Day 7: Financial Stewardship, January 8
The financial worlds.
A. The Christian’s financial worlds; it’s a matter of choice
Every one of us, you and me as individuals or us as families have a financial world which we have to attend to, no matter how spiritual. Actually being spiritual does not deny the existence of the natural. Being spiritual help, you understand the natural better. 1 Cor 2:15 "But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one."
Just as we have a financial world in our individual capacities when we come together as a group called the church; now called the body of Christ, we create a 'church financial world'.
You are responsible for the finances that come through you in your individual capacity, and the church is accountable for the finances they receive through church members.
There are competing priorities in the area of church members' finances. Church versus personal. This is not supposed to be so; it's a priorities problem. There should be room for both. Whenever we are facing challenges in our finances, and we begin mentally to debate whether to give our tithe or offering, this is the right time to look at our priority list.
Misplaced priorities are always the problem when we choose to substitute the things of God with meeting personal needs.
Matthew 6:33 "But you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 22:21 "They said to him, Caesar's". And He said to them, 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."
When faced with financial challenges, this is the time we strive to maintain our integrity as stewards. A faithful steward does not change rules by overriding the principles of stewardship.
B. Principles of stewardship
1. The ownership principle
God owns everything, and we are administrators on his behalf.
Scripture: Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the Lord's and its fullness world and those who dwell in it".
In Genesis 2:15 "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it."
2. The principle of responsibility
Sometimes we mix up rights with responsibilities.
Owners have rights, and stewards have responsibilities. God has a right, and we have responsibilities.
God has called us to manage what belongs to him; resources in the form of money is one area. Do we manage it according to his will or according to our wills?
3. The principle of accountability
No one has nothing to give to God in this world. In other words, there cannot be a steward for nothing. It is a matter of recognising what you are entrusted with. We are entrusted with resources, abilities, opportunities and gifts. Resources include money.
We shall all report on how we have managed our time, money, words, relationships, information and authority.
Matthew 25:24 Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master’, he said I knew you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. (NIV).
Scriptures: Mathew 24:45 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season".
4. The principle of reward
The bible teaches us that a faithful steward who does the masters will be rewarded in this life and the next (Matthew 19:29).
Matthew 25:21 "His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord".
C. Qualities of a faithful steward
-They are loyal.
-They are faithful or trustworthy.
-They are committed. (Consistent).
Financial stewardship is not separated from prayer life.
If anything, we pray for direction in our giving, the how.
We include prayer in our decision making or more accurately, we pray to come to a right decision making.
D. Motivation in giving
Motivation is one of the areas we can go wrong. What is my motivation in giving?
We can give for different reasons, e.g. to be seen by people that we are givers. People who give for wrong reasons give on certain conditions. They cease giving if they think certain conditions are not met, e.g. " My giving is not well appreciated therefore I will not be giving my tithe, my offering".
Matthew 6: 1 "Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven".
Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man".
There is a church financial world.
In whatever we do, let's have this in mind, we are stewards, but we choose whether to be faithful or unfaithful stewards.