American people live in the most affluent nation in history. What an amazing statement to ponder! Though there are many more Christians in other nations of the world, American Christians have been entrusted to steward 70% of the worlds wealth that is in the hands of Christians. This wealth is to get the gospel to every tribe and nation, care for the needy and hungry, and help the dying and broken.
Have you ever considered how wealthy you might be? You can use globalrichlist.com, type in your annual income, and learn where you stand. Consider this:
- $12k a year: you’re in the top 14.45% richest people in the world
- $30k a year: you’re in the top 1.23% richest people in the world
- $60k a year: you’re in the top 0.19% of people in the world
- $100k a year: you’re in the top 0.08% of people in the world
When scripture talks about rich people, it is talking about us. Jesus shares a truth in Luke 12:48 that every American Christian should memorize.
“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”
People who have been entrusted by God with many abilities and resources will be held to a higher standard on the last day and will be rewarded with additional opportunities to serve and invest when they steward money and possessions His ways.
What is Stewardship?
True stewardship is managing the assets of someone else. Stewardship is simply declaring the Lord is the owner and we are a channel of God’s wealth. Jesus draws a direct cause and effect comparison between how we manage our earthly wealth and how we will spend eternity. What we do with the cross determines where we are going to spend eternity. The way we live as believers determines how we are going to spend eternity. Luke 16:10–13 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Heaven will be a place of great learning, activity, artistic expression, exploration, discovery, camaraderie, and service. Scripture tells us:
- Some of us will reign with Christ (Revelation 20:6).
- Faithful servants will be put “in charge of many things” (Matthew 25:21, 23).
- Christ will grant some followers leadership over cities, in proportion to their service on earth (Luke 19:12–19).
- Scripture refers to five different crowns, suggesting leadership positions.
- We’ll even command angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Scriptures also tells us we are given these eternal rewards for:
- Doing good works (Ephesians 6:8; Romans 2:6, 10).
- Persevering under persecution (Luke 6:22–23).
- Showing compassion to the needy (Luke 14:13–14).
- Treating our enemies kindly (Luke 6:35).
- Investing our possessions in the kingdom (Matthew 19:21).
- Jesus promises that those who sacrifice on earth will receive “a hundred times as much” in heaven (Matthew 19:29).
6 Keys to Send It Ahead
In Randy Alcorn’s book, The Treasure Principle, he shares that you can’t take your money and possessions with you, but you can send them ahead. Matthews 6:20 says, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” He shares six Biblical keys that we should all take very seriously.
- God owns everything; I’m His money manager
We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted—not given—to us.
- My heart always goes where I put God’s money
Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.
- Heaven—the New Earth, not the present one—is my home
We are citizens of “a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
- I should live today not for the dot, but for the line
From the dot—our present life on earth—extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in Heaven.
- Giving is the only antidote to materialism
Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him.
- God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving
God gives us more money than we need so we can give—generously.
Tithing is introduced in the Old Testament. The Israelites would tithe more than 25% of their wages: 10% to support the Levites for God’s service, 10% festivals and feasts, 3.3% to the poor (every 3rd year), gleaning to the poor (like Ruth), plus any special temple building taxes. “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD” (Leviticus 27:30).
The word tithe simply means “a tenth.” “Giving” goes beyond a tenth of our gross income. The Bible speaks of the tithe as giving the first fruits unto the Lord. After speaking about trusting the Lord with our whole heart (:5-6) and fearing the Lord and turning away from evil (:7-8), Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” God’s children give to Him first, not last. God expects and commands us to give of our tithe out of enlightened self-interest.
Store up Treasure
The goal of our lives is to not be rich or comfortable. It is to be wise investors and store up treasures in heaven. The only way to get our treasures in heaven is to put them into something that is going to heaven. “Tithing isn’t the ceiling of giving; it’s the floor. It’s not the finish line of giving; it’s just the starting blocks. Tithes can be the training wheels to launch us into the mind-set, skills, and habits of grace giving” RT Kendall.
Where God’s grace and love is, the people of God will be givers. Consider the question, “How much grace and love are people really experiencing?” The answer will be seen by looking at their giving. Nominal Relationship = Nominal Giving. Sporadic relationship = Sporadic Giving. Authentic Relationship = Authentic Giving. Consistent Relationship = Consistent Giving. Joy-filled Relationship = Joy-filled Giving. Optional Relationship = Optional Giving. You can’t help but give when God gets ahold of you.
One of the major hindrances to giving is the deception that earth is our home. “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14). 1 Peter 2:11 also tells us, “Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” Do you hear the spiritual warfare in this scripture? Giving is an act of spiritual warfare destroying the lust of the flesh and the materialistic cravings of this world. Worldly desires are waging war against our souls and stewarding God’s resources His ways will defeat the enemy soundly.
Here is a giving covenant taken from Randy Alcorn’s book, The Treasure Principle. It’s a giving covenant between you and God. Read it, talk it over with your spouse or friends, and pray about it. If you sense that God is leading you to make a new commitment to giving, to sign below and put in a place that you will regularly revisit it.
- I affirm God’s full ownership of me (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and everything entrusted to me (Psalm 24:1). I recognize that my money and possessions are in fact His. I’m His money manager, His delivery person. I will ask Him what He wants me to do with His money.
- I will set aside the first fruits—starting with at least 10 percent—of all I receive, treating it as holy and belonging exclusively to the Lord. I do this in obedience to Him, desiring His blessing (Malachi 3:6–12). By faith I take God up on His challenge to test Him in this.
- Out of the remaining treasures God entrusts to me, I will seek to make generous freewill gifts. I recognize that God has entrusted wealth to me so that I can be “generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:11). Realizing I can rob God by withholding not only the tithe but whatever offerings He calls upon me to give, I ask Him to make His will clear to me.
- I ask God to teach me to give sacrificially to His purposes, including helping the poor and reaching the lost. I commit myself to avoiding indebtedness so that I don’t tie up His funds and can therefore feel greater freedom to follow the Spirit’s promptings to give.
- Recognizing that I cannot take earthly treasures from this world, I determine to lay them up as heavenly treasures—for Christ’s glory and the eternal good of others and myself. Affirming that heaven, not earth, is my home and Christ is my Lord, I commit myself to lay out His assets before Him regularly—leaving nothing as untouchable—and ask His direction for what to do with and where to give His money. I’ll start with this question: “What am I hanging on to that You want me to give away?”
- Recognizing that God has given me my family, my friends, my church, and others in my circle of influence, I ask Him to help me share the Treasure Principle with them so they too may experience the greatest present joy and future reward.