Nov 05

The Stewardship of Money

By Mark Morgan | Miscellaneous

Based on a booklet “The Stewardship of Money” written in England during the 1940s by F. Mitchell and revised by Mark Morgan, November 2021.

Chapter 1 – Why Should We Give?

a.    Because we ourselves, and all we have, are God’s

The Christian life begins when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal saviour. It was by his coming into our lives that we became Christians at all. No doubt when we first came to him, it was with a sense of frustration or a burden of sin and helplessness, and our conscious need was to receive forgiveness, peace and power. These, we discovered, were available only in Christ, and, receiving him, we enjoyed the gifts he always brings.

But the New Testament always presents Jesus Christ as both Saviour and Lord. It is regrettable that we too easily divorce these offices. The lordship of Christ – his claim to absolute authority over all of our life – was a dominant note in the message of the early Christians. They did not divide the Christ, offering him first as saviour, and then, at some later date, as Lord. Preaching his first sermon to the Jews, Peter reminds them that ‘God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus’ (Acts 2:36).  Preaching his first sermon to the Gentiles, the same apostle reminds them that Jesus ‘is Lord of all’ (Acts 10:36).

From early in the Old Testament, salvation has always had a cost. In Exodus 12, the first-born of Israel is saved by the sprinkled blood of the Passover lamb. In Exodus 13, the spared first-born is claimed as sanctified to God. The New Testament states this truth very plainly, ‘Do you not know that … you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This means that when we partake of the benefits of Christ’s cross and suffering, we commit to his rule over us at the same time; a rule which is to be acknowledged in every part of our life. It is this fact of Christ’s lordship which lies at the heart of the teaching given in the Bible concerning our responsibilities as stewards of the possessions God gives us.

Although the most common meaning of the word ‘steward’ is now a person who looks after passengers, another meaning – and the one we are concentrating on here – is ‘a person entrusted with the management of another’s property’. Christian stewardship, therefore, means that whatever has been entrusted to us by God – our time, talents, prospects, opportunities and possessions – belongs to him. His claim covers everything in our life, and the believer is responsible for the right use of every gift and faculty. We are not, therefore, to feel a sense of responsibility in the matter of money, for example, and yet be careless in the use of our time.

The purpose of this booklet, however, is only to give Scriptural teaching on the stewardship of money (including its equivalent in terms of board and goods). All of us receive some income. It may take the form of a salary, wages, dividends, grants, scholarships, or even pocket money; but whatever the form or origin of our income, we who are Christians need to remember that the ultimate giver is God. We are therefore answerable to him for its use. ‘Who am I,’ said David, ‘and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you’ (1 Chronicles 29:14).

Nothing offers so practical a test of our love for Christ or for others as does our attitude to money and possessions. Nor does anything so test our claim that we have been delivered from this present evil world. The attitude of the unconverted man to money is too widespread to be other than well-known. The world asks how much we own; Christ asks how we use it. The world thinks more of getting; Christ thinks more of giving. The world asks what we give, Christ asks how we give; the former thinks of the amount, the latter of the motive. Men ask how much we give; the Bible how much we keep. To the unconverted, money is a means of gratification; to the converted, a means of service: to the one an opportunity for comfort, to the other an opportunity for consecration.

The Christian must think differently from the man of the world on many problems, but especially on the problem of money. Alas, we may reject worldliness expressed in certain forms of pleasure, and yet be very self-indulgent in the use we make of what God gives us in the form of possessions.

b. Because God commands it

A further and compelling reason why the Christian should seek to please God in this matter is that God commands it. Giving is not a matter of preference and taste, but is obligatory and binding because of the plain command of God.

‘On the first day of every week, each of you is to put
something aside and store it up, as he may prosper.’
1 Corinthians 16:2
‘But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge,
in all earnestness, and in our love for you –
see that you excel in this act of grace also.’
2 Corinthians 8:7
‘Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have.’
Hebrews 13:16

Our love for Christ is ultimately shown by doing the things he tells us to do. ‘Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me’ (John 14:21). ‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love’ (John 15:10). This is the obedience of faith which is the mark of the true believer. The commandments of Christ are no less binding on us than the commandments which God gave to the children of Israel in the wilderness were on them. To fail in giving, therefore, is disobedience, and the Bible never condones such an attitude or act.

c. Because God gave his son for us

The subject of stewardship is given its most exhaustive and orderly treatment in Paul’s two letters to the Christians at Corinth, and two whole chapters (8 and 9) of the second letter address our motive for giving. While the reasons of inequality and need are mentioned, the chief appeal to the hearts and consciences of the Corinthians is because God gave his son and Jesus gave everything.

It appears that the Christians at Corinth had been failing in the matter of stewardship as well as in other more obvious faults. Had they ignored the apostolic instructions given in the earlier letter? Paul had written, ‘On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper’ (1 Corinthians 16:2) in order, he explains, that when he himself came, the church might be able to appoint some of their number whom he could send to carry their gifts to the needy in Jerusalem.

It is to remedy this defect in their Christian character and conduct that the Apostle devotes these two whole chapters of his second letter to this fundamental responsibility of the Christian. He gently introduces the subject by telling them of the noble practice of the Macedonian church (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). The Christians there had given out of their deep poverty not only what they could easily afford, but to the point of sacrifice, ‘they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means’ (verse 3). Paul, knowing this, had evidently hesitated to accept the gift, as being more than they could afford; but these generous-hearted disciples had insisted that he take it, ‘begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints’ (verse 4). The Macedonians had heard of others in greater need than they, and they begged to be allowed to take part in the relief of the saints. This must have proved a strong rebuke to the worldly Christians at Corinth; it may also rebuke both writer and reader.

Paul then proceeds to tell his readers that he desires a similar disposition in them: ‘see that you excel in this act of grace also’ (verse 7). This, he writes, would prove the sincerity of their love (verse 8). It is the mention of others giving as a proof of real love which leads the apostle to make his greatest plea for their giving – and this is the plea:

‘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 by his poverty might become rich.’
2 Corinthians 8:9

Continuing the irrefutable argument of this section of his letter, the apostle closes his plea with a brief but touching doxology:

‘Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!’
2 Corinthians 9:15

The logical reasoning of the two chapters may be summarised briefly as follows. The great expression of God’s love is the gift of his son to meet our need; we should express our love in return by giving to his needy ones as we would to him. The Macedonians did it out of their great poverty, for love must give. Let the Christians at Corinth find in the need of the saints at Jerusalem an opportunity which should be eagerly grasped to show their love to Christ and his brethren. A Christianity which is not large-hearted and liberal is not of the apostolic kind.

d. Because of its effect on our spiritual development

Failure to give adequately may easily involve spiritual loss, while a right fulfilment of the responsibilities of stewardship will almost certainly bring spiritual gain, or, at any rate, will save us from numerous spiritual perils. The New Testament is full of warnings regarding the danger and hindrance of too many possessions:

‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth …
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven ….
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
Matthew 6:19-21
‘The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches
and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word.’
Mark 4:19
‘You cannot serve God and money.’
Luke 16:13
‘How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’
Luke 18:24
‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.’
1 Timothy 6:10

Money, in its various forms, is a real responsibility. The more of it that comes to us, the greater our responsibility.  ‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more’ (Luke 12:48). As Christians we must cultivate the Christian attitude to material possessions. We should not aspire to wealth, which may easily be our undoing. Rather we should seek to use aright that which God may give us, trusting him to send more if the need be greater, or if he judges us sufficiently faithful to be trusted with more.

Booklet: “The Stewardship of Money”

More than 70 years ago, the booklet “The Stewardship of Money” was written by F. Mitchell examining how Christians should use their money. We think that it’s worth reading, so we have made it available for you to download below (although we don’t agree with everything in it).  Three versions of the booklet are available:

Sometime, we hope to issue a complete revision of this booklet. While this is still in progress, the first chapter in its revised form is provided above.

See also

How should Christians use money? (Bible Tales article)

Sep 24

How should Christians use money?

By Mark Morgan | Miscellaneous

Money is mentioned more than 200 times in the Bible, starting with God’s requirement that even slaves bought with Abraham’s money had to be circumcised as part of God’s covenant with him (Genesis 17:12-13).

Money in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament we are often told of God blessing those whom he loved by giving them riches: Abraham (Genesis 13:2; 24:35); Isaac (Genesis 26:12-13); Job (Job 42:10); David (1 Chronicles 29:28); Solomon (1 Kings 3:13; 10:23); Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:5; 18:1); Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:27). In fact, there is frequently a connection between righteousness and the blessing of riches, particularly in Psalms and Proverbs (Proverbs 10:4, 22; 22:4).

Yet in all of them, there is the repeated warning not to set our heart on riches. There is a warning that if riches are too important to us, we will fail (Psalm 62:10; Proverbs 11:4, 28; 27:24).
Continue reading

Jul 22

Egypt in the Bible

By Admin | Jeremiah , Joseph

Egypt:

The Bible names many different countries: Israel, Babylon, India, Ethiopia, Persia, Syria, Moab, Egypt, Italy, and many more.  The most common one is Israel – not surprisingly, since God says that for him it is the centre of the world, the land he promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (whom he renamed “Israel”).[1] Continue reading

Notes

Notes
1 Sometimes it is hard to separate God’s love for the land from his love for the people he chose to give it to: see Ezekiel 5:5; 20:6; 38:12; Isaiah 41:8-9; Zechariah 2:8 and Jeremiah 12:14.  When you think about it, it makes sense that God would give his favourite land to his best friends!
Jun 21

Jeremiah in Egypt: Tahpanhes

By Admin | Jeremiah

Jeremiah in Egypt (Tahpanhes):

After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, he appointed Gedaliah governor of Judah and left some soldiers to provide support for the new administration.  However, evil men assassinated Gedaliah and killed the soldiers.  Afraid, the people who lived in Judah decided to escape to Egypt to avoid any retribution from Nebuchadnezzar.  First they went to Tahpanhes (Jeremiah chapters 43-44), which was the closest major city of Egypt to Judah.

According to Wikipedia, it was later known as Daphnae and is now called Tell Defenneh.  At that time, it was located beside a lake on a branch of the Nile delta.  The site is now situated on the Suez Canal.  The meaning of the name “Tahpanhes” is uncertain. Continue reading

May 19

Jehoshaphat’s family tree

By Mark Morgan | Family trees , Jehoshaphat

King David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa and then Jehoshaphat: this is Jehoshaphat’s family tree.

King Jehoshaphat was a descendant of King David, from the tribe of Judah, and began to reign over Judah about 100 years after the death of King David. He was a righteous and faithful king who would be high on the list of the best kings of Judah – although he had a problem with being too tolerant of evil people.

A family tree centred on King Jehoshaphat is included below. The family tree extends up to King David in simplified form, however the generations around Jehoshaphat include much more detail.
Continue reading

Apr 17

Timeline of Jehoshaphat’s life

By Admin | Jehoshaphat , Timelines

Timeline of Jehoshaphat's life:

For those who don’t know, Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah after the kingdom of Israel split in two – Israel and Judah – following the death of King Solomon.  Jehoshaphat was a righteous and faithful king who would be high on the list of the best kings of Judah – although he had a problem with being too tolerant of evil people. Here, we provide a timeline of Jehoshaphat’s life. Continue reading

Mar 16

The birth of Jacob’s sons

By Admin | Joseph , Timelines

Birth of Jacob's sons:

Some people have no children at all, while others have many children. However many we have, though, we are used to the fact that it normally takes about 9 months of pregnancy for each child. So what happened with the birth of Jacob’s sons?

At first glance, we could think that this 9 month limit wasn’t true in the family of Jacob, the son of Isaac! However, his was no ordinary family, thanks to the trickery of Laban, his father-in-law.  This post looks at Jacob’s speedy transformation from having neither wife nor child to having 4 wives and 11 sons. Continue reading

Jan 28

Washing in Bible times

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah , Jesus

In the last year we have all become familiar with calls to wash our hands frequently. With COVID-19 spreading across the world, everyone has been told to use soap, hand sanitiser and disinfectants, and now we are being encouraged to take a vaccine as soon as we can. How does this compare with washing in Bible times?

“Hand-hygiene” and “social distancing” are on everybody’s lips as we try to avoid the disease and save lives.

Here in Victoria, Australia, we are told, “Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.”[1]

Many people have observed that the Law of Moses has a strong concentration on cleanliness and frequently mentions washing, and it is not the only part of the Bible where this is true.
Continue reading

Notes

Notes
1 Victorian government page on Hygiene and physical distancing: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/staying-safe-covid-19.
Jan 09

Destroying Solomon’s Temple

By Admin | Jeremiah

Destroying Solomon's temple:

Destroying Solomon’s Temple

Why is destroying things so much more fun than building them?

We can dimly appreciate the time and effort taken to build a tall brick chimney, yet when such an amazing edifice has outlived its usefulness and plans are made to demolish it, large crowds will often gather to watch the demolition.  No-one sat watching the hard work and long weeks of building as the chimney grew one round of bricks at a time, yet many will come to revel in the sudden destruction as a carefully placed explosive charge brings a multitude of bricks crashing down.

Breaking down is always easier than building up – but that doesn’t mean it is always easy. Continue reading

Dec 18

The times of Jehoshaphat

By Mark Morgan | Harmonies , Jehoshaphat

Timeline of Jehoshaphat's life:

Bible records in the times of Jehoshaphat

Background

King David ruled over a united kingdom of Israel – the 12 tribes that had entered “the Promised Land”.  Today, this land is once again called Israel, although parts area now claimed by the Palestinians and Jordan.

After David’s death, his son Solomon became king and expanded the kingdom even further.  In his later life his many foreign wives led him into idolatry. In response, God said that the kingdom would be split in two during the reign of his son.  After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king and could not hold the kingdom together. The nation split in two: Israel, ten tribes ruled by a rebel called Jeroboam; and Judah, two tribes ruled by Rehoboam.

From then on until Assyria destroyed Israel, the two nations swung pendulum-like between open war and a troubled co-existence. During this period, Jehoshaphat ruled Judah, following in the godly footsteps of his ancestor David (2 Chronicles 17:3).

Yet Jehoshaphat had a problem: he was too tolerant. Throughout his reign he looked for friendship and partnerships with the kingdom of Israel, despite their dedicated idolatry. He even made a marriage alliance with Ahab, king of Israel – Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. Within 30 years, this unholy alliance had very nearly destroyed the kingdom of Judah.

This is also the setting for the work of the prophets Elijah and Elisha.

Parallel records from Kings and Chronicles

Continue reading

Dec 04

Jeremiah in Egypt

By Admin | Jeremiah

Jeremiah in Egypt (Tahpanhes):

Jeremiah in Egypt

Background

Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation of Judah and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 587/586BC.  He captured King Zedekiah and killed his sons, then blinded him and took him away to Babylon, where he died in captivity. Continue reading

Nov 05

King David’s Family Tree

By Admin | David , Family trees

King David's family tree:

King David’s Family Tree

If you look far enough up King David’s family tree (ten generations), you will see that he came from the tribe of Judah.  And as we look through his family tree, we see that some of his relatives are still very well known, even 3,000 years later.  Some of his famous relatives include: Continue reading

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