BIBLICAL VIEW OF POSSESSIONS
Dr. Grant C. Richison
1. If you are like most Christians, you have probably have a very narrow view of what it means to give to God. “God wants me to give my 10% and maybe an offering as well and that’s it.”
2. Some Christian organizations wield fear in an attempt to pressure people into giving. Gimmicks distort biblical giving. Any gimmick dishonors God. This system merely dupes people into giving. Other ministries feel that any challenge is unspiritual – “Just preach the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to minister.” However, there is a responsibility on leadership to challenge–cf. apostle Paul in 2 Co 8,9. So we see both tendencies to exploitation and neglect.
I. OVERVIEW OF STEWARDSHIP
A. How much should we give away? EVERYTHING!
Frances Ridly Havergal’s hymn
Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold…
Take my intellect and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose
It is not only the money already earned or obtained that is to be given, but also our earning capacity–our intellect–that is to be offered for his service.
B. OIKONOMOS—Greek for manager
1. When God moves Christians to accept their responsibilities in the stewardship of money and begin to face the matter seriously, they wonder what proportion should be given directly to the work of the Lord.
John Wesley–“it is certainly Christian to ask ‘how much’ rather than ‘how little’.
2. Pv 11:24
C. HOW MUCH SHOULD WE GIVE?
1. According to God’s blessing and our ability
Acts 11:29; Dt 16:17; Ez 2:69; Lv 14:30
2. Offer our best to God
Lev 22:21; Mal 1:6-8,14
D. WHY SHOULD WE GIVE?
Giving is more than a responsibility; it is also a privilege. It brings blessing from God.
E. MONEY IS A MANIFESTATION OF HOW WE LIVE OUR TOTAL LIFE
Someone has said that we spend 50% of our time thinking about money–how to get it, spend it, save it, how much you need to pay for this or that. Regardless of the accuracy of that statement, we do think about money a great deal.
How we deal with money is a key area of the Christian life. We need to learn to glorify God with our money. This may be the most abused area in your Christian life. God wants to be glorified out of the use of your money and Satan wants you to misuse it. It is sad that most Christians don’t know how God wants them to use their money. So they walk in spiritual poverty in this area because of ignorance.
As a Christian you constantly face money issues, how to earn it, how to spend it, how to give it. In a sense money is a good barometer of your spirituality, because the way you handle your money is an indication of your performance as a Christian STEWARD. You deal with money constantly–it is a constant reality. When we talk about money we talk about life.
1. ALL MONEY BELONGS TO GOD,
Hagg 2: 8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.
Dt 8:18, capacity to make wealth is God’s
If I were an executive in a corporation and handled company funds like I sometimes handle God’s money, I’d go to jail for embezzlement. That’s something to think about. We must not take this responsibility lightly.
If your employer came to you can said, “Hey, here’s 100$. I want you to spend it carefully and wisely to purchase some things we need. Let me know how you used it.” We would carefully take care of that 100$! You would come back and say, “Well, I got this and this for the office, and I got thus and so that we needed, and I got the best price.”
Do you ever act as though the money in your bank is your own and that you have no obligation to God? If you have to give an account to your employer, how much less would you give account to God?
2. God entrusts us with money management,
God gave us what we have by grace — 1 Co 4: 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
God entrusts money to us.
Lk 16:10 “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” The context is money. It is not a question of having more, it is a question of what you have.
3. God has given us money to enjoy, 1 Ti 6:17; Is 2:7
God is no cosmic killjoy. He allows us to have money to use for His glory.
4. Money can be a blessing or a curse. The key is your attitude towards it.
You often hear people say, “If I had a million dollars I’d…” Maybe, maybe not. The question is not what you would do with the million dollars you might have but what are you doing with the 10$ in your pocket?
Eccl 5: 9 “Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.”
The more you have, the more stores you go to and the more you buy. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it usually is. The more you have the more it goes.
1 Tim 6:6-8, Satisfaction with what you have fits in with being a godly person. Heb 13:15.
1 Tim 6:9, If you love money it brings all kinds of problems.
“Perdition” means loss. When a person loves money, he is useless to God. “You cannot serve God and money” said Jesus.
1 Tim 6:10, How do we regard money? It is not an easy thing to avoid loving money. It is around us everywhere. Money is power. It is part of our lives constantly. It is not money but the love of money that is the problem. You can have a lot of it and not love it, and can have none of it and love it.
1 Tim 6:17, Don’t trust money. To trust money is idolatry.
Mt 6:24, Some derive their sense of security from money.
For money, Achan brought defeat on Israel’s army and death to himself and his family; for money, Balaam sinned and tried to curse God’s people. For money, Delilah betrayed Samson, and caused the slaughter of thousands. For money, Ananias and Sapphria became the first hypocrites in the church and God executed them. For money, Judas sold Jesus. Not very good company for money lovers, is it?
5. Money causes people to forget God.
Solomon was rich beyond belief, but he became trapped in his riches and wanted more and more. He kept marrying foreign wives, to bring in more and more treasure. Thus, he brought Israel into idolatry and fouled up his own life.
v8. As Agur saw what happened he prayed that God would not give him too much or I may worship wealth instead of you. I will become self-sufficient. But also, don’t give me too little, or I’ll steal to meet my needs. Love of money can make us forget God.
6. We begin to mutually exclusively trust in it, Job 31:24-28; Pv 11:28; 1 Ti 6:17
The rich should not flaunt their riches but acknowledge that their riches are from the living God. 1 Tim 6:18–they should be willing to share riches. Sadly, sometimes the more money some people have, the less willing they are to part with it. Riches seem to obscure one’s vision of eternal values.
7. Riches can deceive. Mk 4:19.
When you have money you can easily think you have everything. It lulls you into a false sense of complacency. When money speaks–truth is silent. Some people would lie to get a job promotion. They have a price. Some mute their testimony so they won’t be unpopular. That’s selling out! Whatever your price, you can be sure that Satan will come up with it. When you seek something other than the kingdom of God, you have sold out.
8. Loving money can lead you to build on an unstable foundation, Pv 23:4,5.
It can make you proud and self-sufficient. Dt 8:11-14; Pv 28:11.
9. Money can make us hypocritical, Jer 12:1,2
With our mouths we can thank God for his blessings, yet leave no room for him in our minds.
10. Loving money robs God, Mal 3:8,10
God’s storehouse is your pocket.
11. Loving money robs others, 1 Jn 3:17, too.
F. FUTURE PLANNING
Set aside for the unexpected.
Ants have an interesting virtue–they prepare for the future. Stash away food.
2. Investments involves financial self-control.
Always operate on a margin. If we do not, then we presume on the grace of God.
We put ourselves in foolish situations and expect God to deliver us.
Great American way–buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have from people you don’t like. More obligations than income. Began to support local church but couldn’t keep up. Now they face bankruptcy.
God wants every Christian to have money. But he wants us to spend and save it wisely. Some spend their money on the idea it will all pan out. It may mean having a budget. It certainly means have a priority list, planning, keeping records so you will know where you are. Remember the money you are handling is God’s money.
Pv 27:23,24 “know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever”.
II. THE IDEA OF THE STEWARD, I Pet 4:10
As a steward, man’s primary responsibility is to seek the profit of the Owner by proper management of the resources entrusted to him. The Christian steward does not place his own interests ahead of those of his Master. Thus the goal of everything we do with our money and possessions should be to bring glory to God and promote the accomplishing of His purposes.
1 Co 10: 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
The steward is not to manage the estate for his own interest, advantage or profit, but for that of the owner. The owner, as a just and benevolent man, will of course allow his steward a competent subsistence out of the estate; but the profits of the property are his, not his servant’s; and the general aim with which the whole is managed is to promote his advantage.
As God’s steward, man is accountable to God for the way he utilizes that which has been entrusted to him. The believer who uses his money and possessions faithfully and wisely will be commended by God and will experience God’s blessing; the unfaithful steward will not experience these rewards.
God has made man a steward of material wealth.
Our property is purely a trust fund, and the whole of it is to be used for the benefit of the owner. Stewardship is employed to show all the means of glorifying God. A STEWARD IS ONE WHO MANAGES PROPERTY WHICH DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM. The property in our hands is God’s property. “Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.”
1 Chr 29:11-16
1 Ti 6:17
As God’s steward, man has a limited authority over the possessions entrusted to Him. It is limited by the fact that God retains ultimate ownership.
Perhaps you think a tenth of your cash is the Lord’s, and the rest is yours to use however you want. No! One hundred percent of every dime you obtain should be used to glorify God. This does not mean that you should give it all to missionaries or to your church. It just means that you must use it as your Lord directs you, for His glory.
Giving is not God’s way of raising money; it is God’s way of raising children.