Message: Gospel-shaped Giving
Today's post is going to explore the Bible's teaching on tithing and stewardship. Stewardship refers to how God takes you and I out of ownership and places us into the management of His resources. When we say resources - were not only talking about finances. Resources such as time, talents and our attention could be included. Nonetheless, one's finances tends to be the most tangible means of grasping this vital concept of what we will call: "Gospel shaped giving."
God’s Prescribed Amount = 10%. Prov 3:9
It doesn't take long getting into the Bible to find out what God has to say about tithing and stewardship. Three particular men occupy what we could call: "The Bible's first tithers", namely Abel, Abraham and Jacob. First, Abel in
Genesis 4:4 "Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering." The term "firstlings" or "first-fruits" tells me the “when” of giving, upfront, the very best.
Inviting God’s Blessing. Prov 3:10
God's blessing deals with His power and presence in our lives. Undoubtedly, scripture abounds with prime examples of how God's blessing is connected to tithing and stewardship: Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."
So much could be said about these verses. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, God wants to bless His people! He wants them to have more of His power and presence in their lives, their finances, in everything! When we tithe, we are opening a window to allow the fresh breezes of God's power and presence, by His Spirit, to breath upon our minds, our hearts and the material possessions. We find out how much God means to us and how much He is interested in the "little things". We find how powerful He is and how much He truly loves us. Finally, we find out that everything we have is not our, but what He has given us.
Validated Biblical Patterns. Context of Pr. 3:1-10
The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 notes: "According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth." In studying the roughly 100 scriptures on stewardship in Bible, we find the following Biblical validated patterns…
A. First, tithing was instituted pre-law as the ground-level for stewardship, hence it is a standard that was not abolished despite the doing way of the ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic Law.
B. Second, the New Testament never one time shows tithing as being either prohibited, replaced or removed from the Christian's responsibility of stewardship. Hebrews 7:5-10, the last mention of tithing, is not abolished. Hence, Christians ought to give.
So, Gospel-shaped giving entails God's prescribed amount (10%), invites His blessing and is validated Biblically. But the whole point of today's post is to remind us of the goal of giving to God's work - namely to...
Exalting Jesus Christ. Prov 3:9 “honor the Lord”
Gospel-shaped giving is gospel-shaped when it exalts Jesus Christ. The terminology of stewardship "i.e first-fruits") is used to describe Christ Himself. Note for example 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming."