, Jesus expected more. Matt 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
• If we say we are living under grace and not the law, we need to give more.
• To say we want to give to God cheerfully and willingly will mean more than a tithe; that’s just the bare minimum suggested by the Law. By grace, we should be giving more and not less.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are churches that enforce the tithe.
• They come after you for it. They send you reminder letters at the end of each month, telling you to pay up your tithes.
• The rationale is this. Malachi 3 says God’s house is deprived if we rob Him of the tithe. So in order for the church to be blessed, they make sure that no member default on the tithe.
But we don’t do that here. It goes against the principle of cheerful giving.
• So we tithe faithfully, cheerfully and willingly, because we want to. We honour Him as the Lord of all that we have. And we want to bless the work of His Kingdom.
• Tithing is a good and blessed principle to live by, not a law to follow.
Today we want to talk about the other 90% of God’s money that He has put in our hands.
• We want to be good stewards of this 90%. We do not want to fall in love with it, nor hoard it for our selfish purposes.