Be a Good Steward for God’s Gifted Wealth – Pastor Dora Wang – 2010-12-18

Be a Good Steward for God’s Gifted Wealth – Pastor Dora Wang – 2010-12-18

For the building fund pledge of over $500,000 last week I am deeply joyful, as I believe that many brothers and sisters have marched a step forward in faithful offering – some may even experienced a breakthrough!  May the testimonies of their joyful giving and God’s faithful providence be shared among people someday.  It is true, “Who offers more than what God has provided?”  It is common for a Christian to know that God asks us to be good stewards managing all of His gifts including wealth, but “How can you be one?”  Having been pondering on building offering for some time, I would like to go deeper into His own words learning how to be a good steward of His gifted wealth with respect of God, people, and self – to satisfy God’s heart and to enjoy the happiness of being a good steward.

  1. I. To God:
    • 1 – Repay for God’s Gracious Gifts

    1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” Psalm 24:1

    11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deut. 8: 11-18

    9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” II Cor. 8:9

    12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me?  13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.” Psalm 116:12-13

    As we all agree that everything is the Lord’s – including power, ability, opportunity, and money, etc. – we must be responsible to God managing one hundred percent of all the resources given by God, using all He gives according to His will, and often remembering His great kindness so we may not be boastful and thinking those belonging to us instead.  The psalmist raised the cup of salvation to offer his sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for His abundant blessings upon him.  In the New Testament it prophesied that the Lord Jesus sacrificing His life for us is the true cause of the action of our own living sacrifices to God, and that the act of raising the cup of salvation is to glorify His name.  The purposes of building ministry at the Chinese Bible Church of San Diego today are to spread more effectively His good news of salvation and expand His kingdom over the entire the world.  In view of “everything is the Lord’s,” we ought to make offering our money as a means of living sacrifices – a justifiable act of worshiping God.

    • 2 – Faithful Offering for His Blessings

      “ 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3: 10

      23 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. 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.”  Matthew 23:23

      God is asking us to offer only a tenth of what He gives and inviting us to try if He will return His more blessings.  Some disciples questioned if the laws in Old Testament time should still be obeyed under the name of grace in the time of New Testament.  In the scripture of Matthew 23:23, the Lord did blame that those Pharisees failed to do more important things, but He did not waive this offering practice and on the contrary encouraged it.  However, it is indeed easier for those who has been practicing tithing since childhood by saving their “pocket money from parents” to make offerings, than those who become believer after they have worked and earned their money.  Thus we must understand and provide more spaces and time for their spiritual growth until the day when they have sufficient maturity in faith and with the help of Holy Spirit to practice tithing by their own will.

      1. II. To People:
        • 1 – Repay Parents for Their Gracious Provision

        “ 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[a] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[b] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[c] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”” Mark 7: 9-13

        “5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.” I Timothy 5:5

        The Bible teaches people of His kingdom that it is our first responsibility to honor our parents by providing their living needs to the extent to which we cannot to use offering to God as excuses for not providing the support of the needy relatives.  Honoring parents has been our Chinese tradition.  However, some wealthy Chinese in North American opt to chase endless desire of luxury life and not taking the responsibility of providing parents.   Couples often fight over the differences of providing own parents being more willing and acceptable than others.  Christian families ought to seek tirelessly for God’s wisdom of honoring parents of both sides in view of God’s will of provision.

        • 2 – Generous Giving to the Poor

          28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” Deut. 14:28-29

          2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” II Corinthians 8: 2

          5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.” II Corinthians 8:5

          7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:

          “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
          their righteousness endures forever.” ”
          II Corinthians 9:7-9

          9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” II Corinthians 8:9

          Old Testament laws taught Israelites to give tenth of their yearly earnings to the needy every three years in addition to the regular tithing to God.  On the ground that the Christ sacrificed Himself for our richness in New Testament time, Apostle Paul urged churches in Minor Asia to make offering to help the poor in the church of Jerusalem because it would please God.  In a Bible study material, Christian and Wealth, in the book entitled “Faith outside the Church,” by Pastor and Mrs. Wing So, a parable describes the following:

          If the whole world is shrunk to a 100-people village where 33 are rich and 67 are poor having daily income of less than 25 cents, and there are 7 among the riches owning the half of wealth, consuming one seventh of food of the entire village, and dumping big pile of left-over’s into trash cans as usual while poor people starves to death daily!  Our Lord were so merciful towards the multitudes and crowds of hunger in those old days – “Can we actually, the rich and wealthy in North America, do nothing about it?”  Do we regularly exercise the giving to the poor?

          III. To Self:

          • 1 – Contented Heart for Everything

            17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”  I Timothy 6:17

            7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” I Timothy 6:7-8

            12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12

            While God asks us to give to the needy and poor – and there are so many in the world – Do Christians today feel uncomfortable to enjoy their wealth?  Not to worry, we are certain that God gives all to enjoy.  Lord Jesus also participated weddings and enjoying food and drink in His time!  As long as we know that the source of all is from God, trust in the God, the provider, but not in the money that comes and goes, gives thanks for everything, share generously with people the wealth from God, we should be contended in everything we have or not to have.  Therefore, Apostle Paul exemplified to live his life and urge disciples to live joyfully with contended heart whether in richness or poor.

            • 2 – Unbecoming Greedy Slave

              10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” I Timothy 6:10

              7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverb 22:7

              John Rockefeller was once asked “How much money can truly satisfy you?”  He said, “Just a little bit more!”  A little bit more can bring you a little bit more enjoyment in material, life, or feeling accomplished – a little later, a little bit more is needed to be satisfied.  Quite a few people today attempt to gain the most with the least investment, and are willing to take even bigger risk.  Haven’t we learned that recent real estate bubbles caused the big waves of financial crisis today and that the greed drove the desire for endless wants?  Over the years many people moved to high valued houses for a higher profit of the future value.  When the housing bubble started, some people were unable to pay their mortgage and to sell because the mortgage is even higher than the worth of the house.  In the use of credit cards, financial loans, and investment, let the word of God remind us once more that “The borrower is slave to the lender.”

              May we be certain that everything we own belongs to God and we are not real owners but His property managers.  Therefore, we must do according to His will, the teachings of His words, and do not worry about our daily needs since He is our provider.  At last, there is one day we will face our master to show what we have done.  By our Lord’s grace, let us be faithful in everything, large or small, be a good steward for His gifted wealth, and enjoy being His truly good steward.