We’ve kicked off our 2016 Stewardship Campaign!
The first sermon of three in the series “Come Grow with Us” laid out four biblical principles of giving. As we prepare to fill out and return our Estimates of Giving cards November 6th, these principles can help you reflect on how God might be calling you to be a “wise and faithful steward.”
Principle of Priority – Give to God first.
"Take some of the first fruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name" (Deuteronomy 26:2)
Set aside your gifts to God first. If you wait to give God what’s leftover at the end of the month, or the year, I’m willing to bet that the number would be $0. But if we plan, and set aside the most important thing first, at the top of your budget, there will be enough for the rest.
Principle of Regularity – Give to God regularly.
“On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside…” (1 Cor. 16:2)
When we give God first fruits regularly, we practice our commitment to God. God is not just our God sometimes; we follow God all the time. Every time we give ourselves over to God, we reaffirm God’s place in our lives.
Principle of Proportionality – Give to God proportionately.
"…give a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:10)
"On the first day of the week let each one of you lay aside something, storing up as he may prosper.” (1 Cor. 16:2)
“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed, which comes forth from the field year by year” (Deuteronomy 14:22)
The Bible doesn’t tell us to give a specific amount, but tells us to give in proportion to our prosperity. The specifics given are in what proportion – “tithe” means “one-tenth,” or ten percent. If 10% is an imposing figure, perhaps that is a goal that you can work up to over time. Give what represents you, give regularly, and give off the top. And…
Principle of Gratitude – Give to God cheerfully.
“Take from among you an offering to the Lord, whoever is of a generous heart… And they came, every one whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s offering” (Exodus 35:5, 21)
“Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
You could give out of guilt, or obligation, or even compassion for others. The highest motivation, though, is out of joy. You know that God’s goodness and faithfulness have blessed you, and your response in return is joyful blessing to God.
God’s abundance reigns in all things. From the “feeding of the five thousand” to the faithful steward, what is given for God’s purposes will be celebrated and multiplied into abundance.
Note: These principles are pulled and adapted from the work of Al Winn, “A Stewardshp Tour of the Bible,” and Brian Kluth, “Understanding the Grace of Giving,” in Stewardship Matters: The Magazine of the Christian Stewardship Association, Volume 2/ Number 1, p. 7 and from Rev. David Shirey, Disciples pastor, Central Christian Church, Lexington, KY.