Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ of Calvary Lutheran Church, Wellington,
The article below is part three of a series of articles on Christian stewardship. I hope that it will help you to understand more deeply the Scriptural basis of giving. Remember that God has given made us stewards of His creation and His Gospel for our benefit, not His. He knows that when we give cheerfully to Him, we are strengthening our trust in Him and working with Him to spread the true message of the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ in this confused world.
This month’s article about stewardship is about the scriptural basis of the practice of tithing, and how it applies to us today.
We do not make God poor when we fail to give money to Him properly, but we do make ourselves poor if we do not give according to the standards He sets for us in His Word, the Bible. God does not need our money, but we need to give the way the Bible tells us to in order to overcome the negative influence money and the things of this world can have on us.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
Some of the teachings of the Bible are more difficult than others. For many the teachings about money, possessions and offerings are among the most difficult. But God’s instructions are for our good, not for our harm. If we follow His instructions, we will be free and content. Jesus said in John 8:36 “If the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.” We also read in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “…godliness with contentment is great wealth.” That is God’s desire for His people: freedom, godliness, and contentment. That is also the desire of this church for its members and associates. That is why this Bible study is presented to you. Please pray for the Lord to make you open to His message, then go through the study. If you live in a family setting, it would probably be good to do the study together.
1. To whom does my money belong?
“‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2:8
Kang David said to God, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us!” 1 Chronicles 29:14
2. What 5 requirements does God make on every Christian regarding money offerings
a. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.”
So the Lord wants me to make my money offerings.
b. Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first part of everything your land produces. Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.”
The Lord wants me to make my money offering to Him first. He is not pleased when I give Him leftovers.
c. 1 Corinthians 16:2 “On the first day of every week, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.”
This tells me that the Lord wants me to make my money offerings to Him regularly, that is, whenever I have income, whether I am able to go to church that week or not.
d. 1 Corinthians 16:2 “On every Lord’s Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.”
Deut. 16:17 “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”
Luke 12:48 “Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”
The Lord tells me that it is not the amount itself that is important. What is important is that I make my money offerings proportionately. In other words, I should give a generous percentage of the income the Lord enables me to earn through my work and investments.
e. 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 “Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem.”
Luke 7:47 Jesus said, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
So my money offerings to the Lord should also be made generously.
Here’s the list of Biblical principles when it comes to making money offerings:
3. Regularly (whenever I have income)
4. Proportionately (percentage)
5. Generously (Faithful Christian giving starts at a tithe)
3. What if I serve the Lord faithfully, even exceptionally, in other areas? Does that mean that I don’t need to follow these directions about money offerings?
2 Corinthians :7 “since you excel in so many ways—you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us—now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving.”
Matthew 23:23 Jesus once compared offering with “the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith.” And He said, “You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.”
So no matter how well or faithfully I may serve in some areas, the Lord expects me to follow His directions regarding money offerings, also, and even to excel in this area.
4. What exactly is “tithing” and what does God say about it?
“To tithe” literally means “to give 10%.” The command about tithing was part of the Old Testament laws for the nation of Israel. So what God said in the Law is no longer a requirement, although the principle remains. (The principle in the Bible is that offerings begin at 10%.) But the Lord’s promises never change. And consider this promise about tithing:
Malachi 3:10-11 “’Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them form insects and disease. Your grapes will not shrivel before they are ripe,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
5. Is it true that some people have tried tithing and it didn’t work for them?
If that’s true, then God’s Word is not true. We should remember that the Bible does not say that tithing can be done without sacrifice. But God does say that the blessings will far outweigh any hardship if the tithing is done consistently and from the heart.
6. Is getting a blessing from God my motivation for tithing?
No. The motivation is amazing love for me. Consider these three Scriptures:
Galatians 2:20 “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in the earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 “You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though He was very rich, yet for you sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich.”
2 Corinthians 5:15 “He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them. “
7. Please prayerfully consider the following statements. If you live in a family setting, please talk and pray about them together.
The Lord has blessed us with all we need for this body and life.
Have we been making first-fruit, regular, proportionate and generous (at least 10%, a tithe) money offerings to the Lord from the heart?
If so, what other needs in our church and community can use our attention?
If not – what steps can we take to move in a faithful direction?
May God protect you in all your travels this month. May He bring you safely home to your family in your home town and to your family of faith in Christ, here at Calvary Lutheran in Wellington, to worship, give thanks for the gifts of Word and Sacrament, and to build up one another as the body of Christ.
Blessings and peace,
On Tuesday, September 1st, Calvary Lutheran Church will host the monthly meeting of Circuit 10 and 11. These circuit meetings are called Winkels. The Winkel will start with a communion service, followed by Bible study, and Circuit business. We will provide refreshments in the morning and lunch around noon. The morning refreshments will be coffee, tea, juice, fruit and pastry. The details of lunch have not been worked out yet. After lunch we will have the initial meeting of a group to promote unity among the churches of the Synod. If you would like to help prepare a dish for lunch or refreshments, or if you would be available to help set the food out, please contact Pastor Wingfield. There will be a sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall.
Pastor Wingfield will be going to Redeemer Lutheran Church to participate in English as second language courses. That will be on Monday evenings starting in September.
If you would like to learn how to approach others with your faith, please contact Pastor Wingfield. He is going to start a “Pass It On” group in August. Participants will learn how to express their faith to others by practicing first with each other, using a script as a guide. They will be provided with materials and guidance to help them go out and speak about the Lord to our neighbors in Wellington. After training, the participants will meet once a week. They will spend a half hour going over the material, and then they will go out and speak to people in their homes. After an hour they will return to the church to discuss their experiences. The program was highly recommended to Pastor Wingfield by Prof Joel Biermann at Concordia Seminary. Prof. Biermann has participated in such a group for years and believes that it has great value, both as outreach and in training Christians how to express their faith.
There will be a Cabinet Meeting Wednesday, August 5, at 7p.m.
Confirmation will begin on September 13th, from 11:45-12:15. An alternate time will be provided on Thursday evenings for those who miss the Sunday class.