Giving generously to God with a grateful heart is an act worship!
Our response with the giving of resources, our lives in service—to others and God—reveals character, obedience, and faithfulness. Also, our generosity is a huge witness to unbelievers.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11:
He [God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God (ESV).
We give because of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old once wrote: “Christians have [historically] understood almsgiving as an expression of joy. Just as we give Christmas presents as a token of our rejoicing, giving gifts to the poor is a way of rejoicing in God’s goodness to us. It is in the same spirit that we give our tithes.”1
In 2 Corinthians 8-9 the apostle Paul makes these observations about stewardship and giving:
—Those who follow Jesus should excel in the grace of giving
—Giving is an expression of t love for Jesus
—God loves willing and cheerful givers
—A willingness to be generous in giving is more important than the amount given
—Our giving will result in praise and thanksgiving to God
—Our giving should be a natural response to God’s gracious gift to mankind 2
Essentially, being a true leader requires a biblical understanding of stewardship. Management expert Bill Peel said:
The essence of stewardship implies a two-party proposition. One person owns the resources and the other person is entrusted with the resources. By definition, a steward is accountable to his master for how resources are invested. So how does this apply to us today? Since God owns all things [Psa. 24:1], he is the Master; he distributes gifts and resources at his discretion. We are stewards; accountable to him for all that we do with all that we are given.3
Scripture provides many examples of stewardship—good and bad:
Genesis 14—The tithe: Abraham gives a tenth of everything to Melchizedek; Exodus 25—God requested Moses to build the tabernacle and asked the people to bring an offering from the plunder of Egypt; Exodus 32—The people instead misappropriated the gold to build an idol, the Golden Calf; Exodus 36:3-6—People continued to bring offerings and were eventually restrained because of an overabundance; 1 Chronicles 29:5—David desired to build a temple, challenging the people to consecrate themselves with spiritual depth in giving.
One of the most profound passages in the New Testament (NT) about giving concerns a poor widow who made a great sacrifice and gave all she had, though, in reality, it was only the equivalent of a few pennies (Luke 21:1-4). On the other side of the coin (pun intended!), disobedience plagued a NT couple when they denied giving alms and were struck dead because of it (Acts 5:1-11).
Ultimately, giving “is an expression of our acknowledging that everything we have comes from God and belongs to Him.”4
1 Hughes Oliphant Old, Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Ministers (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans, 1995), 296.
2 Ron Kelley, “Our Giving is an Act of Worship,” LifeWay, http://www.lifeway.com/Article/Mature-Living-Our-Giving-is-an-Act-of-Worship (accessed May 9, 2017).
3 Bill Peel, “Leadership Is Stewardship, Part 1,” The High Calling, https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/blog/leadership-stewardship-part-1, (accessed April 13, 2017).
4Robert Morgan, “Presentation: Worship and Giving – Part 1,” Liberty University Online, WRSP 835 lecture, https://download.liberty.edu/courses/nl0i8.mp4 (accessed April 13, 2017).
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