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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - June 4, 2013

  • 2017 Jun 04

Stewardship: Giving to God Without Reservation

"For they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." - Mark 12:44, emphasis added

The people closest to Christ gave up all they had and followed Him. One might say, "That is the apostles, not us." Such thinking is why the church is not conquering the world anymore. When has it ever done that? In the nineteenth century, through the ministry of the Cambridge Seven (C.T. Studd and friends), many students chose to give up careers in England and move to mission fields at the farthest corners of the world. They gave up their ownership of things. Through their sacrifices, the gospel went to every corner of the planet in about thirty years because England was touched with such dedicated stewardship.

A Biblical View of Tithing: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former" (Matthew 23:23, NIV). Jesus said tithing was proper, and thus relevant to us. Admittedly, tithing is nowhere specifically commanded in the New Testament, since that is not the genius of God's method under grace. Instead of legislating regulations, Jesus enunciated principles by which His disciples were to regulate their conduct. "I am not commanding you" were Paul's words. He knew that a lavish hand without a loving heart was valueless.

The patriarchs practiced tithing four hundred years before the Law was given (Genesis 14:2028:22 . The usage of consecrated tithes prevailed among Romans, Greeks, and Arabians as well as with the Jews; so tithing seems to rest on the common law of God's kingdom rather than on special Hebrew legislation. Jesus Himself gave tithes and offerings. Is the servant greater than his Lord?

W. A. Criswell (1909 -2002), the great expository teacher for many years at First Baptist Dallas, tells the story about the pastor who was asked, "How many church members do you have?" The answer was, "One hundred fifty." The pastor was further asked, "How many of them are tithers?" The pastor replied, "One hundred fifty." In astonishment the inquirer exclaimed, "What! All one hundred fifty, the entire church, are tithers?" "Yes indeed," said the pastor. "About fifty of them bring the tithe to the storehouse, and God collects it from the rest." In the end "we do not cheat God," concludes Dr. Criswell. "I can either give it to Him in a deeply spiritual act of worship, or He can collect it. In either case, God gets His own."[3]

What does God truly want from us? Since no one has ever seen the Father, we need to listen to Jesus, who said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38).

And Jesus has said that if we love Him, we will obey Him-and that includes how we handle His money, His possessions, and His time!

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