Jesus had so much to say about money and what we do with it. How we handle the resources God puts in our hands is a deep heart issue. It speaks of how much we trust him, how much we are on board with his plans. We at NCF live and work in a world of generous people. Indeed, if we are doing our jobs well, we are facilitating a movement of generosity, a movement of which you are – or hopefully will become – a part.
In light of this, we’d like to share some concepts with you that we find in the Bible about God and money and our role in stewarding it for his glory.
The Bible says the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, even the people who live there. As Founder and Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, God holds the rights to all of it. That includes even us – our bodies, our minds, and our lives (Job 12:10; 1 Corinthians 4:7, 6:19). C. S. Lewis said, “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God.”
If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to his service, you could not give him anything that was not in a sense his own already. Any wealth, power, or strength we have originated with God. Any gift or talent we have – the same is true (James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11). Even our ability to give generously comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:18; 2 Corinthians 9:10–11). Everything we have and everything else that exists is all his … read the full story
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth … but not just for himself. God entrusted his glorious creation to the care of the human beings he had created in his image and for his glory.
We know that the whole of Creation declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). But it also demonstrates his generosity. Our generous Creator perfectly crafted a world which sustains our human lives, lives which themselves came into being by his breath (Genesis 2:7).
But God did not stop at life and breath and sustainability. Beyond our survival, the Bible says he considers our delight (1 Timothy 6:17). Every good thing a person (Christian or non-Christian) enjoys in life is a gift from God (James 1:17). He created our universe with perfect elegance and complexity. He designed with superfluous creativity. Then he gave us senses of sight and sound and touch and taste, so we could experience the richness of these gifts. The provider of our needs is also our source of never-ending pleasure (Psalm 16:11) … read the full story
A pattern persists from Creation until now. We turn our backs on God and desire to rule ourselves. But, instead of abandoning us or retaliating, God gives us a gift, the greatest gift ever: the Son he loves. Though we do not honor God as we should, in his unbounded generosity, he gives the very best and most valuable thing he has:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16
We have heard this verse enough times to be almost inoculated against the power of it. John 3:16 is so familiar that we forget the double, unimaginable sacrifice behind it. God gave his only Son to suffer and be killed. Jesus let go of the perfection of heavenly community. He emptied himself and traded his perfect life for our mess, when we didn’t even know him … while we were still sinning (Romans 5:8)! (We forget that the “should not perish” is there because perishing is exactly the consequence our sin deserves.)
The fact that Jesus left his kingdom in heaven and the glory and communion with the Father he had there to take on human flesh would have been enough to make him the most generous person to ever walk on earth. But we know that is not the end of the story … read the full story
God’s children learn to trust him, and the more they do, the more they begin reflecting his generous nature and the lavishness of his lovingkindness.
We’re called to imitate the Father (Ephesians 5:2) and to be conformed to the image of his Son. Sometimes this takes intentional effort. Other times, God’s children are so overwhelmed by love for him that this response happens almost without our notice. Zacchaeus was a perfect example of this. Once he’d followed Jesus, he didn’t have to be told to be generous. He just started giving.
All of us who follow Christ are heirs to promises much bigger than any wealth we could possibly acquire in this life. Understanding and believing this makes it easier to follow Jesus’ example of generosity (John 15:13) … read the full story
Jesus made this one thing very clear: We are stewards in this world. None of what we have is our own, not even ourselves, and we are not here on our own business. We are managers and ambassadors of the possessions and affairs of another Person, a King who owns everything. We are here on his business, with a mission to share his character and blessings with the world.
Nearly half of Jesus’ parables addressed this topic of stewardship. And at the end of all of Jesus’ parables about stewardship is this: Will we be found faithful when the master returns?
The same question waits at the end of every financial decision, at the end of each day, and at the end of every life. Have we been faithful with everything he has given us? Our faithfulness in stewarding what he’s given us is evidence of our trust that when he said he would return, he really meant it … read the full story
Giving has always been a form of worship in the Bible, and we are commanded to honor and glorify God in this way. The God who sees our hearts (1 Samuel 6:7) recognizes those who long to worship him. He even seeks them out (John 4:24). When we give him our treasure, we are putting our hearts with him. This act, itself, is worship. It’s pleasing to God, and it brings glory to him, inspiring others to worship.
King David offered an extravagant gift, and thousands of his people followed suit, willingly, with “perfect heart,” inspiring a nation to rejoice. Some men from the east traveled miles to get to an infant Jesus, bringing gifts to represent that they knew he was worthy of worship. And 2,000 years later, Christians still remember their story when they worship in remembrance of Messiah’s birth. Some churches in Macedonia gave themselves to the Lord, and, though they lived in extreme poverty, they were able to give beyond their means, exceeding expectations and resulting in overflowing joy that spread through first-century churches. We honor God when we stretch ourselves and give as much as we can …
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When we give something to God, we don’t lose. We gain something – the privilege of participating in his work, the sheer joy of giving, and, ultimately, the blessing of fellowship in eternity with those who benefitted from our gifts.
We need to remember that all the resources in the world belong to him, that he is generous, and that he desires not only to provide for our needs (Matthew 6:31-33), but even to reward our generosity with the ability to be more generous. What God calls us to do (even when it’s giving), he also empowers us to do (2 Corinthians 9).
Want to be more generous than you already are? Ask God to make you able, but remember that his purpose in giving you more is to fulfill your desire to be generous, to increase the amount of people who see Jesus because of your giving, to produce thanksgiving, and to bring praise to his name – while filling hearts with joy … … read the full story