Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Being Good Stewards

As more and more news comes in about the misuses of funds by those affected by Hurricane Katrina, I am reminded of the necessity of Gods people being good stewards. We are not to give randomly to people and causes. Gods Word is clear that the first of our best is to go to the local church, and that we should give with cheerful hearts. Have you ever wondered why God would call us to give when He does not need anything and owns it all? The answer is that He desires we know the joy of giving. As we are told in the book of Acts it is more blessed to give than to receive. But we need to be sure we are giving in the Biblically prescribed manner. I am afraid that too many of God's people believe it does not matter where they give as long as they do, and nothing could be further from the truth. God works primarily through the local church, and that is where the bulk of our giving is to go.

We also need to seek greater joy in this area, praying that God would allow us the joy of giving more. This requires a desire to be free from materialism and calls for faith. It is a wartime mindset that puts the Kingdom of God as the priority, but what joy to be able to be stretched to give more. Consider the following testimonies taken from Randy Alcorn's website:

Jerry & Muriel Caven
After successfully establishing a restaurant chain,
two banks, a ranch, farm and real estate ventures
, Jerry Caven says that's when the real fun started.
"At age 59 I was headed into retirement, looking
for a nice lake home. Then God changed our plans
and led Muriel and me to put our money and
time overseas. It's been exciting. Before we
gave token amounts, now we put substantial
money into missions. Our hearts are in India
now. We visit and minister there often."
What changed the Cavens' attitude toward giving?
"It was realizing God's ownership that got through
to us. Once we understood we were giving away
God's money to God's work, we had a peace and
joy we never had back when we thought it was
our money! After seeing the way poor Christians
in India trust Him, we've asked God if he wants
us to give away all of 'our' money. He hasn't led
us to do that yet. But we've meant it when we asked."
Jerry says, "A non-christian couple saw us giving,
and saw how much it excited and changed us.
Then they started giving too, even before knowing
Christ. They saw the joy and they wanted in on it!"
He added, "One of the big results of our giving is
that we no longer hold things too close to our
hearts. We can let them go, realizing they
won't last...but we will."

Bob and Melinda Harvey
Bob and Melinda say, "Our life purpose for
giving is as follows: Help fulfill the Great
Commission by giving 50% of our annual
income to Christian causes that have the greatest
leverage. To do this we must maximize our
income, consult with people knowledgeable
about ministry, and select the best organizations
to support. We have averaged giving 33%
for the last 15 years and in the most recent
two years we have moved to 50% of our
gross income."

May God increase our faith and allow us to know the joy of being good stewards.

blog you later,
pastor tom