Generosity & Giving

The Joy Of Stewardship

Stewardship is one of the great themes of Scripture. Our Creator God entrusted Adam and Eve with a brand new planet and placed within their hands the delightful responsibility to care for and nurture this great gift. Throughout Scripture, the Lord reminds His people that they are stewards of many things: Of the time that He has allotted to them to live out their lives on this earth; of the treasures He allows them to earn and give and to manage; of the temples (our bodies) He has given us to transport His image to the world; and, of His Word – the Word which heals, delivers and saves. Those who take the time to grasp both the reality and the responsibility of becoming faithful stewards of everything our Creator has entrusted to us become people whose lives are defined by joy, generosity and fruitfulness.

At Patrick Crossing, our mission is to help people discover the joy of stewardship – to become the good soil that Jesus talked about which He said would produce a great increase: some one hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown. God has sown precious seed into your life and it is our passion to see you experience life in all of the abundance that our Creator has intended for you.

What Others Have To Say About Giving

  • “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.” — John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839-1937), American industrialist and philanthropist
  • There's no good reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.  - Col. Sanders, Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken
  • "I have observed 100,000 families over my years of investment counseling.  I always saw greater prosperity and happiness among those families who tithed than among those who didn't.”  - Sir John Templeton, chairman of Templeton Funds
  • “Do not give, as many rich men do, like a hen that lays her eggs ... and then cackles.” — Henry Ward Beecher (1813-87), American abolitionist and clergyman
  • “Examples are few of men ruined by giving.” — Christian Bovée
  • “One of the reasons churches in North America have trouble guiding people about money is that the church’s economy is built on consumerism. If churches see themselves as suppliers of religious goods and services and their congregants as consumers, then offerings are ‘payment.’ ” — Doug Pagitt, pastor
  • “I was once young and now I am old, but not once have I been witness to God’s failure to supply my need when first I had given for the furtherance of His work. He has never failed in His promise, so I cannot fail in my service to Him.” — William Carey (1761-1834), Baptist missionary to India
  • “You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving.” — Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), missionary to India
  • “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British wartime prime minister and statesman
  • “No one has ever become poor by giving.” — Anne Frank (1929-45), Jewish Dutch diarist during Nazi occupation
  • “The only investment I ever made which has paid consistently increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.” — James L. Kraft (1874-1953), Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corp. chairman
  • “I am convinced that the devil has caused the subject of giving to stir up resistance and resentment among God’s people because he knows there are few ways of spiritual enrichment like the exercise of faithful stewardship.” — Stephen Olford, preacher and author
  • “If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.” — Robert South (1634-1716), English clergyman
  • “Even if I give the whole of my worth to Him, He will find a way to give back to me much more than I gave.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92), English Baptist preacher
  • “When I die, if I leave behind me ten pounds ... you and all mankind [may] bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.” — John Wesley (1703-91), English evangelist and founder of Methodism
  • “Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can.” — John Wesley (1703-91), English evangelist and founder of Methodism

Some Straight Talk On Giving by CJ Alderton

Very few people find the Biblical concept of stewardship, or giving, something that is easily discussed. One of the reasons given by many for being “turned off” by religion is the excuse: “All they ever talk about is money.” Money is funny that way. The word money begins with the letter “m” and ends with the letter “y”, which spells: “My”, which reflects many people’s attitude toward money. It is mine!

From the time I was a small child, my parents instilled within me the concept of the tithe, the giving of 10% of my income to the Lord – no strings attached. For years, out of simple obedience to my parents’ example, I followed this practice. I am thankful that they taught me the habit of giving, but it was many years later, when serving as a Pastor in a traditional church, that I really began to examine this practice. “Was it Biblical?” “Was giving 10% something I could teach about with an honest conviction or was it something I was urging on fellow believers that was merely self-serving?” Good questions.

Let me say first of all that I believe in tithing - but in a very qualified way. And, the qualification has to do with one simple word: attitude. I believe that our Father asks us to give for one very simple reason – to teach us the attitude of generosity. As long as we carry around within us a “my money” attitude, we limit the ability of God to reflect through us His heart of generosity. And, He is a very generous God.

There are a number of passages that I could mention that support my understanding of what I feel Scripture teaches in regard to the tithe, but to me, the most convincing is to grasp an understanding of the two covenants – the old and the new.

Our word for “Testament”, when we refer to the Old and New testaments, simply means: covenant. There is an old covenant and there is a new covenant. Our God is a covenant making God. If you follow the course of the Old Testament, you will find God making covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the children of Israel, the land, David, etc. But there are two covenants which make it into the New Testament. There is a promise given to Abraham that he will become the father of many nations. And, there is a promise given to David that his throne will endure forever. These were both fulfilled through the coming of Christ. And, in Matthew 1:1, the first verse of the first book of the new covenant, we read these words: “A record of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

We first see the tithe enacted, not in the law given by Moses, but in a simple act of spontaneous thanksgiving by Abraham to a mysterious figure in the Old Testament by the name of Melchizedek. His story is found in Genesis 14:18-21. Simply put, we find that Abraham has just finished a dramatic rescue of his nephew Lot from the hands of four different kings. The first person to greet Abraham in his victory is Melchizedek, with a gift of bread and wine. This priest/king, Melchizedek, (which translated means: King of Righteousness), is the king of Salem (which translated means: King of Peace). In response to this act of kindness, Abraham offers to Melchizedek a tenth (a tithe) of everything he has in his possession. Now, this story is so compelling that the New Testament writer of Hebrews dedicates a lot of space to these few verses from Genesis and in doing so reveals the true nature of the tithe. Let’s quote at length this passage and please pay special attention to my comments throughout:

Hebrews 6: 19 "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 7: 1 "This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 And Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, His name means “king of righteousness”, then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without  father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.”

The first point that we see the writer of Hebrews making is that Melchizedek, the king of righteousness and peace, is representative of Christ, the New Covenant. He goes on…

4 "Just think how great he [Melchizedek] was: Even the Patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder. 5 Now the law [My note: the old covenant] requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people – that is, their brothers – even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, [My note: who represents Christ – the new covenant], did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, [My note: who represents the Old Testament covenant] who collects the tenth, paid the tenth [my note: to Melchizedek, who represents Jesus, the New Testament covenant] through Abraham. 10 Because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor."

Many have said that tithing is Old Testament and that we are no longer obligated to this practice. I believe that this passage, which clearly shows the Old Covenant - represented by Abraham tithing to Melchezidek - who represents Jesus, the New Covenant, confirms that the practice is still very much acknowledged in the New Testament.

Jesus Himself said these words in regard to the tithe: “Woe to you teachers of the law, you give a tenth of your spices…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. The point is simple: Jesus affirms the tithe while focusing on the attitude. To tithe with a wrong attitude gains us little. To tithe with the right attitude gains us much.

To me, the simplest way to grasp the issue of generosity and giving is to understand a very fundamental truth: God is the owner. “The owner of what?” you ask. The Scriptures tell us this: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”  Psalm 24:1.  If we see God as the owner of everything, and He is only asking for us to return to Him 10%, isn’t that a pretty good deal? I think so.

But, there is more: God promises to bless a spirit of generosity. Read these words from the Apostle Paul slowly and carefully – in fact, post them in a place where they can become a part of your daily life:

Remember this: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
II Corinthians 9:6-8.

© Patrick Crossing 2015