Beloved in the Lord,
There are only three things we can do with our money; spend it, invest it, or give it. Of the three, the
last is the most misunderstood.
First, most people believe that they are owners of their money. But the truth is that, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. In other words, God is the owner and we are simply asset manag- ers a.k.a. stewards. This is what the word “Stewardship” means. It is not a Christian term really. It comes from an Old English term for “one who manages another’s financial affairs”. The steward of the castle didn’t own any of it, but was responsible for all of it, because the Lord of the house en- trusted it to him.
The second misunderstanding is that God doesn’t care about our giving. The truth is that the Bible talks about money more often than about love and grace. The Bible tells us about giving because giving makes us more Christ-like. A spiritually mature Christian gives. Giving helps us become less selfish and less selfish people tend to prosper in relationships and wealth. Because we are made in God’s image, and God is a giver, we are happiest and most fulfilled when serving and giving.
A third misunderstanding is that to have more we have to hold on more tightly and so we make a fist around our money. But there’s a problem with that. Yes it’s true, with a clenched fist we can hold on to our money, but at the same time, a clenched fist can’t receive any more money. When no money is flowing out (giving), no money can flow in.
The final misunderstanding is the meaning of the word “tithe”. The word “tithe” isn’t a spiritual word either. It’s simply a math term meaning a tenth. The instruction to give a tenth of your income is biblical dating all the way back to Genesis where Abram felt God’s call to give the priest Mel- chizedek a tenth of everything he had. There are many examples of tithing in both the Old and New Testaments. The tithe was given as the “first fruits’ meaning right off the top, not whatever is left over. And the tithe is a tenth of everything, not just one thing.
Today the average Christian gives less than 3% of their money to the church. Only about 3% of Christians today tithe. Saddest of all, that means that only a few will be changed, only a few will be- come less selfish, only a few will mature spiritually, and only a few will become Christ-like.
We ask you to prayerfully consider giving a tithe of your time, talent and treasure to the work of the Church as a cheerful giver and a member of the Body of Christ. I am excited to see what God will provide us with in return for our faithfulness!
~ Fr. Jerry, the AGAPE, (the newsletter of St George, Eugene) November, 2017