(Part 1)

When we think “stewardship,” our minds usually go directly to “money.”  Money does play a big part, because it goes right to the heart of what is important to us, what we think helps us be independent and successful.  Actually, money is only one side of the many-sided subject of stewardship.


Since it is such an important part, let’s just begin with “spendable” resources God has put at our disposal.  First, let us establish that all we have in this life (and the life to come) belongs to God.

A review of God’s dealings with His people, Israel, as He was grooming them to become a nation shows clearly it was God who provided their resources.  The land, for instance, was God’s; and that was why they could not sell it.  It was to stay in the tribe to which it had been assigned.  They could lease or rent its use for a limited time.  The price was determined by how many years were left until Jubilee Year (50th Year).  At Jubilee, accounts were cancelled and the land automatically reverted back to the tribe of the original assignment.  God’s purpose seemed to have been to remind Israel that the “earth and all that is in it” was His, and their dependency was on Him, not on their ingenuity and resources.


Then, as we look closer at early Israel, they were instructed to bring to God’s house ten percent of their increase; and it was to come “off the top” before spoilage, misuse or greed could affect it.  All He asked for was a token of the whole.  When they gave the token of 10 percent—“first fruits”—it represented the whole, and it was as if they had returned all that God had given them.  The blessing on the token amount rested on the ninety percent they still held for their use.


Time and space do not allow for the other offerings of penitence, thanksgiving, etc., that they brought to God’s house.  When they were mindful of God’s providential care, blessings flowed in abundance as God fulfilled His promises for their obedience.  (See Deuteronomy 28).  Having said that, the same principle and resultant blessings are still in effect.  God has not changed!  He is still looking expectantly to us for requested tithes and offerings, and He wants the best that we have.  Quality is more important than quantity. 

“Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD” (Deuteronomy 12:11).


When parents have a responsible treatment of finances, the whole family benefits, and they also suffer results of the curse of mismanagement of their blessings.  (Again, see Deuteronomy 28).  Handling and discussions of money can be a “touchy” subject, but God was not at all backward about expressing His will concerning our stewardship—and it is for our benefit that we establish good stewardship.  Someone went to the trouble of counting Jesus’ parables about money and come up with “16 of 38 parables Jesus taught dealt with money.”  Guess what else they discovered:  There is more said in the New Testament about money than there is about Heaven and hell combined!


Nehemiah told Israel to remember what they had forgotten about obeying “all the commandments of the Lord our God” and to enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law (Nehemiah 10:29).  Oaths contained a blessing for keeping and a curse for breaking.  The rest of that chapter goes into detail of the fiscal responsibilities to receive the blessings and was a reminder of the curse if they failed to obey.

“Someone who’s obsessed with making money to the exclusion of other goals in life has likely foregone the possibility of the acceptance in God’s kingdom.”

…..Jimmy Carter (Quoted in Evangelical Sunday School Lesson Commentary, 2007-2008)


It seems that our obedience to God’s command about handling money was a basis for other areas of our lives.  God truly wants to bless us and just asks for our obedience.  It is NOT money itself that brings blessings or a curse; it is our attitude toward it.  It is our emotional response toward money, not money itself; and the power of the blessing or curse rests solely in our hands.  It’s simple math:  Obey, be blessed; Disobey, live under a curse.  An important choice that we must make.

“If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings:...” (Malachi 2:2).

To further emphasize His expectations of stewardship, God added, “Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).  Wow!  Who has the audacity to rob God!?

I recall hearing a newly baptized Christian relate that he left his wallet in his pocket so it would be baptized and a part of his new life in Christ.  That is humorous, but it packs a wallop to positive action toward total commitment to God.


A good steward sows good seed, waters, nurtures and cultivates it to gain the most increase it is capable of.  Then he is careful to set aside the best seeds from the crop for his next harvest.  If he eats all his seed, he has destroyed his next year’s harvest.  Our tithes are like the reserved seed; they guarantee God’s blessings on the remainder of the harvest and preserves the future ones.

The blessings of stewardship are the result of obedience, not the cause.


“Money reveals where our interests lie; it can direct our attitudes; it ever exposes us to the danger of worshiping it; and it represents value.  Money not only talks, it ‘screams.’ ”  

(Leslie Rynn, quoted in Evangelical Sunday School Lesson Commentary, 2007-2008)

Be a good and faithful steward of all God has entrused you with.  It won’t make Him love you any more than He already does, with His unconditional love; but it will open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you won’t have room enough to receive!  (Malachi 10).


(This is Part 1 of a 2-part series.  Part 2 will be coming soon.)




© There's Good News March 2008

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