The Theft of Stewardship

In His Presence: The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Communism teaches that the government owns everything. Capitalism teaches that the individual owns everything. Christianity teaches that God owns everything. At the heart of Christian stewardship is the assumption that the earth is the Lord's, the world and all who dwell in it. There is absolutely nothing that sits outside of the ownership of God.

The Bible is clear that men attempt to rob God—stewards attempt to rip off the Owner. Malachi 3:7-12 makes this point. At this time the Israelites held a very low view of God. He remained faithful, and even though they were disobedient, they were not consumed (v. 6), but they had turned from the God of their fathers. Oh, they were still showing up for church, but they did not treat God as the sovereign, omnipotent ruler that He is.

The Israelites were made to realize that they were thieves because they were oblivious to it on their own. They asked: "How shall we return [to the Lord]?" (v. 7). God answered: "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings" (v. 8). God used the example of how the Israelites were handling their offerings to demonstrate their spiritual poverty. It's hard to measure spiritual robbery, so this was a visible, tangible illustration of their theft of God. Like a thermometer registers a physical representation of an internal illness, God used the thermometer of tithes and offerings to register the Israelites' spiritual temperature.

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