Recap Unit(4) on sharing our faith.


The Biblical concept of a Manager?

Older translations of the Bible use the term 'Steward' in place of our common day use of the title 'Manager'. The term 'steward' may leave us a little uncertain as to its original meaning. Today we are likely to think of a steward on a ship or train, or perhaps a flight attendant. Yet the original meaning was much broader and more significant than 'manager' means to us today. The biblical idea of a steward combined servanthood and management responsibility together. How is this different to today's common perception of ambitions, like climbing up the corporate ladder?

We would be closer to the Biblical meaning if we think of a situation where an owner of a country property goes overseas for an extended period and appoints a manager to take full responsibility for all the affairs of the property. Or similarly, the owner of a business installs a manager to be fully responsible to operate the company in the owner's absence.

Another parallel could be the choosing of guardians for your children.

Maybe in your experience, it could be the giving of a close friend the power of attorney, to be totally responsible for all your money and property while you are away.


If you were such an owner, what are the qualities you would like to see in the manager you would appoint over your affairs?

    Desirable stewardship qualities:

The Biblical concept of a steward is an important subject, addressed by Jesus in much of His teaching. Please read through the following parables and note down what they teach about stewardship. (With parables, don't get bogged down with detail or analysis - simply draw out the main point of the story):

The faithful servantMatthew_24:45-51Luke_12:35-48
The shrewd managerLuke_16:1-15
The talentsMatthew_25:14-30Luke_19:12-27
Servants and their dutyLuke_17:7-10
Stewardship involves the following important considerations:
  • Faithfulness and effectiveness in managing someone else's resources;
  • An attitude of servanthood and humility in a responsible position;
  • Trust, dedication, honesty, integrity and respect;
  • Reliable, responsible and thorough;
  • Understanding of the owner's values and objectives;
  • Caring and concern for those in their charge;
  • Accountability for their own actions; and
  • Putting the owner's interests before their own.

Our accountability

We are all accountable before God for our stewardship of the resources He places at our disposal. It is not a question of how much we have, but how wisely and properly we are using what we already have! How are we going against the above check list?

Consider the following teaching of Jesus:

    "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money." (Luke_16:10-13).


  • Is money our ticket to independence from God, or an integral part of our worship of Him?

  • What belongs to God, and what can belong to us?

  • What non-material resources are part of our stewardship? eg:
    • stewardship of our values,
    • stewardship of our family,
    • stewardship of our job of profession,
    • stewardship of our time and skills.

  • What resources has God already given us to manage?

Values and priorities

WORLD "The Earth is the Lord's
and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters."


Read the following three scriptures:

  • "If any man builds on this foundation (Christ) using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1_Corinthians_3:12-16)

  • "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? " (1_Corinthians_4:7); and

  • "Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you - and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." (Mark_4:24-25, see also 2_Corinthians_9:6)

    Christian discipleship challenges us to come to terms with questions such as: Where did we come from (Genesis_2:7)? Where are we going? What will we leave with? Whose resources are they anyway? How are we using them?

    The first scripture from Paul (above) teaches us that in the final judgment the results of our lives will be put to the test. The things in our lives that have been achieved by godly means and built on Jesus values will last, those which haven't will be destroyed.

    From 1_Corinthians_3:12-16, list some typical pursuits and values which correspond to "wood, hay straw" - - and compare these with godly pursuits and things of eternal value which correspond to "gold, silver and costly stones":

  • Temporary Values ("wood, hay, straw") Eternal Values ("gold, silver", etc)

    The Christian and money

    The Bible has a lot to say about money. Money is important. It has a far greater influence on us than we imagine. A central teaching of Jesus on money is found in Matthew_6:19-34. Please allow time to meditate on this passage later. For now, lets focus on the following verses:

    • "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". (Matthew_6:19-21)

    • "No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money." (Luke_16:10-13).

    • "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, Oh you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well". (Matthew_6:30-33)

    In these scriptures is a principle and a promise!
    Discipleship challenges us to come to grips with these,
    to prove them and use them in our daily lives:

      The principle -

      The Promise -

    Tithing principles

    Tithing is an Old Testament principle of offering the first 10% of our income or gain to the Lord. This principle can be found in the following passages:

    • "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)

    • "When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied". (Deuteronomy_26:12)

    • "Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work". (Nehemiah_10:37)

    • "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "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". (Malachi_3:8-10)

    The Christian is not under law but under grace. This Old Testament direction is not a legally binding rule for Christians, but is a very helpful base guideline and principle for Christian giving. It contains within it the crucial idea that the first and best of the results of our labour go to God, because in the end we are totally dependent on Him for our existence.

    How can we apply the principles of tithing in our gifts and offerings as Christians? The above scriptures suggest the following:

    • That the tithe covers all forms of our income and gain;
    • That the tithe belongs to the Lord. It's not that God needs our money - but most importantly that this form of giving establishes the priority of God in our lives. Our giving should demonstrate our desire to honour God in our affairs;
    • That the first portion of our income is set aside for His purposes (holy to the Lord);
    • That one purpose of the tithe is a part of God's provision for those in Christian service. Another is to provide for the social justice of those in need;
    • That giving is an act of faith, trusting that God will provide for the rest of our lives;
    • That the offering is brought to the `body of Christ' (the storehouse) for distribution; and
    • That as we honour God in our giving, He will pour out His blessing on us. These blessings are primarily spiritual, but may also be material. However, Christians should avoid making mental links between trying to do something for God in order to achieve something material. We must be very careful of our motives here, as many Christians have come 'unstuck' in this area.

    Our giving should be of the " first fruits" of our gain,
    the first consideration,
    not the left-overs or loose change.

    Some practical aspects of Christian giving

    The above principles from the O.T. are confirmed in the gospels and in other N.T. passages such as:

    "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". (2_Corinthians_9:6)

    Without wishing to 'lay down the law' about giving, you may like to consider the appropriateness of the following suggestions:

    • Consider the above scriptural principles as you determine your offerings.
    • Put God first, don't determine your giving according to your leftovers.
    • Our giving to God is to be a faith offering of the "first fruits".
    • What "measure" do we use in our giving? (Luke_6:38 and 2_Corinthians_9:6).
    • Plan your giving. Determine in advance how much and how often. Consider any systems of giving offered by your church. Plan to be orderly and responsible in all your finances, e.g. in your budgeting.
    • Keep up your commitments in your giving.
    • We need to trust that as we take Him at His word, He will pour out His practical blessings in response to our needs (whilst keeping a check on our motives).
    • Are we at peace with God in the way we are handling our finances? -
      Our giving decision should result in joy, bringing freedom from bondage of worry about finances because we are moving with God. God loves a joyful giver.

    It is especially our responsibility
    to meet the needs of our ministers and Christian workers
    who are supported by our Church (1_Timothy_5:17-18)

    With regard to gross or net income for determining our giving, it is observed that the O.T. principles of tithing was established in a society free of Government taxation. Today, much of our taxation serves to support social welfare, and so our application of the tithing principle seems to more reasonably apply to after-tax remuneration. Today the average working person budgets out of their net pay - because the 'Government take' is out of their control. If it was felt that 10% of net was inadequate for our giving, we can simply increase the percentage. Many Christians give much more than a tenth. In the end, this remains an area of individual decision before God, according to our means. (See 2_Corinthians_8:12).

    Sacrificial giving - the fundamental New Testament principle of giving is sacrificial generosity. The most important thing is a generous heart which gives by faith, and trusts for our provision. Read 2_Corinthians_8:1-9 as an example from the early church.

    On the other hand, if after meeting our basic needs our disposable income keeps increasing - do we 'hoard' or use it all to obtain more possessions - or do we take the opportunity to invest further in 'things of eternal value'?

    We need to be careful not to become legalistic about our giving,
    but seek to honour God in our finances -
    out of a motivation of love and gratitude for all He has done for us.

    Whether it is the "widow's mite" (Mark_12:41-44), or whatever...
    what counts is how much our giving reflects
    our love of God and His ways.

    Personal reflection -

    • What are the things of eternal value in our lives?

    • What are we investing ourselves in daily?

    • How are we investing our time and money?

    • Are there priorities we need to address before God?

    • Are we giving God the first fruits?

    • Are we being a good steward of God's resources?

    • Are we asking God to impart to us His desires for the way we handle money?

    The following is a list of references on giving for further consideration:



    One of the dangers of our western culture is that with an increase in our disposable income we are enticed to increase our spending uncritically.

    Our fundamental needs may not have changed but instead of using any increased disposable income to meet other's needs or expand Christian ministry, our society places tremendous pressure on us to buy more things.

    Read 2_Corinthians_8:12-15 in the light of the following questions:

    • How can we change our lifestyle to live more simply -
      so that we may have more to give?

    • Can we be more generous and open with God about the use of possessions?

    • In our Western society, is there a real danger of our affluence diverting us from our love of Jesus?

    The question of our faith and lifestyle priorities is far more wide reaching than our giving. It impacts all aspects of our society and environment. This will be the subject of further study in a later unit.

    Unit 5: Learning About The Bible [Next Section]

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    Created on: 28 August 1997 Last updated: 28 August 1997