Belonging Series, Part 4
Money is such a difficult subject to discuss, yet money and possessions are mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. Money is necessary but money has also been the cause of fights, divorce, and even wars. The church is not immune to the destructive forces of money as Christians and even Pastors have manipulated and stolen money from others.
I Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
The Bible also speaks about the joy of giving. But giving is not the starting place but the ending place. Any discussion about giving must start with the broader subject of God, money, possessions, and stewardship.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
To understand money is to understand Stewardship. We are stewards not owners of money and possessions. Stewardship also involves time and talents as well as money and possessions.
Stewardship means that God owns everything. The Bible is filled with many scriptures that God owns everything, including the land. The definition of a steward is one who is entrusted with the management of someone else’s property and resources. God has entrusted us with his earthly resources. If one understands that God owns all, then one can more easily give.
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
Principles of Stewardship
Matthew 25:14-30 describes both the proper and failed stewardship of money. The master entrusted his first servant 5 talents which could be equivalent to 6million dollars. The second servant was entrusted with 2 talents or roughly 2.5 million. And the final servant was entrusted with 1 talent or 1.2 million dollars. The first and second servants were able to double their master’s money. The master thanked both servants, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” It seems to imply that the master did not take back his money but continue to allow them to steward the money.
Servant three had a very different response to the one talent he was given. He was a poor steward of his master’s money.
“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’” (Matthew 25:24-25)
Some of us can relate to servant three because often we treat money in the same fashion.
- He forgot that he was a steward of his master’s money.
- He did not intimately know his master.
- This lack of relationship led to wrong judgements about his master that he is a “hard man.”
- Wrong judgments led to being afraid. Fear became his motivating factor over faith and wise stewardship.
- Fear led to bad decision making and he hid the talent. Like Adam and Eve hiding is the common response when we are afraid of the Master.
- Stewardship is use it or lose it. The master took away his talent based and give it to the servant one. In the end, servant three lost his talent, lost his right to be a steward and lost his spiritual inheritance.
In Israel, there are two large bodies of water. Lake Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Lake of Galilee has an inlet of water flowing into the Lake from the Mount Hermon and has flow of water being released out called the River Jordan. The Death Sea only has an inlet of water coming in. The Lake of Galilee is full of life. The Dead Sea is dead, no life.
As believers, God has given us a river of money, possessions, time and talents. We can either hoard it like the Dead Sea and it will die. Or we can release our money, possessions, time, and talents and create life for ourselves and others.
Giving ultimately is returning to God what He gave us in the first place. Giving is understanding where our possessions come from. Giving is being God’s steward.