Wednesday 13 June 2018

The Stewardship of Money

Man must choose to serve God rather than money.

Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Malachi 3:6-10 "I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty. But you ask, How are we to return? Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, How do we rob you? In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse the whole nation of you because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven an pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit says the Lord Almighty. Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land, says the Lord Almighty."

I don’t have time to cover all aspects of what God says about money today. There is more written about money in the Bible than there is about faith. Perhaps this is because our attitude about money and our possessions (that is , that which we buy with our money) tells God more about out real trust in him than our personal theology does.

What I have to say today comes from applications from Larry Burkett and Jim Sammons as they have written and lectured on their interpreations of Scriptural principles of finance. I and my family have greatly benefited from the ministy of these two Christian men. If God happens to speak to you today, there is much more information in our Church Library where Ling Lin or I can direct you for further study.


A. To provide basic needs.
What really are basic needs? Food, Clothing, Shelter
I Timothy 6:6-10 "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
Note: Money is not given to us by God to: buy whatever you want; measure your success in life; gain independence (be your own boss)
How can we be sure that we have the right attitude toward money?
Pr 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
We should go to the Lord for direction of the use of our money as well as for direction of how to live in other aspects of our lives. Why is it that as Christians we are willing to trust the Lord with our salvation, that is, with our resurrection, whereas we are not willing to trust the Lord with our finances?
Biblical Principles of finance will: give us a greater sense of daily dependence on the Lord; develop a spirit of gratefulness; encourage each us to live within our means; help us enjoy our possessions
Contentment with basics enables us to depend on the Lord, be grateful, live within our means, and enjoy the possessions we have.

B. To confirm direction.
Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him"
God will supply the money or lack of it to confirm direction. Lets take an example: Is this the right time to buy a computer? If you have only half enough money to buy a new one, you can assume that God does not want you to have one, or if you really urgently need one, perhaps God is telling you to buy a used one. Would a used one do a satisfactory job?
Another Example: This is one that I have violated in the past: Should I buy a new or used car or wait? Why do I want a new car? Prestige? The same principles apply as with the computer.
God is interested in these aspects of our Lives. Have we prayed about the need or want! We are talking about direction from God. One thing I have learned is that God is more interested in the direction that we are going than where we are at any particular time.

C. To give to:
1. To give to other Christians
Romans 12:13 "Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
What is Gods purpose in giving to other Christians? to unite Christians; to initiate Thanksgiving; to multiply giving
Remember II Cor 9: 6 He that sows sparing will also reap sparingly; He that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2. To give to Poor
We are NOT give to the Rich. Proverbs 22:16 "He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich -- both come to poverty."
Proverbs 19:17 "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. Jesus tell us our compassion for the poor tells us really how we would treat Him if he were still on earth in the flesh.
Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I needed clothes and you clothed me When did we do these things? Whenever we did it to "the least of these" of course meaning the poor and needy.
3. To give to Lord
Malachi 3:10a "Bring the whole tithe into my storehouse."
There is much that I would like to say today about the tithe. But because of the lack of time I will only briefly deal with a few fundamental questions:
1) What is a tithe? A tenth of everything (including our time?) Abraham first to tithe
2) Does tithing apply to us today? Remember, Jesus said that we shouldn’t neglect it!
3) What is the real purpose of the tithe?
Deut. 14:22 "that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always." Does God need your tithe?
Ps 50:10 "he has every animal in the forest and the cattle on a thousand hills!"
Matt 3:9 "out of stones God can raise up children."
God doesn’t need our tithes, nevertheless, he does choose to use us to do his work! The tithe is to remind us that everything belongs to Him and to revere Him.
4) Where is the tithe to be given? To the local Church (the storehouse).
5) When should the tithe be given? On the first day of the week after we get paid.
6) Does the tithe include more than money? Perhaps, certainly as Stewards all of our firstfruits, including time and talents! Proverbs 3: 9-10 "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."
7) Should a person tithe if he is in debt? Yes, Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Debt may be the result of not tithing! That is, he has withheld his protection and/or blessing.

D. To illustrate God’s power.
Malachi 3:10b "test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Our God is a God of Power! Expect a Miracle! What is a Miracle? I like the definition:
"A miracle is a natural or unnatural event with precise timing that brings Glory to God."
Real Faith dictates that We Obey first (faith), Understand later.
Natural Man uses human reasoning before he decides to obey God.
Spiritual Man obeys a scriptural command first (by faith) and understands the hidden purpose and wisdom later. Obey first, Understand later.


A. Debt - We should not borrow!
1. "the borrower is a servant to the lender." Proverbs 22: 7
2. "Owe no man anything, but to love one another..." Romans 13: 8
Borrowing presumes on the future. What is the difference between faith and presuming on the future? "Presuming on the future" is deciding what we want to accomplish and trying to get God to do it for us.
James 4:13-14 Now listen you say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money". Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Borrowing constitutes God’s judgement.
BLESSINGS FOR OBEDIENCE: Deut 28: 12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
CURSES FOR DISOBEDIENCE: Deut 28: 43-44 The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. 44 He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him . He will be the head and you will be the tail.

What’s really wrong with borrowing money?
1) it interferes with God’s provision. II Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes if the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
2) it demonstrates discontent with basics. I Timothy 6:8 "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." Usually we are borrowing for wants not needs.
3) it devours our resources (high interest).
4) it stifles resourcefulness.
5) it promotes spending and over spending.
6) it damages God’s reputation. Ephesians 4:19 "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more."
7) it excludes help from others. Romans 12:13 "Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

B. Cosigning for loans - Avoid it!
Pr 22:26 "Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you."
Pr 11:15 "He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe." Example of Cosigning for a friend."

C. Collecting many possessions rapidly. (Get rich Quick) - Avoid Materialism!
Pr 10:22 "The blessings of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it."
Anyone out there sending in your Readers Digest or Clearing house Sweepstakes?
What is the motivation for these schemes? Greed, Get rich quick
Pr 13:11 "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little make it grow."
Pr 20:21 "An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end."
Pr 15:27 "A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live."
Pr 23:4-5 "Do not wear yourself out to get rich: have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings, and fly off at the sky like and eagle."

D. Depending on the government to take care of the poor - We should give to the poor!
Pr 28:27 "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."
Pr 10:4 "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth."
Pr 14:21 "He who despises his neighbor, sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy."

E. Charging exorbitant interest - Avoid interest by avoiding borrowing! - Avoid credit card debt
Pr 28:8 "He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor?"
Pr 22:16 "He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich both come to poverty."

F. Leaving an inheritance for our Grandchildren.
We are leaving an enormous debt in this country to our grandchildren. What does the Bible say about this?
Proverbs 13:22 "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous."

G. Helping provide our children with houses.
Have you seen the Bumper Sticker that says: "I’m spending my children’s inheritance"? Although it is kind of cute, it is a sad commentary on our current society.
Proverbs 19:14 "Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."
Should we borrow to buy a house? Perhaps borrowing to buy something that appreciates can be in the will of God. Larry Burkett thinks so. Houses are one of the few things that normally appreciates. Nevertheless, nothing appreciates forever. Example one: my sons bought a house four years ago and now has to sell it.. He is set to lose about $10,000.

H. Generosity to Poor.
Pr 11:24 "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty."
Pr 22:9 "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."
Pr 28:25 "A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper."
Should the poor be taken care of by our government? Think about this in the context of these Scriptures.

I. Trust in riches for contentment.
Proverbs 11:28 "Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."
I like this definition of Contentment - Realizing that God has given me everything that I need for my present Happiness.

J. Live within your income.
Phil 4:12 "I know what it is to need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

By transfering ownership of all we have to God. Here, I’m not talking about transferring ownership to the Church. Really, we own nothing here on earth, we are just Stewards, if we understand that and acknowledge that before God, then we can be in his will with regard to everything that he has given to us. After all, we are here on this earth for only a little while. Remember Ecclesiastes 12:7 "and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it".
How do we transfer ownership of what we have been given back to God? First,
A. Name the things that you love the most.
Genesis 22:2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go..."
1. Present them completely to the Lord
2. Die to them in your human emotions
How do we do this? By recognizing that we don’t own them, or can have any expectations regarding them. That is, by becoming a Steward and taking care of them without an attitude of ownership that results in selfishness and indulgence.
B. Expect God to show his supernatural power through that which you give to Him.
Remember Abraham. Genesis 22: 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy...Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. ... I will surely bless you and make you descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore..." Likewise, you cann’t imagine the blessings that await you if you dedicate all that you have to the Lord.
What might you give to the Lord?
What might you receive?
1) Marriage
love that surpasses human understanding
(Ephesians 5: 32) As Christ loves the Church
2) Family
many Godly generations
3) Home and Possessions
(Mk10:30) "shall receive an hundredfold in this time...
and in the world to come, eternal life"
4) Friendships
experience true fellowship. (eliminate expectations)
5) Reputation
lead you to right decisions (protects His reputation)
(Psalm 23: 3) "He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake."
6) Money
blessings poured out from God (Malachi 3:10)
barns will be filled to overflowing (Proverbs 3:9-10)
I think one of hardest things for American to give to the Lord is their automobiles. After Deana and I had come to grips with Agiving everything to the Lord, the Lord quickly tested us in this area. Remember the Lord will most likely test you with what you love the most. Anyway we had saved for a long time and nearly ten years ago bought a Van Conversion to use expecially on trips and to use when we were with our Grandchildren. (Our car was too small to take more than two other people). First friends ask to use it, that was hard enough, but then Young Life Leaders asked to use it, and you know who they were carrying, TEENAGERS! We have almost passed the test During the past ten years the Van has gone about 135,000 miles (it had 35,000 miles on it when we bought it). It has been to many places while on loan to Churches, Young Life and friends from Canada to Mexico to Colorado. Yes at time there has been disappointments, like the three times that the Van was returned with dents. But you know when you are just the Steward, and God is the owner, then you have to contact him to decide what you do. It turns out the dents are still in the Van, and of course we have had to have tuneups to the old engine, but despite all a couple of weeks ago it passed smog again and its running quite smooth, not using much oil, and who knows, maybe God is going to get as many miles out of an American made Chevrolet as most of us get out our Japanese Cars Certainly the Van has been under God’s protection.

C. What does it mean to transfer ownership?
1. Transferring ownership to God means that every decision as to how my money will be earned or used will be based on Scriptural Principles.
2. After I dedicate my money to God, I must view myself as a Steward rather than as an owner.
3. Once I transfer ownership to God, He has the right to take or leave those funds as He sees fit.
4. By giving God the ownership of my money, I allow Him to work Supernaturally though it.
5. God will require me to follow His Commands once I transfer ownership of my money to Him.
6. One day I must give an account as to how I managed all the funds that God entrusted to me.
7. God usually asks for the object of my most cherished affection first.
8. Giving God the rightful ownership of my possessions means that I die emotionally to them.
9. The actions of Abraham in Scripture provide an excellent example to me of how to transfer ownership of my possessions to God.
10. To purpose this day to serve the Lord rather than Money.

In Summary, the way we view and use our money is a measure of our walk with God. We may think that we own every one of our possessions and our money. However, that is just an illusion, God really owns it and he is waiting to see what kind of a Steward we are going to be for Him.

Contact Father Okwuosa on 08039681543

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