Biblical Principles of Stewardship
The Bible provides us with a set of specific principles for “living by giving.” Consider what these may mean in your life…
The Scales Principle: Jesus said: “The measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Luke 6:38) The weight of the blessings that you receive from God in the end will be in direct proportion to the weight of the talents you are willing to invest in the cause of God’s kingdom now. Are we placing on the scales now the quantity of grace we hope to receive at the end of our days?
The Tithe Principle: The Bible teaches that God calls each of us to give 10% (a tenth or “tithe”) of our income to the work of God’s house. The amazing grace is that He who gave us EVERYTHING says, in effect, “Do as you’re led with the other 90%, but give back one share out of ten.” What would it mean for you to be giving 10% of your income on a monthly basis? Could you step up to this Biblical standard one percentage point a year?
The Eternity Principle: Jesus said that the only things we keep are those we give away. It is only the gift of love we make to others… the treasure of values we pass on… the quality of church and kingdom we build… that lives on. That’s why He said: “Don’t invest heavily in material things, but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) For [s]he is no fool who gives up what [s]he cannot keep to gain what [s]he can never lose. Jesus said: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
The Wellness Principle: Erich Fromm said: “The essential difference between the unhappy, neurotic type person and (the person) of great joy is the difference between get and give.” Jesus tells of the man who spent his life frantically building bigger and better barns to hold all the resources he was accumulating. Sadly, however, he died without getting to see those resources do any good. Christians understand that there is surely value to saving some. In the end though, stewardship means investing our resources in serving God’s cause here-and-now and experiencing the joy of seeing them at work.
The Alpha Principle: “Alpha” is the first letter of the Greek lettering system. When Jesus said that he was the Alpha, he meant that he was the first reality around which all of life was meant to be ordered. Our first priority in life should be to “love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” The most blessed people would be those who “strive first for the kingdom of God.” Christians believe that by giving first to God we show what is genuinely primary in our lives.
The River Principle: God delights in pouring out more resources to those who prove themselves to be Rivers rather than reservoirs: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse… Test me in this,” says the Lord, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” When it comes to generosity, we just can’t out-give God.
The Dominion Principle: In the end, Stewardship comes down to a question of “dominion” (from the word “dominus” or “master”). James Lawless once said: “Stewardship is more than the management of things. It is the refusal to let things manage us.” It tells us who or what is in control. In Christ’s own words, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Who or what has dominion – as in true Lordship – over your life and that of your family?