Money and Responsible Handling of Resources

Our series of studies would not be complete without considering the principles by which a true disciple of Jesus should be guided in the matter of responsibly and biblically handling the natural resources which God has given to each one. In this study we will consider Biblical principles that apply to the way we handle the time, money and talents we have received from God. Most of us would like more resources – more free time, more money and more abilities. God is able to give us these things – but first He is looking to see faithfulness in us concerning our handling of what we already have received. God is the Giver of Good Gifts. We should never think of God as being stingy or selfish. God is the giver of all good things. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17).

Copyright (C) 1996,2008 Michael Fackerell

Table of Contents

Jesus told us to "Ask, and it will be given unto you. Seek and you shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7). God has even given Himself to us – in that He has given us Jesus to die for us and rise again for our salvation, and He has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us and guide us into all the truth. And "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). God of course gives us more than we deserve. We should respond by giving God all that we are and all that we have. In fact, this we have done if we have truly turned from sin to God, and trusted wholeheartedly in Jesus for our salvation. This is part of what it means to be in blood covenant relationship with God Almighty. "You are not your own, you are bought with a price." (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

God has given us minds because he wants us to be responsible managers of the many kinds of blessings He has given us. God does not like us to waste the precious resources He has given us – be it the knowledge of the gospel, money, time, talents or influence. He will require an account for what we have done (Luke 19:11- 27 especially vs 15) and there are real consequences to our actions and decisions both for this life and for the age to come. 


 

A True Christian Has Given Himself and All He Has to God

We see then that in giving one's life to Christ one has given not only one's eternal future but all that one has to Christ (Luke 14:33). As the body of Christ, we belong to Christ. Our bodies themselves are to be presented to God as living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1). As temple of the Holy Spirit, we belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). As part of the army of God, we must listen to Jesus our commander and obey Him. As children of God, we need to be obedient. You are the spiritual child of the one you obey (see John 8:38-44; 1 John 3:6-10). As the bride of Christ, we belong to Christ, and must be cleansed and prepared for the Lord (Ephesians 5:25-27). Christ gave Himself for us – we must give ourselves to Him. We are God's field and God's building (1 Corinthians 3:9). The point is clear. We are God's and we are Christ's.We have been bought with a price and we are not our own. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). We are now the servants of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6; Luke 18:11-27; Matthew 25:14- 30; Romans 6:16; Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:3).

It follows from this that all our time, talents and treasures belong to God. If you don't feel that this is so in your life you should know that either you are not a Christian – or you are stealing from God by wasting something that does not belong to you. Did God give you permission to use your time, money and talents for something else besides the good of His Kingdom? We are indeed responsible to give an account for all the knowledge, time, money, resources and opportunities we have had to serve God and extend His Kingdom in this life.We therefore must think of ourselves as stewards, as managers of resources that God has placed in our care. Paul saw himself in this way (1 Corinthians 4:1,2).

In the remainder of this study we will see what God has instructed us in His Word regarding the way that these resources He has given us must be managed. 


 

Faithfulness in Money Matters

"He who is faithful in what is least is also faithful in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own. No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:10- 13)

God is very interested in the way we handle our money. The Bible speaks a lot about money, and if we want to do the will of God it will effect the way we view and use money. Jesus here is saying that spiritual riches are the true riches – not money. Money is of lesser value than God's favour and the spiritual blessings that brings – joy, love, peace, purpose, forgiveness, ministry anointings and eternal rewards. Yet Jesus is saying that if we can't be trusted to use our money correctly – especially the money that we earn in our daily employment, then we have shown ourselves unfaithful in small things. If we are unfaithful in small things we will be unfaithful also in the great things – we will be unfaithful with spiritual blessings. Therefore learning to faithfully use our money, time and talents in the way God wants is important if we are ever going to be entrusted with spiritual responsibility in God's work. 


 

Providing for One's Family

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8)

God, speaking through Paul, makes it clear that we have a sacred responsibility to do what we can to provide for our own household. This means that God expects us to do something for which we will receive payment, so that we can look after the needs of those in our family who cannot work to support themselves, for whatever reason. It is necessary for a husband to provide for his wife and children. This is not primarily the wife's responsibility, but the husband's. It may be necessary for the wife to do a paid job as well as her other responsibilities which are to manage the household and raise children (Titus 2:4,5), but the in the matter of providing the main responsibility falls on the husband. If a wife has been left alone with children she must work to provide for them. Children who are able to work should do so if their family's financial situation makes it necessary. In this way they honour their parents. If a person has old parents or grandparents who are struggling financially and cannot work that person should help them according to his or her ability, without neglecting other family responsibilities (1 Timothy 5:4). It is a rare case when the church finances should be used to regularly support someone (1 Timothy 5:3-16).

Anyone who refuses to work in an honest, paid position to help their starving family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. They must repent. 


 

Working is Good

"But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who leads a disorderly life and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labour and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to and of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread." (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12)

"that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly towards those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing." (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12)

There are different kinds of work, it is true. There is manual work, administrative work, research work, business and mixtures of all. God wants us to be productive and do something beneficial for our fellow man. This is a good witness to the society we live in. Every Christian should be doing some kind of work.

The Lord's work is also work. It is not just rest. It is not just relaxing in the presence of God – although that is important. We may rest from our own works (Hebrews 4:10), but when we do the Lord's work it will also require effort. Paul worked night and day. As an apostle of Christ he was "in labours more abundant", and, "in weariness and toil" (2 Corinthians 11:23, 27). He instructs us as Christians, "Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Jesus got up early in the morning to pray alone (Mark 1:35). In this way He had power from God to serve the people – doing the work of teaching, praching, healing, casting out demons all day. At times Jesus prayed at night after a full day of ministry. (Matthew 14:23). If you are going to be a worker in God's harvest field you are going to have to work. We should rest one day in seven to regain our strength.. But it is in heaven that we will enter into complete rest and reward. Not on the earth.

Working amonst ungodly people brings us to a place where we are forced to develop character, overcoming temptations that are there. We are called to be salt and light in the community – to influence this corrupt world for God and for righteousness (Matthew 5:13-16). We should endeavour to build relationships with people based on honesty, righteousness and kindness, so that we can silence the mouths of evildoers and convince those around us at work to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord. We should invite people to come to church meetings – house groups, celebration events or special outreaches (Colossians 4:5,6). If our life demonstrates what we preach those whom we bring to Christ in this way are likely to remain with the Lord.

Working a paid job does not prevent us from doing the work of evangelism and discipleship, or from having a prayer life. We can do these things in our lunch breaks, and after hours. While we are at work we should work on the task that has been assigned to us. We shouldn't steal from our employer by taking back time which we are selling to him.

A Christian should not leave his paid work for full-time evangelism or other service unless the following conditions are met. Firstly, there must be a definite call from God to do this. Secondly, that Christian should take responsibility personally in the matter of trusting God for provision for themselves and their family. If things don't work out they should return to a normal paid job or business in society and not blame anyone except themselves. It is not right to just leave your work to serve God and then start expecting and demanding that the church or other Christians provide for you and your family. The exception to this is where a certain support or salary has been promised beforehand. We have a right to expect that Christians who make promises should fulfil them. But still every Christian must look to God as his or her source, not people. Indeed God uses people to bless us financially, but not necessarily the ones you think should be helping you. 


 

Tithing

I am currently reviewing my understanding of the Scriptures on this subject. Here is a link to my former teaching on tithing, which I wrote in 1996.

Tithing is taught by many pastors and teachers today as being the giving of the first ten percent of all your income to the local church congregation in which you take part. These they say, ensures that there is food in God's house – i.e. the church budget will be sufficient. In the Old Testament, tithing meant giving a tenth of something received. Abraham tithed 10% of the spoils of war to Melchizedek. There is no record that he tithed regularly at any other time, or that he tithed of his other accumulated assets. To follow Abraham's example here, which predates the law, is not what most teachers of tithing would have in mind. Jacob, Abraham's grandson, made a bargain with God that if he would bless him, he would give a tenth to God. We are not told if he did, or how he did fulfil that promise. No one was forcing Jacob to make this vow. In the Law of Moses, there were many laws about tithing. Tithes were given for parties in Jerusalem, for the upkeep of Levites, for priests, for strangers, widows and orphans. It can be argued that the tithe only applied to agricultural produce. In any case, the tithe was part of God's social welfare and temple service maintenance programme. A careful study of the Old Testament will reveal in detail what God said about tithes under the Law of Moses. The people of God in the days of Malachi were robbing God by disregarding God's commandments on tithing. They disregarded other commands about the lambs they were sacrificing as well. To dishonor God by not giving to His work as He leads, or to misspend what is given for God's Work, or to do God's work slackly, keeping the best for yourself, is also a form of robbing God. We need to be very careful about this.

Jesus affirmed to the Pharisees that they should tithe faithfully (Matthew 23:23). It is debatable if this means that Jesus said this to Christians under the New Covenant, or to Pharisees who were fulfilling part of the Law of Moses, while neglecting the weightier MATTERS OF THE LAW. Jesus called it a matter of the law, not a matter of grace.

God expects more of us under grace than under the law. Grace empowers us to do so much more. And now, as Christians, we have a wider scope for service in God's world. Something is really wrong if someone belonging to God cannot give 10% or more to God's purposes one way or the other. Now it is about far more than the maintenance of a temple in Jerusalem, or helping some people in service roles in the church. God's purposes encompass the evangelisation and discipleship of all nations. This is what needs to be financed, as well as the practical needs of those unable to properly care for themselves, such as widows and orphans. We can do MORE than give 10% of our income and wealth to these purposes, and we SHOULD, as the Lord leads. To have pastors who will pray for us, and take a leadership role in co-ordinating God's work in a local area, we need to invest resources into that. If we don't support pastors and teachers financially, then they have to get jobs and they can't devote themselves fully to prayer and the ministry of the Word. AND IF WE DON'T SUPPORT TRUE EVANGELISTS – IT IS DOUBLY LIKELY THAT WE WILL NOT BE EQUIPPED TO DO OUR MAIN JOB ON EARTH – SOULWINNING. Apart from that, if God reveals that He wants large meetings, extravagant musical praise events, and a convenient delivery platform for the messages of our spiritual leaders, as I am sure He does on many occasions, we are going to have to pay for it somehow. We just need to be sure that this is what the Lord is leading us to do by His Spirit. We certainly can't obey the commands of Christ in isolation, we have to work together in harmony and in assemblies. But we have to remember that doing these things is no substitute for fulfilling our responsibilities in the Great Commission. While we spend lavishly on our mini temples, there are millions of Christians starving in oppressed nations.

Here is a link to some very thought provoking questions written by a Ugandan believer to African pastors. I recommend you read this also.

Because many spiritual leaders pronounce that you are cursed by God if you don't tithe to your local church, you have to be very strong in your convictions if you ARE NOT going to tithe to your local church. Even if GOD does not curse you if you don't tithe to the local church, many pastors WILL pronounce that you are cursed if you don't tithe, because they believe that God is doing it also. And there is power in words, especially the words of spiritual leaders. So unless you have a clear leading from God to give in a different way, and are strong enough to resist all the attacks of the enemy that come from negative words spoken against you, I would suggest you tithe to your local church. Also if your conscience bothers you about not tithing to the local church, or if you believe that you should do it, then you MUST do it to avoid sinning unless God shows you differently, for whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23)

There might be situations in which it is impossible or impractical for you to tithe to your local church budget, but I believe that if you want to do it, and believe you should, then you can, and God will be pleased if you act in faith.

All you have belongs to God if YOU belong to God. So fear God. There are serious warnings in the Bible about misusing God's resources. I recommend you put it before God and ask Him how much he wants you to give to your local church, poor churches and Christians, orphans, widows, foreign and local missions work, evangelists and various worthwhile Christian causes. If He confirms in your heart to pay at least 10% of your gross income to the local church, just do it. Far be it from me to oppose such a leading from the Lord that you may receive. But just remember it doesn't excuse you from your responsibilities in the other areas.

The only New Testament argument concerning tithing that carries any weight for me is based on Hebrews 7:8:

"Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives."

It seems the mortal men referred to here are the levitical priests which were about to be done away with by means of the destruction of Jerusalem. However, it does say Jesus receives tithes [present tense]. So Jesus will and does receive tithes today. The question is, what did Jesus say about how to give something to him?

If we go back to the words of Jesus in Matthew 25, it was this: "Inasmuch as you've done it to THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN, you've done it unto me." The way to give to Jesus food, clothing, service or valuable time is to give it to those believers who need it most, who are counted insignificant according to natural thinking. The emphais of the New Testament exhortations to giving were exhortations to give to the poor, especially widows, orphans and poor itinerant missionaries who don't take money from unbelievers. Not to mega-church pastors (the greatest).

If you disagree with what I am saying here, please comment or write to me. I will take time to read what people send. Please don't shoot the messenger though.


Giving

There is a spiritual law associated with giving. "Give and it will be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38). This principle is found also in various forms in the Old Covenant. "There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself." (Proverbs 11:24,25).

What this means is that God so arranges things that we sow what we reap (Galatians 6:7). If we sow material things by giving of them, God arranges things so that we in turn will receive from others – usually more than what we gave! Therefore it is smart to give into God's work as the Lord leads us, because God will arrange that somehow, in a way known to Him only, we are going to receive back the blessing we have sown and perhaps even more.

Giving is what goes beyond our tithe. The tithe belongs to the Lord, we are only paying Him what belongs to Him. Beyond that ten percent we are invited to give offerings, to give to the poor and invest in the work of the gospel.

God has a special place in his heart for the poor. Proverbs 19:17 says, "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given." We cannot expect the poor to pay us back (Luke 6:34,35), but God will pay us back. Some have suggested that God will pay us back with interest! We should bless our poor brothers and sisters in Christ, especially when they cannot do any more themselves (Matthew 25:37-40). This is a fruit of true faith in Jesus. We should also be open to helping the poor, the widows and the orphans even if they are not in God's family (James 1:27). We should extend our soul to the hungry and help the afflicted (Isaiah 58:10). God has promised blessings – both spiritual and material, to those who consider the poor and help them (Psalm 41:1-3). God is able to arrange the events of our life in such a way as to prosper us materially if we do these things for the poor.

Another important form of giving is giving to the gospel. We know that God has left us on earth to preach the gospel to all creation and make disciples of all peoples. We are doing this in partnership with the body of Christ worldwide (Philippians 1:7). We need to have a vision for world-wide evangelisation and church-planting. Material resources are necessary for any kind of strategy of church-planting and evangelisation to be effective. By giving generously to the work of the gospel, we can sponsor missionaries, send gospel literature and tapes, construct training centres for missionaries and many other things as well. Using money, we can multiply the effectiveness of the time of God's servants in doing the work of the gospel. Through giving to the gospel worldwide, our sphere of influence is not limited to the zone where we live. We can have not only local but also international influence through our giving.

There are promises for those who give in the gospel. This kind of giving is investing in something eternal. Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29,30).

If we give according to the leading of the Spirit we are going to receive many times more in this life. Our reward is in this life also, not just in the next age. But we must give for the sake of the gospel, and for Jesus' sake. If we give for our own sake or as a strategy to become personally wealthy we are not giving for Jesus' sake. The only way to do something for Jesus' sake is to do it as the Holy Spirit leads. Therefore we must look to the Spirit of God for guidance in our giving. Then He will multiply what we give back to us.

The Philippian believers were partners with Paul in the gospel at a time when no other church was helping him (Philippians 4:15). They sent aid for his necessities (Philippians 4:16). They shared in his distress (Philippians 4:14). The apostle Paul did not always enjoy abundant prosperity, although at times he did (Php 4:12). We should not judge the spirituality of a minister of God by how much money he has, or how well he lives. Its quite easy for a gifted speaker or charismatic personality to become rich in religion by telling rich and middle class people what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3; 1 Timothy 6:5). Paul however knew what it was to sacrifice himself to extend the frontiers of the gospel. He wasn't seeking his personal profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33).

The promise, "And my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory" (Philippians 4:19) was given to people who supported missions. This is a promise of abundance for those who invest in the gospel. God's riches in glory are immense. We should not be afraid to invest our money in the gospel. As well as being partners in eternal fruit for the glory of God, we are putting ourselves in the place where we know that God will supply all our needs abundantly. "And God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8). 


 

Honesty and Accountability

At this point in our study it is worth mentioning this important principle. Faithfulness in money matters includes being honest and accountable with what we receive. We are stewards of God's resources. If we have not forsaken the idea that the things we have belong to us we cannot be disciples of Jesus (Luke 14:33). That means we should be doing exactly what the Lord wants us to do with things. It is required in stewards that one be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). And part of faithfulness is honesty. "A faithful witness does not lie" (Proverbs 14:5).

Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death. (Proverbs 21:6). God requires us to be honest in all our financial matters. The treasures gained or money saved by dishonesty will never do us any good. "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing" (Proverbs 10:2). The Book of Proverbs alone is filled with statements concerning the importance of honesty in business, in life and in all things. See Proverbs 10:2; 11:1; 12:22; 13:11; 16:8; 20:10; 21:3 for examples. If we want God's favour on our life we must be honest. If we are stealing we must repent.

In our handling of money in the Lord's work, we must seek to do what is honourable not only in the Lord's sight, but also in the sight of men. "Avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us – providing honourable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (2 Corinthains 8:20,21).

To do this today we must be able to demonstrate through adequate accounting records that we are not wasting God's money, but that we are putting it exactly to the purposes for which it was given. If someone gives you $100 to buy literature with, it is dishonest to use that money to buy a pair of shoes with it. You should make records and if possible always get written receipts for money spent in the Lord's work. All income and expenses should be written in journals so that you and others to whom you are accountable can see what you are receiving and where you are spending it. This will also be necessary many times from the point of view of providing an honest income tax return to the government. We should give to Caesar what is Caesar's. Many things we do depend on government services and we should not cheat the government on taxes. (Luke 20:25; Romans 13:6,7).

It is good practise to be accountable to men. One day we will give account to the Lord from whom no secret is hidden (Luke 19:11-27; Matthew 25:14-30).

If we are honest in small things we will be honest in large things also. Let us therefore live with a holy respect for God in all our affairs of life and business. 


 

Spending and Investing Wisely

The unjust steward in the parable Jesus told was accused of wasting the master's goods. As Christians, we must seek to avoid wasting God's resources which he has given us. Resources of time, talents and treasure should be used to the greatest benefit for God's Kingdom. They should not be wasted. It is true that some things which might look like a waste in men's eyes are very pleasing to God. Mark 14:3-9 tells the story of a woman who anointed Jesus' feet with perfume worth a year's wages. Some said it was a waste but for Jesus this act of worship was not a waste at all. We must look at things with God's priorities.

However there are times when as Christians we make wrong decisions which result in wasting God's resources. It is wrong to buy things that bring no benefit to the Kingdom of God – things we don't need. We should spend our money on things in proportion to their importance. Generally, the most important things to spend money on are: (1) Our worship of God, (2) Our families' material needs and (3) The spread of the gospel. It is also important to help the poor, as we have seen.

Some Christians however are called to a special ministry of giving (Rom. 12:8). In order to be able to give more money, they must invest money in business activities, so that they can multiply their money through the profits obtained from wise choices. Sucessful businesses are usually those that provide services people are willing to pay for, and manage resources well. With God's blessing and God's wisdom, a person can become very rich by making right business decisions. King Solomon was an example of this. Abraham was made rich by God, as was Isaac and Jacob and many others. Multiplication of material resources is a promise to those who obey God's covenant fully (Deut. 28:1-14).

Not everyone is called primarily investment and business activity. Some Christians may be required of the Lord not to get involved in it at all (2 Timothy 2:4). But all of us should consider carefully what we invest our money in. We should find out the facts before investing money in some worldly business. Many people, even those who say they are Christians, are dishonest. We should be led by the Spirit in all decisions relating to business, not by our ambition. The Books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes should be studied by all. Many times God's leading is related very much to common sense. Don't think that the Spirit always leads us to do things which look crazy. Those who are called to do business in this world so that they can have an influence in that world for God and channel material resources into God's work will need to have common sense, diligence, faith and sensitivity to God to be fully succesful in their calling.

Rich persons will be subjected to special temptations (Matthew 19:23, 24). The desire to be rich is especially dangerous (1 Timothy 6:9). But being rich in itself is not evil. Some people are rich because God made them rich. Those who are rich are called to be rich in good works, ready to give and willing to share. They are commanded not to put their trust in uncertain riches (1 Timothy 6:17-19). We should never put our security in money. We should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all the things we need will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). We should be willing to use the things he gives us for His purposes, and not hold them for ourselves. 


 

Receive Prosperity

In general it is God's will for an obedient Christian to prosper. "Beloved I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." (3 John 2). The Lord "teaches us to profit, and leads us by the way we should go" (Isaiah 48:17). The blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:13,14) which we receive includes prosperity.

This is not to say there will never be times of testing or moments of material adversity. There may be. It happened to the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:27). But in general it is God's will for us to prosper materially. One of the basic conditions for this is obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1,2). The wilfully disobedient person cannot simply claim God's promises of material blessings as if God is obligated to do what they say.

In general poverty is a curse (Deuteronomy 28:15ff). It is also the result of bad or unwise decisions. We should not consider poverty a blessing. What is good is not to be distracted by riches from the purpose of God. We should never place riches above obedience to God. If our response to riches is to be lazy, indulgent, indifferent to God and lovers of the world then we are better off without them. But if we use riches to glorify God in so many ways then God may entrust them to us more and more. In any case, it is the person who obeys God who is successful in God's eyes. Paul may not have always had lots of money or food but he did more to spread the saving knowledge of Jesus and establish churches in the world than any of the other apostles (2 Corinthians 12:11; 11:23). He did not let material adversities stop him from serving God effectively. Let us never use lack of resources as an excuse for not serving God with all we have now


 

Faithfulness with Time

People say that time is money, because time can be used to gain money. Just as we must be faithful with money, we must be faithful with our time. It is not good to waste time. We should "redeem the time" (Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16). Sometimes it is worth spending more money on something so as to save time. For example, it costs more to fly across Romania than to take a train. Yet at times a Christian minister should fly so as to use his time to the maximum. In all decisions like this we should be guided by the wisdom which God gives us.

Watching television is almost always a waste of time. It usually means being unproductive, letting our minds be impacted by the propaganda, fantasies and philosophies of unclean and ungodly people. Even watching the news can fill us with worries and fears. We are commanded to renew our minds, meditating on the word of God day and night (Joshua 1:8; Philippians 4:8). If we focus on the unclean fantasies of this evil world we are not only wasting time in the search for pleasure, but we have become idol worshippers.

Laziness is also wasting time. It is not wrong to relax and rest at times, waiting on the Lord to renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31), but laziness and slackness is wickedness in the eyes of the Lord. We should always abound in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The Book of Proverbs is full of warnings against laziness (e.g. Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4; 12:11,14; 12:24, 27; 13:4; 14:23; 19:15). A lazy person is a rebel against God, and a fool. God requires that we make the most of our time for Him. Moses prayed, "Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12).

Managing our time correctly involves a balance of things. Working constantly without taking time to listen to God can result in wasted time, because we might be building in vain things that the Lord is not wanting (Psalm 127:1,2). Sleeping in moderation is not wasted time, for God gives to His beloved even in sleep (Psalm 127:2). God has designed as with a need to sleep. Sometimes, however, we are called to deny our body's desire for sleep so we can watch and pray more (Matthew 26:41).

Balancing our use of time is important. We must take time for work, for study, for prayer, for praising God, for the Word of God, for church, for fellowship, for discipleship, for evangelism and for fulfilling any special callings we may have. We need also to take time for eating, for personal hygiene, for exercise, for cleaning, for time with our families and with our friends. Only the Holy Spirit can show us exactly how we should do it in our situation. The balance may change from time to time. There are different seasons, periods of preparation and education in our lives. The Lord has given us time for everything he wants us to do. And all of us only have 24 hours in the day. That is why we must seek to multiply our lives into the lives of others through discipleship. 


 

Vision and Purpose

We should have a vision and a purpose (Proverbs 28:19). Part of our vision will be the vision of the local church we are part of. We should be in unity with the pastor and the leadership regarding the vision of the church. We may have specific areas of vision, purpose and calling within the life of the church to which we must specifically attend. We may also have areas of vision and purpose which are outside the domain of the local church. The Holy Spirit gives visions and dreams to His people (Acts 2:17). A person without purpose and goals and strategy will tend to waste time, be lazy and fruitless. Therefore if you don't know what God's vision for your life is, seek Him until you know enough of it to be a highly motivated, disciplined person with an unconfused focus. As Christians, the Lord will reward us according to our works if we are building according to His vision and purpose (1 Corinthians 3:14). 


 

Diligence

Once we have our purpose in seeking God and fulfilling his purpose we should use all diligence to achieve that purpose. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Diligence is a man's precious possession (Proverbs 12:27) and the soul of the diligent will be made rich (Proverbs 13:4). The Book of Proverbs is full of wonderful promises for the diligent or hard-working. All Christians are commanded to be diligent (Romans 12:11), but especially those who are leaders in God's Kingdom (Romans12:8). 


 

Faithfulness with Talents and Calling

God has given to all of us natural talents. It may be that the Lord will want us to use those talents for Him in His service. We should be open to the Holy Spirit in this regard. However, it is also possible that He will require us to put these natural talents aside for a while so that we can concentrate on other things He is wanting to show us and develop in us. One area of natural talent that is highly appreciated in the church is the area of musical talents. We should use these talents to praise and worship God, not to glorify ourselves. However, we must also realise that anything, even Christian ministry, can become an idol if we love and value it more than we value and love God Himself. Therefore the Lord may require us to put our talents aside for a while, so that we can learn to worship Him and develop an intimate relationship with Him first of all.

Another Christian may have an excellent mind. A mind can be used for many things. We should seek God about what to use our minds for. The Lord may want to use our education, our profession to a greater or to a lesser extent. God used the prophet Daniel to be an administrator and a politican in the largest world empires of his day. We should be developing our minds in line with the areas that the Lord is leading us to consider and develop in. We should love the Lord with all our minds (Luke 10:27) and that does not mean leaving them empty. As Christians, we should consider carefully how to creatively and intelligently communicate the gospel in a way that the culture we are in can understand. We should be mentally aware of the kinds of strongholds we are facing so that we can destroy the false reasonings of Satan and challenge the idols in the culture. We should study the Word and think about how it applies to our lives, our work, our society and our mission. There is an incredible untapped mental power in every Christian we need to harness. We should not be afraid to develop our minds in the area of professional life to which the Lord may have called us for a season. We should never confess or believe that we are stupid. Rather we should recognise that in Christ we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16). The mind is like a muscle. Its power grows when it is used.

As well as what we have and can develop in the natural and mental realm, we have an incredible spiritual inheritance in Christ. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Our spirits, made new in Christ, have tremendous capacity which should be developed (Philippians 4:13). We can develop our spiritual capacity through meditation on the word, through prayer, and worship, through ministering the Word in the power of the Spirit.

Every Christian has a spiritual calling to serve God in a particular capacity. We are told to walk worthy of the calling which we have received (Ephesians 4:1). Some of the different callings are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30. Some are called to be fulfilling the different functions listed in Ephesians 4:11-13. We can receive different spiritual gifts at different times to serve others (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

To fulfill our calling will require faithfulness. Paul was enabled and put into the ministry because God counted him faithful. (1 Timothy 1:12). We must prepare ourselves spiritually and in other ways so that God can release us into His calling for our lives at the right time. If we don't know what that calling is we must seek God until we know. If we know what it is we must prepare ourselves to fulfil that calling. Note the warning in Luke 12:47. If we are moving in our calling we must continue to do all things faithfully so that the Lord can use us even more. We look forward to hearing the words from our Lord Jesus, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." (Matthew 25:23).

God expects you to use what you have. "To whom much is given, much will be required". If we use what we have we will be given more. All these principles discussed above are true and we should put them to work to the maximum. These lessons can be seen in Matthew 25:14-30, in Luke 19:11- 24 and in many other places in the Bible. Study them in your own time and consider them carefully.

It would be good to make a list of the things that God says you have been given, and the things that the Bible says you can and should do. Many times people discover they have hidden talents and gifts that they never knew about as they get moving and stop believing lies about their being inferior or worthless. You are valuable, loved and accepted in Christ.. With this security, find out how you can serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). Do it faithfully, and as time goes on the Lord will reveal to you areas of giftedness and calling that you never knew you had. He can even add to you new gifts, talents and resources to you if you are faithful in using what you have now! Praise and glory be to His name!

What do YOU think?

comments

About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. Redbuck40 says:

    I would rather be destitute but rich in faith (knowing that our treasure in meant to be in Heaven) than be rich and not enter the Kingdom.

    In Matthew 5:11 Jesus does NOT say “…and the poor to become wealthy”
    but he DOES say “…and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
    To rich young ruler Jesus told him to become poor so that he could become rich.
    James acknowledges that in every church there will be both the poor and the rich.

    “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, for your sakes he became poor, so that you, through his poverty, might become rich.”

    “Listen, my dear brothers! God has chosen the poor in the world to become rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him, has he not?”

  2. 2008 ©
    All scripture taken from KJV unless otherwise stated

    TITHING -IS IT NEW TESTAMENT?

    In this teaching I will highlight or enlarge various words to bring out some important points .

    Tithing was a command under the Old Testament Law .A severe punishment for disobedience to this law is seen in the book of Malachi. The term The Law, actually refers to the first five books of the Bible. I’ve read someplace that the Old Testament actually had about 613 laws. In any case, Tithing was definitely one of those commands under that Law .
    We see this severe punishment mentioned in the Old Testament in Malachi 3:8-11 ; Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say how have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse; for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house and prove me herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts.
    Like the last will and testament of someone used in our laws today. So also the New Testament is exactly the same thing .At the reading of a will, someone reads the last will and testament of the deceased person. A testament is a will, and the New Testament is the will of God .It is His plan, his purpose and tells us all He has provided for us, through our redemption in Christ .
    Tithing was something commanded to those who were under The Law in the Old Testament. Christians today are under the New Testament and are not under the Old Testament Law, Rom 6:14, Heb. 8:13 & Gal. 2:16. Actually ,the entire books of Galations and Ephesians clearly proves this out.
    Before we look at New Testament scriptures, let me mention that the word Tithe literally means 10%. Here is a question that has been asked many times. Does the New Testament in any way command a Christian to Tithe [give 10% of his goods or money] to the church?
    Some have been taught, that the scripture in Mat. 23: 23 is a command to Christians in the New Testament to Tithe 10% of their income to the church. Some have even taught that the Malachi 3 curse will come upon those who fail to tithe. But is this really what the New Testament teaches?
    Lets take a look at this verse in Matthew 23 in its proper context. In many of the verses below, I will use bold print or underlining to bring out some important points in each scripture.
    Lets start in verse 23;
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees , hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint, anise, and page 2 –
    cumin and have omitted the weightier matters of The Law, which are justice, mercy, and faith; these you should have done [under the Old Testament Law] and not let the other things undone.
    Notice something very important here, all in the same sentence , Jesus is speaking to the Pharisee’s about The Old Testament Law and the required Tithing ( giving 10% ) under that Law. In context in this verse, Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee’s, who were men, who were at that point in time still under the Law .
    To see this clearly, look at all the verses before and after verse 23, so you can see the proper context, and setting it is placed in. You will find that Jesus was discussing with the Pharisee’s in detail, the things written in, and concerning The Law, and rebuking them in this verse for obeying The Law only in the area of their tithing and neglecting the weightier matters of The Law, namely justice, mercy, and faith.
    Read the entire context of where this verse 23 sits, Start reading at verse 13 to 39. Simply stated, He is addressing the Pharisee’s concerning The Old Testament Law.
    To help clarify my point, take a look in Matthew 8:1-4; here again is another similar account in the gospels, where Jesus was speaking to someone under The Old Testament Law and instructing the man to do what is required of him by that Law, but, this time it concerns healing instead of tithing .
    Before I continue there is something else to add of great importance to help you understand the difference between the Old and New Testament, and its application for us as Christians . The New Testament did not go into effect until after the death of Jesus .
    In Heb. 9: 16-18, it tells us;
    For where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator [ Jesus ] for a testament is enforced “ after men are dead ; otherwise it is of no value at all while the testator [ Jesus ] is alive . Whereupon neither was the First [Old] Testament dedicated without blood.
    You can see in Hebrews Chapters 9&10 that it goes into full detail on this topic.
    Lets look at the same verse again in the Amplified Bible ;
    For where there is a [ last ] will and testament involved, the death of the one [ Jesus ] who made it must be established , for a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death , since it has no force or legal power as long as the one [ Jesus ] who made it is alive. This scripture is saying that while Jesus was alive, the New Testament was not yet in effect.
    In Mat 23, Jesus was very much alive and not only were the Pharisee’s he was speaking to under The Law, but Jesus himself was also under The Old Testament Law
    { Gal. 4:4 } right up until his own death as the above scriptures show us. So, when Jesus was speaking to these Pharisee’s in v.23, he was speaking to them about The Law that these men were still bound under.
    Again ,we see the same situation in Luke 11: 42 – 44 & 18: 11-12. Jesus was addressing the Pharisee’s concerning The Law and the Tithe .
    If you carefully read all scriptures in the New Testament that mention Tithing you will Page 3-
    see they are always referring to the Old Testament Law.

    Abraham and the Tithe to Melchizedek –
    Very little is said of the priest Melchizedek. In Gen.14:20 scripture tells us;
    And he [ Abraham] gave him [ Melchizedek] a tenth of all. In many churches today from this incident in Genesis it is taught;
    1- That Abraham predated Moses by some four hundred years so tithing was established before The Law and therefore apart from it.
    2- They do acknowledge that Christians are not under the Law of Moses but they teach that they are still to follow Abraham’s example in tithing.

    There are some serious flaws in this teaching.
    Firstly, those who teach this principal have to completely ignore other practices of Abraham, which were just as surely established before and apart from the Law and yet not for New Testament Christians.
    Lets take the example of circumcision; in the flesh of your foreskin ,Gen. 17:11 . This was clearly the most important practice of Abraham, being the very condition of the entire Abrahamic Covenant, Gen. 17: 9-14. It was established before and apart from the Law, yet do those who teach tithing also teach that all male Christians must be physically circumcised? No they do not. Also, Abraham offered animal sacrifices before and apart from the Law, Gen. 12:8, 22:7 . Do these same teachers today, advocate that we do all these things as well? Of course not, and I agree with them.
    Here is something else to consider, there is no record anyplace of Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek the priest any more than once in his entire lifetime. So if we are to follow the practice of Abraham, then Christians are to tithe only once in their entire lifetime as well.
    Actually, in all sixty six New Testament references to Abraham, the only practice of his we are told to follow is that of having faith, Rom 14:11, 16 , & Gal. 3 : 6-10 .

    Lets look at what Hebrews says of Melchizedek and Tithing ;
    Carefully read starting at Hebrews. 6:20 over to chapter 8: 13 . There is nothing in there telling New Testament Christians to tithe ( give 10%) of their income to the church . One example, is to look at verse 5, it says; The sons on Levi [the Old Testament priests], who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people ACCORDING TO THE LAW … , .This scripture is referring to the Old Testament Law and it plainly says so . None of these scriptures in their proper context are speaking or teaching tithing instructions for the New Testament church . If you carefully read it all in its proper context, the entire thing is actually speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry as our superior Great High Priest. It is comparing the ministry of Jesus under the New Testament, as superior to any Old Testament practice or priest, and has nothing to do with commanding the church to tithe whatsoever. The whole thing is completely all about the ministry of Jesus.
    The book of Hebrews was written from a Jewish perspective, and directly to the Page4-
    Jewish [ hebrew ] people who had an understanding of the Old Testament Law and its practices . The focus of the entire book, is that of comparing covenants, showing that Jesus
    is the mediator of a new and better covenant [testament], that was far superior to the Old Covenant ( testament) and established on better promises, Heb. 8:6. Watch for that little
    word ‘better’ throughout the entire book of Hebrews as they compare the two covenants .

    Tithing and First Fruits ;
    Some also teach today that Christians must tithe ( give 10%) on the First Fruits of their labor.
    Or to put it in today’s language; they must give the Church 10% of their paycheck. Some even insist you must tithe on the Gross amount and not the Net.
    As an example of First Fruits Tithing, they give as the example the Old Testament stories of Cain and Able who offered a First Fruits offering to God or Noah who offered sacrifices to God.
    My question to them is this; What does that have to do with anything in the New Testament and a command to Christians on tithing ?
    Actually, concerning Cain and Able, if you look at the story as told in the Old Testament, its lesson says nothing about tithing ( giving 10%) on their first fruits at all. The New Testament brings to light its intended lesson. In Hebrews 11:4 it tells us; “ By Faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
    This scripture tells us its lesson was on the subject of faith when giving to God not tithing (10%) on his first fruits.
    .
    Here is a point I would like to make, WE ARE NOT TOLD TO FOLLOW EVERTHING WRITTEN IN SCRIPTURE, BUT WE ARE TOLD TO FOLLOW ALL THAT GOD COMMANDS US TO FOLLOW IN SCRIPTURE. An example of what I am trying to say is this; In Mat. 27:5 it says; Judas went and hanged himself, but God does not instruct us to “ go and do likewise’’.

    Here are some interesting scriptures I found concerning the Tithe and the First Fruits:

    The main purpose of the tithe [10%] was not to support the Levites [ Old Testament priest ] , as is presently taught today in many places. It was to provide the Israelites with the feast for the Feast Of Tabernacles [ or Feast of Ingathering Exodus, 23:16 & 34:22.] Two out of every three years the tithe was not GIVEN AWAY ,BUT WAS EATEN BY THE TITHER and his family, this feast was to be enjoyed in the presence of the Lord.

    First, take note that tithes were only given away ONCE EVERY THREE YEARS.

    Page 5-
    Second, In Deut. 12:15- 19,we see the tithes , free will, first fruits, and heave offerings , were to be brought to Jerusalem and there EATEN BY THE TITHER as well as shared with others.

    V;18- … “ you shall eat them before the Lord your God …. You and your son and daughter, and…. Your servants, and the Levite “
    Here is another scripture, in verse 22-23-
    You shall surely tithe … and YOU SHALL EAT [ it] in the presence of the Lord your God ….. the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil and the firstborn of your herd and your flock……”
    Also if you as the tither lived too far away from Jerusalem to take your tithe there, you were to sell it, take the money to Jerusalem and there buy “ WHATEVER YOUR HEART DESIRES “ and there “ eat in the presence of the Lord and rejoice [ v. 26]. Others who partook of the feast along with you were widows, orphans, servants, strangers as well as Levites[ O.T. priest].

    I would like to present one last point concerning Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek [a priest].
    If we were called to follow the Old Testament practice of Abraham in giving tithes to “ Melchizedek the priest “ then ALL BELIEVERS should be receiving tithes because the New Testament tells us “ WE ARE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD” a holy nation…..1 Peter 2:9.
    On the heels of this, the New Testament describes Jesus as our GREAT HIGH PRIEST after the order of Melchizedek, Heb. 5:6, 9:11. So how does the New Testament tell us that we can give to Jesus [who is our Great High Priest] ? In Mat 25:40 Jesus said; “ Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these MY BRETHREN, you have done it unto me.”
    If we are not careful we can make the Bible say anything we want it to say.

    So our final question is this; What instructions does the Bible actually give to Christians, about the subject of the amount we are to give under the New Testament ?

    In 2Corn. 9 :5-7 , the New Testament clearly addresses the subject of giving. I will use 3 different translations of the Bible, so that you can have a clear picture of what is being said, and highlight some specific instructions that are given.

    The NIV Bible says ; ‘’So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one given grudgingly. Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. EACH MAN SHOULD GIVE WHAT HE HAS DECIDED IN HIS HEART TO
    Page 6 –
    GIVE not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    The Amplified Bible says ; ….Let each one GIVE AS HE HAS MADE UP IN HIS OWN MIND AND PURPOSED IN HIS HEART …..

    The NLT Bible says ; …. You must EACH DECIDE IN YOUR HEART HOW MUCH TO GIVE ….

    If Tithing [10%] were a New Testament command to Christians , it would have said it right here when Paul was specifically addressing the topic of giving to the church. But instead, it simply says to give ‘’WHAT YOU HAVE DECIDED in your heart and HOW MUCH , there is no demand for 10%.
    Let me close with this:
    As a Christian I believe all that we have belongs to the Lord.
    This Bible teaching is intended to specifically address the unbiblical doctrine that 10% of a Christians income must go directly to the church each and every week as is currently being preached in some churches.
    There is no question that Christians are instructed by the Lord to give generously. No question! Give where and as the Lord directs you to give, or when you see a need arise. And by all means if you are attending a no compromise solid Bible believing church , I would suggest you do support that work wholeheartedly with not only your prayers but financially as well.God may lead you to give 10% or more but you will not be doing it because someone has threatened you to do it, but because it is the desire of your heart to do it. It makes all the difference in the world.
    Also, these days many across the U.S are attending independent House Churches and there are always opportunities to help one another in that enviroment as well.
    Keep this in mind as you give- He that sows sparingly [a little] shall also reap sparingly, and he that sows bountifully [lots] shall also reap bountifully. And God loves a cheerful giver. This is what the Lord says !
    Blessings Julia Stanko .
    This material may be printed out for personal reading but must not be altered in any way

  3. 2008 ©
    All scripture taken from KJV unless otherwise stated

    TITHING -IS IT NEW TESTAMENT?

    In this teaching I will highlight or enlarge various words to bring out some important points .

    Tithing was a command under the Old Testament Law .A severe punishment for disobedience to this law is seen in the book of Malachi. The term The Law, actually refers to the first five books of the Bible. I’ve read someplace that the Old Testament actually had about 613 laws. In any case, Tithing was definitely one of those commands under that Law .
    We see this severe punishment mentioned in the Old Testament in Malachi 3:8-11 ; Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say how have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse; for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house and prove me herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts.
    Like the last will and testament of someone used in our laws today. So also the New Testament is exactly the same thing .At the reading of a will, someone reads the last will and testament of the deceased person. A testament is a will, and the New Testament is the will of God .It is His plan, his purpose and tells us all He has provided for us, through our redemption in Christ .
    Tithing was something commanded to those who were under The Law in the Old Testament. Christians today are under the New Testament and are not under the Old Testament Law, Rom 6:14, Heb. 8:13 & Gal. 2:16. Actually ,the entire books of Galations and Ephesians clearly proves this out.
    Before we look at New Testament scriptures, let me mention that the word Tithe literally means 10%. Here is a question that has been asked many times. Does the New Testament in any way command a Christian to Tithe [give 10% of his goods or money] to the church?
    Some have been taught, that the scripture in Mat. 23: 23 is a command to Christians in the New Testament to Tithe 10% of their income to the church. Some have even taught that the Malachi 3 curse will come upon those who fail to tithe. But is this really what the New Testament teaches?
    Lets take a look at this verse in Matthew 23 in its proper context. In many of the verses below, I will use bold print or underlining to bring out some important points in each scripture.
    Lets start in verse 23;
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees , hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint, anise, and page 2 –
    cumin and have omitted the weightier matters of The Law, which are justice, mercy, and faith; these you should have done [under the Old Testament Law] and not let the other things undone.
    Notice something very important here, all in the same sentence , Jesus is speaking to the Pharisee’s about The Old Testament Law and the required Tithing ( giving 10% ) under that Law. In context in this verse, Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee’s, who were men, who were at that point in time still under the Law .
    To see this clearly, look at all the verses before and after verse 23, so you can see the proper context, and setting it is placed in. You will find that Jesus was discussing with the Pharisee’s in detail, the things written in, and concerning The Law, and rebuking them in this verse for obeying The Law only in the area of their tithing and neglecting the weightier matters of The Law, namely justice, mercy, and faith.
    Read the entire context of where this verse 23 sits, Start reading at verse 13 to 39. Simply stated, He is addressing the Pharisee’s concerning The Old Testament Law.
    To help clarify my point, take a look in Matthew 8:1-4; here again is another similar account in the gospels, where Jesus was speaking to someone under The Old Testament Law and instructing the man to do what is required of him by that Law, but, this time it concerns healing instead of tithing .
    Before I continue there is something else to add of great importance to help you understand the difference between the Old and New Testament, and its application for us as Christians . The New Testament did not go into effect until after the death of Jesus .
    In Heb. 9: 16-18, it tells us;
    For where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator [ Jesus ] for a testament is enforced “ after men are dead ; otherwise it is of no value at all while the testator [ Jesus ] is alive . Whereupon neither was the First [Old] Testament dedicated without blood.
    You can see in Hebrews Chapters 9&10 that it goes into full detail on this topic.
    Lets look at the same verse again in the Amplified Bible ;
    For where there is a [ last ] will and testament involved, the death of the one [ Jesus ] who made it must be established , for a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death , since it has no force or legal power as long as the one [ Jesus ] who made it is alive. This scripture is saying that while Jesus was alive, the New Testament was not yet in effect.
    In Mat 23, Jesus was very much alive and not only were the Pharisee’s he was speaking to under The Law, but Jesus himself was also under The Old Testament Law
    { Gal. 4:4 } right up until his own death as the above scriptures show us. So, when Jesus was speaking to these Pharisee’s in v.23, he was speaking to them about The Law that these men were still bound under.
    Again ,we see the same situation in Luke 11: 42 – 44 & 18: 11-12. Jesus was addressing the Pharisee’s concerning The Law and the Tithe .
    If you carefully read all scriptures in the New Testament that mention Tithing you will Page 3-
    see they are always referring to the Old Testament Law.

    Abraham and the Tithe to Melchizedek –
    Very little is said of the priest Melchizedek. In Gen.14:20 scripture tells us;
    And he [ Abraham] gave him [ Melchizedek] a tenth of all. In many churches today from this incident in Genesis it is taught;
    1- That Abraham predated Moses by some four hundred years so tithing was established before The Law and therefore apart from it.
    2- They do acknowledge that Christians are not under the Law of Moses but they teach that they are still to follow Abraham’s example in tithing.

    There are some serious flaws in this teaching.
    Firstly, those who teach this principal have to completely ignore other practices of Abraham, which were just as surely established before and apart from the Law and yet not for New Testament Christians.
    Lets take the example of circumcision; in the flesh of your foreskin ,Gen. 17:11 . This was clearly the most important practice of Abraham, being the very condition of the entire Abrahamic Covenant, Gen. 17: 9-14. It was established before and apart from the Law, yet do those who teach tithing also teach that all male Christians must be physically circumcised? No they do not. Also, Abraham offered animal sacrifices before and apart from the Law, Gen. 12:8, 22:7 . Do these same teachers today, advocate that we do all these things as well? Of course not, and I agree with them.
    Here is something else to consider, there is no record anyplace of Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek the priest any more than once in his entire lifetime. So if we are to follow the practice of Abraham, then Christians are to tithe only once in their entire lifetime as well.
    Actually, in all sixty six New Testament references to Abraham, the only practice of his we are told to follow is that of having faith, Rom 14:11, 16 , & Gal. 3 : 6-10 .

    Lets look at what Hebrews says of Melchizedek and Tithing ;
    Carefully read starting at Hebrews. 6:20 over to chapter 8: 13 . There is nothing in there telling New Testament Christians to tithe ( give 10%) of their income to the church . One example, is to look at verse 5, it says; The sons on Levi [the Old Testament priests], who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people ACCORDING TO THE LAW … , .This scripture is referring to the Old Testament Law and it plainly says so . None of these scriptures in their proper context are speaking or teaching tithing instructions for the New Testament church . If you carefully read it all in its proper context, the entire thing is actually speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry as our superior Great High Priest. It is comparing the ministry of Jesus under the New Testament, as superior to any Old Testament practice or priest, and has nothing to do with commanding the church to tithe whatsoever. The whole thing is completely all about the ministry of Jesus.
    The book of Hebrews was written from a Jewish perspective, and directly to the Page4-
    Jewish [ hebrew ] people who had an understanding of the Old Testament Law and its practices . The focus of the entire book, is that of comparing covenants, showing that Jesus
    is the mediator of a new and better covenant [testament], that was far superior to the Old Covenant ( testament) and established on better promises, Heb. 8:6. Watch for that little
    word ‘better’ throughout the entire book of Hebrews as they compare the two covenants .

    Tithing and First Fruits ;
    Some also teach today that Christians must tithe ( give 10%) on the First Fruits of their labor.
    Or to put it in today’s language; they must give the Church 10% of their paycheck. Some even insist you must tithe on the Gross amount and not the Net.
    As an example of First Fruits Tithing, they give as the example the Old Testament stories of Cain and Able who offered a First Fruits offering to God or Noah who offered sacrifices to God.
    My question to them is this; What does that have to do with anything in the New Testament and a command to Christians on tithing ?
    Actually, concerning Cain and Able, if you look at the story as told in the Old Testament, its lesson says nothing about tithing ( giving 10%) on their first fruits at all. The New Testament brings to light its intended lesson. In Hebrews 11:4 it tells us; “ By Faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
    This scripture tells us its lesson was on the subject of faith when giving to God not tithing (10%) on his first fruits.
    .
    Here is a point I would like to make, WE ARE NOT TOLD TO FOLLOW EVERTHING WRITTEN IN SCRIPTURE, BUT WE ARE TOLD TO FOLLOW ALL THAT GOD COMMANDS US TO FOLLOW IN SCRIPTURE. An example of what I am trying to say is this; In Mat. 27:5 it says; Judas went and hanged himself, but God does not instruct us to “ go and do likewise’’.

    Here are some interesting scriptures I found concerning the Tithe and the First Fruits:

    The main purpose of the tithe [10%] was not to support the Levites [ Old Testament priest ] , as is presently taught today in many places. It was to provide the Israelites with the feast for the Feast Of Tabernacles [ or Feast of Ingathering Exodus, 23:16 & 34:22.] Two out of every three years the tithe was not GIVEN AWAY ,BUT WAS EATEN BY THE TITHER and his family, this feast was to be enjoyed in the presence of the Lord.

    First, take note that tithes were only given away ONCE EVERY THREE YEARS.

    Page 5-
    Second, In Deut. 12:15- 19,we see the tithes , free will, first fruits, and heave offerings , were to be brought to Jerusalem and there EATEN BY THE TITHER as well as shared with others.

    V;18- … “ you shall eat them before the Lord your God …. You and your son and daughter, and…. Your servants, and the Levite “
    Here is another scripture, in verse 22-23-
    You shall surely tithe … and YOU SHALL EAT [ it] in the presence of the Lord your God ….. the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil and the firstborn of your herd and your flock……”
    Also if you as the tither lived too far away from Jerusalem to take your tithe there, you were to sell it, take the money to Jerusalem and there buy “ WHATEVER YOUR HEART DESIRES “ and there “ eat in the presence of the Lord and rejoice [ v. 26]. Others who partook of the feast along with you were widows, orphans, servants, strangers as well as Levites[ O.T. priest].

    I would like to present one last point concerning Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek [a priest].
    If we were called to follow the Old Testament practice of Abraham in giving tithes to “ Melchizedek the priest “ then ALL BELIEVERS should be receiving tithes because the New Testament tells us “ WE ARE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD” a holy nation…..1 Peter 2:9.
    On the heels of this, the New Testament describes Jesus as our GREAT HIGH PRIEST after the order of Melchizedek, Heb. 5:6, 9:11. So how does the New Testament tell us that we can give to Jesus [who is our Great High Priest] ? In Mat 25:40 Jesus said; “ Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these MY BRETHREN, you have done it unto me.”
    If we are not careful we can make the Bible say anything we want it to say.

    So our final question is this; What instructions does the Bible actually give to Christians, about the subject of the amount we are to give under the New Testament ?

    In 2Corn. 9 :5-7 , the New Testament clearly addresses the subject of giving. I will use 3 different translations of the Bible, so that you can have a clear picture of what is being said, and highlight some specific instructions that are given.

    The NIV Bible says ; ‘’So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one given grudgingly. Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. EACH MAN SHOULD GIVE WHAT HE HAS DECIDED IN HIS HEART TO
    Page 6 –
    GIVE not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    The Amplified Bible says ; ….Let each one GIVE AS HE HAS MADE UP IN HIS OWN MIND AND PURPOSED IN HIS HEART …..

    The NLT Bible says ; …. You must EACH DECIDE IN YOUR HEART HOW MUCH TO GIVE ….

    If Tithing [10%] were a New Testament command to Christians , it would have said it right here when Paul was specifically addressing the topic of giving to the church. But instead, it simply says to give ‘’WHAT YOU HAVE DECIDED in your heart and HOW MUCH , there is no demand for 10%.
    Let me close with this:
    As a Christian I believe all that we have belongs to the Lord.
    This Bible teaching is intended to specifically address the unbiblical doctrine that 10% of a Christians income must go directly to the church each and every week as is currently being preached in some churches.
    There is no question that Christians are instructed by the Lord to give generously. No question! Give where and as the Lord directs you to give, or when you see a need arise. And by all means if you are attending a no compromise solid Bible believing church , I would suggest you do support that work wholeheartedly with not only your prayers but financially as well.God may lead you to give 10% or more but you will not be doing it because someone has threatened you to do it, but because it is the desire of your heart to do it. It makes all the difference in the world.
    Also, these days many across the U.S are attending independent House Churches and there are always opportunities to help one another in that enviroment as well.
    Keep this in mind as you give- He that sows sparingly [a little] shall also reap sparingly, and he that sows bountifully [lots] shall also reap bountifully. And God loves a cheerful giver. This is what the Lord says !
    Blessings Julia Stanko .
    This material may be printed out for personal reading but must not be altered in any way

  4. Hello i have read the part about tithing because my heart is saying we are to give with our heart and not out of fear, it says in scripture that God loves a cheerful giver and how can you be cheerful if you are scared? When i am afraid of something i don’t want to be near it and then you were saying i would suggest you tithe if you do not want the serious warnings God has said. Maybe some Pastors use the scripture to manipulate there congregation into giving, would this not be a spirit of Jezebel manipulating and controling maybe we just need to read our bibles a little more closely. It talks about tithing in the old Testament yes but what else does it say they would store it up in a warehouse and then they would share it after 4 years i think, well how come there is no sharing today would that not also be robbing God it is what He asked us to do also. And now with the verse Matthew 23:23 Jesus is saying there is a curse on those who are making people give a tenth when they need to be focusing on the important things like righteousness, and mercy, and faith why is it all about money all the time it says in the bible if we hearken to his voice He will bless us. It also says in the Bible as long as we believe these signs shall follow spread the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead but we are taught we have to fix this and fix that in order to do those things tell me were it says that anywhere it that verse or even that chapter it says as long as you believe. Pastors need to quit manipulating people and let God do his work He can change anything at anytime wouldn’t you think

    • “TITHING” IS NOT FOR CHRISTIANS
      -by Andrew Strom.

      -The fourth article in the series on “The 9 Lies of Today’s Church”.

      The word “tithe” literally means ‘a tenth’. Today it is used as a Law in many churches to force Christians to give one tenth of their income to the church. Many are told that they are “robbing God” if they do not give at least this much to the institution they attend each Sunday.
      How ironic that most preachers today preach almost nothing but “grace, grace, grace” except when they preach on Giving – when suddenly they feel free to load people with condemnation and guilt. For some reason this seems to be the one subject where they “lay down the law”. I wonder why? The fact is, in many places the church machinery relies on this law to force people to give and keep the whole ‘machine’ churning along.

      But is Tithing a New Testament practice at all? Is it really for Christians, or is it part of the Old Covenant? Is there really a law in force stating that all Christians must give ten percent? Or are we supposed to be “cheerful givers” – simply giving whatever God has placed on our hearts?

      You may be surprised to learn how little the word ‘Tithing’ is even mentioned in the New Testament. In fact, there is no actual Scripture telling CHRISTIANS to tithe at all. There is one NT Scripture telling PHARISEES to tithe. But in all the letters of the apostles to the church, they never say that this was for Christians. And in the entire book of Acts (-a history of the first 30 years of the Early Church) there is NOT EVEN ONE mention of tithing. There are plenty of examples of people giving money “from the heart”, but NO MENTION of tithing. Isn’t that interesting?

      Yet people will often quote the words of Jesus to the Pharisees as though this tells CHRISTIANS to keep tithing. But it doesn’t. Here is what Jesus said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former.” (Matt 23:23, NIV).

      Notice that Jesus refers to these things as “matters of the law”. That is what they are. They are matters of the Old Testament Law – not part of the New Covenant for Christians. Jesus Himself referred to them that way. And notice who he was talking to in the above passage. He was talking to LAW-KEEPING JEWS who were still under the OLD COVENANT. (-The New Covenant would not begin until Jesus died and rose again). So what Jesus was saying was right – FOR THEM. But not for us – and not for now.

      Yet the Tithing proponents seize on the phrase: “You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former.” The reason they seize on this is because it is the ONLY Scripture they have in the whole New Testament that even vaguely pushes Tithing! And yet it is talking to Pharisees!

      Let me be clear here. This is their BEST New Testament Scripture on the subject. They have almost nothing else. And it is talking to PHARISEES. And it clearly states that Tithing is a “matter of the law”. How dare these people apply this Scripture to today’s Christians? We are not under Law. The Bible tells us that. What a gall these people have – making people feel guilty about an Old Testament Law, just so they can get more money out of us. How disgraceful.

      “You are not under law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14). “But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.” (Gal 5:18).

      In fact, the only other passage that really focuses on Tithing in the New Testament underlines this very point. At the start of Hebrews 7 there is a passage referring to tithing in the Old Testament. It clearly states that tithing is part of the Old Law (v 5). And then it goes on to say: “The former regulation is set aside because it is weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” (Heb 7:18-19).

      The point that is being made here is that the Old Covenant was a covenant of “regulations” (like HAVING to give one tenth) but the New Covenant is a covenant of the HEART. And we are to give out of a heart overflowing with the love of God. -NOT because we are “forced” to give one tenth! The Old Law is gone. We live under a New Covenant today.

      Now another major argument that the Tithing people use is that “Tithing came before the Law”. They use the example of Abraham and Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20). Therefore, they say, it still applies to us today.

      Well, I have one simple question for these people: Isn’t it true that CIRCUMCISION came before the Law also? (See Gen 17). And everyone knows that Circumcision is treated as part of the Old Law that has been done away with. It is the same with Tithing. No difference at all.

      As we have seen, in every New Testament Scripture tithing is clearly spoken of as being part of the “OLD LAW”. It is not part of the New Covenant at all. How shameful that it is being used today to manipulate Christians into giving ten percent to church institutions. How sad and totally unscriptural.

      As former pastor Bruce Lengeman states in his article ‘The Raping of the Tithe’: “The title sounds harsh, but I believe it is fairly accurate due to the damage done by the erroneous teaching of the doctrine of tithing… Plain and simple, the doctrine of tithing as it is commonly taught in the contemporary evangelical, or Bible-believing church is twisted exegesis!”

      SO HOW THEN SHOULD WE GIVE?

      Today when it comes to ‘Giving’ we are often preached-to out of Malachi 3 in the Old Testament, which tells the Jewish people to “bring the full tithes into the storehouse” and says that they were “robbing God” and they were “cursed” if they did not do so. (Mal 3:8-10).

      Modern preachers love to equate the ‘storehouse’ with their own church(!!), so that they can apply this Scripture to themselves. But the reality is very different. As Bruce Lengeman states: “The ‘storehouse’ of Malachi has no likeness to the church structure of today. The storehouse was neither a place of assembly, nor a place of worship. It was merely a storehouse for tithed goods to be distributed to Levites, who had no inheritance, and also to widows, strangers, and orphans.”

      How very different to the guilt-trip that we are hearing today!

      And when we get to the Book of Acts we find that indeed MOST OF THE MONEY that came in actually went to feed and clothe the poor and the widows. In fact, it was a common practice for the Christians to sell any spare possessions and lay the money at the apostles’ feet, for distribution to the poor. (See Acts 4:32-37). What love these people demonstrated! And this was true giving “from the HEART”, not from some “LAW” that told them how much to give.

      There is also plenty of support in the New Testament for giving to those who minister the gospel. (See 1 Cor 9:13-14, 1 Tim 5:17, etc.) But there is a far greater emphasis on giving to the widows and orphans.

      What I believe God would have us do today is be led by the Holy Spirit in our giving. Find ways to give to the poor and the widows in an effective way. (-For instance, some Christian charities like ‘Open Doors’ support persecuted Christian widows in Islamic countries, etc). Also find effective Christian ministries to give to.

      In many ways the ‘local church storehouse’ concept is a deceptive fallacy. The fact is, there was no such thing as “church buildings” in the New Testament anyway, so how could that be the ‘storehouse’? We need to give where God leads us – with a truly cheerful heart.

      As one of my readers wrote to me recently:
      “You sent an email about 2 months ago that convicted me that giving was to be based on the New Testament model – giving cheerfully as we purpose – instead of being under the law. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. I have found that since I give cheerfully whenever Father shows me to give that I have had my socks blessed off. I was always giving 10% to my local church and never seeing any great results. I became convicted that my worship leader needed the money so out of a strong conviction to give it to him I did so. I found that suddenly at work my sales went through the roof. Before I was doing so poorly I was close to losing my job. I know the only difference is following the Holy Spirit and doing what He tells me with my money based on the New Testament example.”

      AMEN!!

      To comment on this article, please send an email to- [email protected]

Trackbacks

  1. […] prosperity and success will come to you if you consistently “meditate on the Word night and day, that you may observe to […]

Speak Your Mind

*

close
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonYouTube Icon