Giving – the Heart of God by Greg Albrecht
World famous comedian Jack Benny, known for being a tightwad, once related that he had been confronted by a thief on a dark, metropolitan street. The thief gave Benny a choice, “Your money or your life!” Jack Benny didn’t respond immediately, so the thief yelled, “Didn’t you hear what I said?” Benny responded, “Sure I did. I’m thinking. I’m thinking!”
Jesus told the rich man (Matthew 19:16-29) that becoming a follower of Jesus Christ involves surrendering both our money and our life. God wants all of us—not just a part of us.
When Jesus told the rich man to give away all that he had, he was simply telling the man to confront an issue all humans must face, sooner or later. Eventually, we have no choice but to leave our possessions behind!
North Americans have been seduced by money and possessions while losing sight of the things in life that really matter. Many beliefs and values that were once priorities have been subverted in favor of pursuits and interests that promise to make us rich.
The prevailing mood in North America seems to be summed up on the bumper sticker that suggests, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” But, none of our toys go with us when we die!
How we handle our money and finances was important to Jesus—and it still is. But in the midst of a culture that is so focused on “the almighty dollar,” we flinch and brace ourselves when we consider appeals to give to God. Giving and generosity is so much a part of the gospel that giving can be seen as the very heart of God.
Time, Talents and Treasures
What we do with our time, talents and treasures is called “stewardship.” Stewardship concerns the priorities we place on life itself, as we manage and use what has been given to us.
Stewardship goes far beyond financial issues. In the New Testament the concept of stewardship is used in a symbolic way, depicting Christ-followers as stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1, KJV) and stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10, KJV).
This perspective has important and far-reaching implications for each of us. According to the Bible, our stewardship is not simply that of money but of the gospel and involves the use of one’s whole life in God’s service!
Stewardship is our response to the lavish generosity of God’s grace he has given us. Stewardship involves accepting the fact that all our gifts come from God and are to be used for his glory. Stewardship can best be defined as the proper management of one’s entire life and resources.
God made the world and everything in it. All things are his. Giving to God reminds us that we are accountable for the material possessions he has entrusted to us. We are stewards of what we possess, not owners. God is the source of all our wealth, all our talents and all the moments of our lives. Nothing we have can be thought of as earned or merited. All that we have and all that we are belong to God.
Our stewardship potential can be subdivided into three Ts: our time, our talents and our treasures