by Buster Whitlock, Minister of Finance and Administration
In last week’s blog, we introduced the concept of God’s Cycle of Giving.
The cycle begins with first acknowledging that everything we have belongs to God – our possessions, our talents, even our families and friends. Since God is the Owner of all, he is also an abundant giver! Thank the Lord that while God owns everything, he chooses, by his grace, to give us many good things.
While the first half of the cycle centers on God and his roles, the second half focuses on our response to God’s wonderful gifts.
3. We are Managers of God’s Gifts
"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." 1 Peter 4:10
While God is the owner and giver of everything we possess, he instructs us to manage these gifts well – both to honor him and to serve others. As the above verse notes, we are “stewards”, not owners. A steward is one who manages the resources of the owner in a manner that would most please him. As followers of Jesus, we are charged with making decisions with our time, money, possessions, and relationships that would most honor the Lord.
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
Look at your calendar, your bank statement, and your relationships. Do they reflect the Lord’s priorities, your own, or someone else’s?
Remind yourself that these are God’s resources, not yours. Remind yourself that he is trusting you to make decisions with time, possessions, and relationships that bring him the greatest honor.
How can you re-allocate your time and spending to better reflect the love of Jesus in all areas of your life? What habits do you need to discard? What habits do you need to begin? How will you begin? Write down your plan.
4. We Give Back to God
“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.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-11
It is both our obligation and our joy to give a portion of our blessings to God’s work. The tithe (literally “one-tenth”) is the standard we consistently see in the Scriptures. It is seen before the Jewish law, mandated in the Jewish law, and confirmed by Jesus himself.
In my own experience, when I acknowledge that God is the ultimate owner, that he is the abundant giver, and that I am called to be a good manager of God’s blessings; then giving back to God can be an act of worship, not a chore. It grows my faith and fuels my excitement for what God is doing through his church. This also completes the cycle of giving that God has ordained.
God is Owner --> God is Giver --> We are Managers --> We are Givers
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
Are you consistently giving back at least one-tenth of your income to the Lord’s work? If not, how can you change your spending habits so you can be more obedient to God in this area? It’s not easy. It may require saying no to things you currently enjoy so that you can say yes to things that have eternal significance.
Most of us will need to develop a specific plan to accomplish this. I wish you grace and diligence as you seek to love and obey God more closely in the coming year!