Attitudes About Possessions
There are at least four different attitudes about possessions:
1. The compulsive hoarder:
“What is mine is mine, and I will keep it.”
2. The compulsive shopper:
“What is mine is mine and I will spend it.”
3. The thief:
“What is yours is mine, and I will take it.”
4. God’s manager/servant:
“What is mine is God’s and thus is yours, so I will share it.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of host, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
The Lord said, “Prove Me.” What a challenge! Here is an investment opportunity with guaranteed dividends. The LORD clearly pledges to return more than is brought to Him.
2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
The laws of sowing and reaping apply as much to religion as to agriculture. We should remember this when the offering plate is passed.
One always reaps more seed than he sows, and it is the same with our investment in spiritual returns.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
God looks upon our willingness to share our material abundance with others as an index of our love and devotion to Him, because He shared with us the greatest of all gifts, Jesus Christ, through whom we enjoy eternal life.
Paying our tithe is only an expression of our thanks to GOD, which is like paying rent says “thank you” for letting me live and work in your world.
Life is short and we only have one life. Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Giving to God should be done spontaneously, not squeezed out of us. It is the way of blessing, enriching the giver as well as others. God is not pleased if we give simply because others are giving, and it would not look well if we did not, nor is He pleased by giving, done out of a stern sense of duty or in the spirit that most of us pay our taxes.
He wants His offerings to be freewill offerings, given from the heart. It has been said, that there are three kinds of giving:
1. grudge giving,
2. duty giving,
3. and thanks giving.
When grudge giving is involved, people say, “I guess I’ll have to give.” When duty giving is involved, people say, “I guess I ought to” but when thanks giving is involved people say, “I want to give.”
What joy it brings to the heart of God when believers bring their offerings, recognizing it as a privilege to give.
Jesus told a parable about persons who were entrusted with different amounts of possessions, 5 talents, 2 talents and 1 talent. While there were differences in the amounts, equal responsibility was demanded in the management of those amounts.
The person with the least amount was the least responsible. God took from the person and gave it to the person who had the most.
14(Jesus speaking) For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15And unto one he gave five to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knowest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There will always be differences in what people own and the amount of money people make, but regardless of who we are, where we live, or what we have we should all see ourselves as managers of God’s material blessings, who desires to see that none of God’s people lack the basic necessities of life.
Paul gave the illustration of the people of Israel gathering manna in the wilderness. Some gathered much, and others gathered little, but the needs of all were met. None prospered at the expense of others, and none lacked due to any impediment in gathering.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Yes, God loves a cheerful giver. We may be tempted to excuse the poor from giving to the Lord, lest it create more of a hardship for them.
Remember, however, that when Jesus observed the widow who gave her only two coins to the Temple treasure, He did not discourage her, rather He commended her for giving the greatest gift that day.
Christ commended the poor widow:
1And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3And he said, Of a truth I say unto you that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
The amount we give may be small, but if it’s from the heart, God will multiply it a hundred fold.
God never intended that people should become so attracted and committed to the things of this world that they would lose sight of their spiritual goals.
The stewardship teachings of the Bible are designed to keep things from mastering us and to keep us trusting God. As Christians mature, three concepts merge in their minds: loving, living and giving.
In this lesson we will receive orientation to the material world and the spiritual life.
Theme Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Giving to God should be done spontaneously, not squeezed out of us. It is a way of blessing, enriching the giver as well as others.
The law of giving to God is that the more we invest in His business the greater are the dividends paid to us. It is a privilege to give to God’s work. It has eternal value. It pays excellent dividends!
The stewardship teachings of the Bible are designed to keep things from mastering us.
DISCOVERING THE GRACE OF GIVING
Theme Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:6
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
The discovery in our lives that giving is a grace, and that it does not have to come as a result of obligation, necessity, guilt, pressure or emotion, that knowledge will turn giving into an exciting spiritual experience.
America has undergone significant changes in its monetary relationship with the rest of the world. The United States’ dollar has declined in its buying power; deficit spending seems to rule the day and the possibility of a world money system looms brighter each day.
Seeing this all come to pass, we should ask the question, as believers: What is the quality of my stewardship? The Scripture also teaches that to whom much is given, much will be required.
The Scripture teaches that where a man’s treasure is there you will find his heart as well.
All of us are grateful for the comforts of life, but we need to beware lest these creature comforts can become masters instead of servants.
It is good to have the things that money can buy provided we don’t lose the things that money can’t buy.
Just as each stage of physical growth has its own peculiar dangers and problems, so the different stages of spiritual growth present hazards and challenges.
The younger Christian is zealous for the Lord but may lack spiritual knowledge. The older believer has a great deal of knowledge, but his zeal may have grown cold.
Seems that one of the particular temptations of the maturing Christian is the danger of taking his blessings for granted and getting so accustomed to them that they fail to excite him as they once did.
The Israelites in the wilderness got so accustomed to their blessings and God had to chasten the people.
1And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and His anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. 3And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them. 4And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: 6But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. 7And the manna was as coriander seed, and the color thereof as the color of bdellium. 8And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. 9And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. 10Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. 11And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast Thou afflicted Thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favor in Thy sight, that Thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? 12Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that Thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which Thou swarest unto their fathers? 13Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. 14I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. 15And if Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray Thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in Thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness. 16And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. 17And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. 18And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. 19Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; 20But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt? 21And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and Thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. 22Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them? 23And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether My word shall come to pass unto thee or not. 24And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. 25And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave It unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. 26But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the Spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. 27And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp 28And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. 29And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them! 30And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel. 31And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. 32And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 33And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. 34And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. 35And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.
They had grumbled and complained and God gave them their choice, but He sent leanness into their souls.
And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
A thankful heart, lost in the wonder of God’s grace and goodness, will never take God’s blessings for granted. We must beware of getting accustomed to our blessings.
The earth is our schoolhouse, the context in which we learn the spiritual realities that will stand in the judgment. Therefore we should be looking up for a redemption that draws nigh. Jesus may come today.
No one knows the grace of Christian giving until he comes to the place where he really enjoys giving.
If we ask why giving is such a privilege and why we should be so happy to give, the first answer is that it gives us opportunity to trust God.
As we give generously, trusting God to supply all our need, we find that God is powerfully able to make all grace abound and overflow so there is far more than enough.
If we will, we can become channels of this grace and righteousness and reap a rich harvest for the Lord.
There we must give account of what we have done with the gospel and its blessings with the Holy Spirit’s gifts and God’s calling with our time, talents, possessions, salaries, homes, with our powers of speech, strength, bodies, minds and soul.
The real test of our faithfulness is not how we treat the big things, the great opportunities, but in how faithful and dependable we are in that which is least, for those who are unjust in little things will be unjust in big things. If we are unfaithful in small things, do we expect God to trust us with the riches and glories of Heaven, with crowns and a throne?
Have we lost the vision for the work: lost souls and missions, for training workers?
God help us make Christ our Lord and make money and material possessions our servant for His glory.
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Money is a medium of exchange, no more, no less. It’s worth is determined by what it will buy. The question is, not how much money do you have but what are you doing with what you do have?
Our time on earth will end, either by death or rapture. At that moment our stewardship will be over, but death does not separate us from the effects of our stewardship; therefore, everything that our Heavenly Father has entrusted to us must be used with the next world in view.
Man is born without material possessions and at his death he leaves everything he owns behind.
Believers are stewards under God of all they own, all they are, and all they can become.
How many of us are prevented from soaring free in His Spirit because our accumulations of the necessities of life keep us dragging along the ground?
In God’s order, privilege always brings responsibility.
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Christians are not just to be recipients of grace, but dispensers of grace to others, channels through whom God’s grace flows out to others.