It seems that there is a lot of confusion nowadays about the Bible’s stance on Christian stewardship. Ironically, the problem is coming from believers living in the most affluent nation in human history. Many Christians in America have found excuses to exempt themselves from financial faithfulness. Though we live in a proverbial island of plenty that exists in a sea of need, many act as if the Bible is silent on the subject of stewardship. Consider four biblical reasons for Christian giving.
An Issue of Ownership
Christian charity isn’t primarily an issue about what we own. It is really a matter of who owns us. When writing to boastful teachers in Corinth, Paul asked, “What do you have that you didn’t receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). The apostle meant to show that boasting is illogical in the Christian experience because we are all recipients of grace. The Lord has purchased us by His blood (Acts 20:28), endowed us with innumerable spiritual blessings (2 Peter 1:4), given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and blessed us with sufficient material provisions (Philippians 4:19). At the end of the day, all that we are, and all that we have, comes from God. As a result, we ought to give the Lord His due in all domains of our lives. The Bible says, “You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Are you allowing the Lord to be Lord of every area of life, including your finances?
An Issue of Stewardship
As members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), we each have been entrusted with different levels of responsibility. The Lord has invested various amounts of talents and treasures into our lives. He desires for us to function as investment managers over what He has given us, using our abilities and affluence to make a difference for His kingdom. Christian giving isn’t just a finance issue, it is a faithfulness issue. Are you leveraging your skills, your money, and your resources to make an eternal impact (1 Corinthians 4:2 and Luke 16:11)?
An Issue of Partnership
When we give money to the church, our dollars do much more than we often think. They bless ministers, missionaries, and members within the body of Christ. Our offerings go far beyond the plate. They build gospel partnerships that establish the kingdom of Christ on earth. Paul spoke of Christian giving in these terms when writing to the church at Philippi that had sent a financial gift to support his missionary endeavors (Philippians 4:14). Are you faithful to give? Think about this — when you donate a percentage of your income to the church, you enlist as a partner in Jesus’ mission to redeem people to Himself!
An Issue of Worship
Christian giving is ultimately a heart issue. In one sense, our financial contributions are like a thermometer that reveals the temperature of our spiritual passion. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). If you want to increase your desires towards the Lord, increase your contributions to His kingdom! You will naturally love what you spend money on.
Dr. Patrick Latham