Say the word “stewardship” and many different thoughts automatically race through people’s minds….and not all of them biblical or healthy.
When it comes to stewardship, a favorite Bible verse is the account of the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1–4). It’s a moving account. Our Lord praises the seemingly small gift of two copper coins given by a poor widow above the abundance of gifts given by the rich, saying, “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.” (Luke 21:3).
And that is usually where we stop. But the text goes on. “For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (Luke 21:4). She gave everything. She gave 100%. She held nothing back. She trusted that the Lord who made her and all creatures, who gave her everything she had, who redeemed her from her own sin, from death, and the power of the devil, would continue to care for her. He would provide her with all that she needed for her body and life. Imagine looking at your checkbook to see how much you have in the account, and then writing out a check for that amount and putting it in the offering plate.
The starting point is that God owns everything (Psalm 24:1). We don’t own a thing. God entrusts his possessions to us for faithful management of them (Matthew 25:14-30). It is love for God and gratitude for his love that provides the motivation for giving back to God what is his in the first place (2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 John 4:19). You and I have reason for planning our giving and planning offerings that are proportionate to how God has blessed us individually (1 Corinthians 16:2). Those are just some biblical principles of giving that come to mind. “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Jesus’ words were certainly applicable to his first disciples. They are applicable to Christians today as well.
We are to give proportionally to what we have received from God’s giving to us (Luke 12:48; 1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 8:12). 2 Corinthians 8:7-9 “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 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.” You can’t outgive God.
Savior, Thy dying love
Thou gavest me,
Nor should I aught withhold,
Dear Lord, from Thee:
In love my soul would bow,
My heart fulfill its vow,
Some off’ring bring Thee now,
Something for Thee.