|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth …” Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Earn, give, and save”
In 1789 the great preacher, teacher, and Christian leader, John Wesley, preached a sermon entitled, “The Use of Money”. The three basic points were, “Earn all you can; Save all you can; and Give all you can.” That is consistent with what God teaches throughout Scripture (although I believe Wesley had the order wrong, giving (tithing) should come before saving).
God isn’t against money, He invented it. And God isn’t against us having it, using it, saving it, and enjoying the possessions we can purchase with it. He’s the One who gives us the ability to earn it in the first place. John Wesley’s point in his sermon was that the people of his day were doing a fine job of earning money, saving money, spending money, and enjoying money; but they weren’t doing a very good job of giving their money. That continues to be the problem for many Christians in our day as well.
The Old Testament standard for giving was called “the tithe”. “Tithe” simply means “tenth” and the standard was to bring the first tenth of all you receive and give it back to God as an offering to help pay for the work of His Church on earth. God chooses to fund His work here on earth through the faithful giving of His people. In Malachi 3:10 He even promised a special blessing upon those who faithfully did this, “Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way, says the Lord of Armies. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.”
In the New Testament the standard is a little different. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Paul wrote, “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.” We have been freed from the actual requirement of tithing. We now give according to how our heart leads us.
However, many of us still practice tithing as a good starting place. It gives us a goal to shoot for. But that should just be the starting place. In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul also taught that each one should give as God has prospered him or her. This is what we were thinking about the other day when I noted that the more you have the more you can give, and therefore the more God expects you to give.
A good approach to giving is that the first 10% goes to God; the second 10% goes to savings; and the other 80% is yours to use as you like. Be assured, you will live better on 90% with God’s blessing than you ever could on 100% without His blessing. And also, can you imagine how well you would be doing financially right now if you still had 10% of every paycheck you have ever earned?
It’s God who gives us the ability to earn, give, and save, and we have a personal responsibility, revealed to us by God in the Bible, to do all three.
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