Summary: Stewardship is an essential dynamic for growing in our Christian walk
The day the church treasurer resigned the church asked the local grain elevator manager to take the position. He agreed under two conditions.
That no treasurer’s report would be given for the first year.
That no questions be asked about finances during that year.
The people were surprised but finally agreed since most of them did business with him and he was a trusted man.
At the end of the year he gave his report:
* The church indebtedness of $228,000 has been paid.
* The minister’s salary had been increased by 8%.
* The Cooperative Program gifts has been paid 200%.
* There were no outstanding bills.
* And there was a cash balance of $11,252!
Immediately the shocked congregation asked, "How did you do it? Where did the money come from?"
He quietly answered: "Most of you bring your grain to my elevator. Throughout the year I simply withheld ten percent on your behalf and gave it to the church in your name. You didn’t even miss it!"
This morning I want to share on the third area of commitment for membership in the Wesleyan Church: stewardship.
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, `How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Malachi 3:8-10
Stewardship is one of those issues that people get several wrong ideas about. The first is that Jesus said very little about money.
In Matthew, Mark and Luke 1 out of every 6 verses deals with the topic of money. If you look at the parables of Jesus, 16 of 29 parables deal with money or finances. Jesus was very concerned about the topic of money but the question is why? It has been said that money is the root of all evil. Jesus seems to be more concerned about what our money is doing to us than what we do with our money.
The second is that the church shouldn’t talk about money. If jesus talked about money the church most definitely should deal with the issue. The problem is that most people do not understand the issue of stewardship. Stewardship is much more about the state of your heart than it is about the size of your wallet.
What is a steward? A steward is a person who manages the property of someone else.
Stewardship is God’s resources deployed through His people to mobilize His people to evangelize. – Stan Toler
Key words from Malachi 3:10
Whole – The Hebrew word here means complete, total or 100%
There is no doubt that the LORD is speaking of the entire amount that is expected of the people.
Tithe – Tithe means 10% and was an expectation of the people. Tithe should not be confused with offering. Offerings were over and above the tithe. Offerings were given only after the tithe was given.
Storehouse – The Hebrew word here means treasury. The treasury of the Temple was where the entire tithe was kept. Notice that the first 10% went into the treasury. Offerings went elsewhere. The tithe should go into the church treasury and not be designated. Tithe is the operating funds of the temple. Offerings covered various other needs. The same should be true today.
Why is stewardship so difficult?
People forget the money is a spiritual matter
Was Christians falsely believe that money has no impact on their spirituality. Money has no basis in their spirit to life. The problems clear, Jesus does not agree. Just these more about money than any other spiritual topic.
MT 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Money changes people in sadly Christians are not immune. Think of all problems and issues money can cause. These problems often move into the church if not checked. When a church becomes focused on money, they often lose sight of the kingdom. Money is a vital aspect of church life. Without tithing and giving, there would be no church.
People forget tithing is a specific amount
The were tithe his old English and the root literally means one 10th. Our concept of tithing actually means 10%. The problem is that most people forget this simple fact. Tithe is one 10th of the income. For example, a person has a $300 per week income, how much belongs to God? The answer is 100%. God owns everything. He is the owner and we are the stewards or managers. God only asks for 10% back to his cause and his work. An average $300 per week income will be a tithe of $30.