[esvignore]We have already mentioned in our first article Stewardship: A Good Disciple is a Good Steward, the four principles of stewardship:
In our second article we looked at seven principles for living in Stewardship: The Well Rounded Life of a Faithful Steward:
- Finances (Debt & Borrowing)
- Mind (Contentment)
Today I’d like to continue to consider the mind of the Believer. What should our attitude be toward giving and all that we have?
In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable is about the attitude of Stewardship! Most Jews hated the Samaritans who were the offspring of foreigners resettled in the land by the Babylonians after the fall of Jerusalem in 585 BC. They intermarried with the poor Jews who were not taken into captivity. Jesus was asked by a lawyer who is my neighbour? Jesus tells of a man stripped, beaten and left half dead by robbers. Three men were passing him: the first a priest, the second a Levite and the third a Samaritan. There are three attitudes or mindsets here. The robbers’ attitude was what’s yours is mine and we are going to take it. The attitude of the priest and Levite was what is mine is mine and I’m going to keep it. But the attitude of the Samaritan, who is the one in the parable who obeys the commandment to love his neighbour is What is mine is yours, I’ll share it with you. The faithful steward is a giver and everything he has is not grasped but is in his open palm available to be given as God directs.
Giving is a matter of the heart, a matter of trust, a matter of faith in our Lord and His promises and provision but the battle is in the mind. All believers are to be givers (2 Tim 6:18). There is also the spiritual gift of giving referred to in [esvignore]Romans 12:8 which along with 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4[/esvignore] are the four passages on spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities given by the Holy Spirit at salvation to a believer for service as a part of the local church ([esvignore]1 Cor. 12[/esvignore]). Every believer has at least one and some have more than one (i.e. Paul, [esvignore]2 Tim. 1:11[/esvignore]) but no believer has all the spiritual gifts enumerated in the 4 passages. Let’s look at the characteristics of a Biblical giver!
- Voluntary: Giving is not according to a perceived command but from the heart – 2 Corinthians 8:6-9 (In our next article we will look at tithing to argue that God never sets a percentage on our giving)
- Faithful: 2 Corinthians 8:10 shows us that once you start to give don’t get distracted or disillusioned but give regularly
- Proportionate: 1 Corinthians 16:2 tells us to give in proportion to what God has given us.
- Motive(not giving to get): Remember that one who sows bountifully will reap bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6) God will bless givers but our attitude should be out of love for God and for our neighbour ([esvignore]Luke 6:38[/esvignore])
- Christlike and according to the desires of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 8:9-12); God is a giver and we are to give to God but we pray for the Holy Spirit’s direction in our giving.
- A compassionate response to need – i.e. the Good Samaritan, the poor (Matthew 28:19-20). In [esvignore]2 Corinthians 8 & 9 Paul shows the Macedonian churches as examples of givers even though they themselves were impoverished ([esvignore]2 Cor. 8:21 ff[/esvignore]). Remember that Philippi and Thessalonica were in Macedonia and they were models for Biblical givers.
- Behaviour of a true disciple: The Macedonians were motivated by God’s grace[esvignore] (2 cor. 8:1), gave joyfully (2 Cor. 9:7), were not hindered by poverty, gave generously (biblically), sacrificially (2 Cor. 8:3). Giving was seen as a privilege and an act of worship (Romans 12:2) and was proof of love (Romans 12:8)[/esvignore].
Stewardship and giving go hand in hand. All believers are to grow to be more like Jesus day by day as we follow our Master. His disciples are to strive to be faithful stewards and generous givers!
Next article: Does God Command Believers to Tithe? If giving is voluntary, why the Tithe?